Part 1, Project 2 (Basic shapes and fundamental form) – Research point

Odilon Redon, Two Trees, c.1875 (charcoal on paper) / WikiArt
  • dark atmosphere
  • strong contrast: light and shadow, form
  • monochromatic
  • texture
  • movement, direction of line
  • structure
  • nature

The two things that stand out for me the most in this drawing are its sharp contrast and description of nature. Redon has used lines and marks to describe texture in a very believable manner. The lines follow the direction of the trees, giving the drawing a certain movement or fluidity. When I squint I can clearly see the simplified blocks of light and shadow, as well as the direction of the light. Over this are smaller marks that continue to describe things in more detail. Also something that I’ve noticed is the contrast between the graceful tree that seems to be dancing and the thicker tree next to it that looks more serious and “masculine”.

I’ve browsed more of Odilon Redon’s work and I see that most of them have, in general, a strong contrast and a dark atmosphere. I’ve found two other works by him that have really caught my eye. The first one is very mysterious and I can hardly tell what’s going on except for a smoky darkness and four half-illuminated feminine figures (statues perhaps?); the atmosphere and mood seem to be the protagonists in this drawing. In the second one, Redon has described a landscape, in detail, almost exclusively through the use of lines; he has created depth and value by making the lines closer or further apart, lighter or thicker, and has described the mountainous forms by giving the lines different directions (e.g. diagonal, vertical).

black torches, odilon redon
Odilon Redon, The Black Torches, 1889 (charcoal on paper) / WikiArt
Fear, odilon redon
Odilon Redon, Fear, 1866 (etching on paper) / WikiArt

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