Black Man Attacked by a Jaguar (1910) by Henri Rousseau

Black Man Attacked by a Jaguar - Henri Rousseau - 1910

Artwork Information

TitleBlack Man Attacked by a Jaguar
ArtistHenri Rousseau
Dimensions162.5 x 116 cm
Art MovementNaïve Art (Primitivism)
Current LocationKunstmuseum Basel, Basel, Switzerland

About Black Man Attacked by a Jaguar

The artwork titled “Black Man Attacked by a Jaguar” is a creation of artist Henri Rousseau, completed in the year 1910. This piece is rendered in oil on canvas and is categorized under the Naïve Art movement, particularly Primitivism. The painting measures 162.5 by 116 centimeters and falls within the wildlife painting genre. It is currently housed at the Kunstmuseum Basel, located in Basel, Switzerland.

The artwork illustrates a tense and dramatic scene set in a lush, verdant jungle at dusk, where the richly hued foliage creates a nearly impenetrable backdrop. A large, fiery sun hangs low in the sky, contributing to the overall atmosphere of the untamed wilderness. The central action of the scene is a struggle for survival between a jaguar and a man. The man, shown in a state of defense, confronts the formidable jaguar in what appears to be a moment of life-threatening conflict.

Around them, the jungle teems with life—flora of various forms and sizes, from towering palms to broad-leaved plants, occupy the composition. The intense color palette and the flatness of shapes give the scene a stylized and almost dreamlike quality. Rousseau’s use of bold contours and a somewhat surreal arrangement of plants and wildlife are characteristic elements of his self-taught approach, which diverges from the traditional techniques of the academic art world of his time.

Through the dense depiction of the jungle and the dramatic encounter it contains, Rousseau transports viewers into a narrative that is both exotic and primeval, reflecting the fascination with and the mystique of the natural world that is a hallmark of Primitivism.

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