Odilon Redon’s Les Yeux Clos (Closed Eyes) is a lithograph on China paper, with dimensions of 22 x 16 inches. The piece was created in 1890 and belongs to the Symbolism style, which emphasizes the use of symbols and metaphors to represent abstract ideas. In this work, Redon depicts closed eyes that can represent sleep or death, exploring themes about the inner world, dreams, absence, and apparitions.
The highly diluted paint used in Les Yeux Clos makes it almost immaterial and more symbolic than realistic. The black background contrasts with the white eyes that give a haunting effect to the image. The closed eyes convey a sense of metaphysical introspection and self-reflection.
Redon’s diary A soi-même explains that Les Yeux Clos represents his thoughts about his own existence and perception of reality beyond physical senses. He believed that art should express emotions rather than imitate nature. Therefore he often used surreal or abstract imagery because it allowed him to depict more profound representations of concepts rather than mundane reality.