Mystery (c. 1910) by Odilon Redon

Mystery - Odilon Redon - c. 1910

Artwork Information

ArtistOdilon Redon
Datec. 1910
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions73 x 53.9 cm (28 3/4 x 21 1/4 in.)
Art MovementSymbolism

About Mystery

“Mystery” is an evocative work by the Symbolist artist Odilon Redon, crafted circa 1910. This oil on canvas measures 73 x 53.9 cm and is characterized as a symbolic painting belonging to the broader Symbolism movement in art. Redon’s use of vibrant colors and enigmatic subjects lends this artwork its dreamlike quality and allows it to transcend the boundaries of literal representation.

The artwork features a central figure that appears contemplative, with a finger gently resting on the chin as if deep in thought or caught in a moment of introspection. This figure occupies the upper half of the canvas, enveloped by a gauzy veil of colors that seem to blend into the background. The facial expression is enigmatic, adding to the mystical aura of the painting.

Below the figure, an array of floral elements bursts with life. The flowers showcase a palette of yellows, oranges, greens, and purples, which provide a stark contrast to the more subdued tones used in the portrayal of the figure’s visage and robes. It seems as though the flowers are emanating from the figure or are being offered, further enhancing the artwork’s mystique. Their detailed and somewhat whimsical representation creates a dichotomy with the blurry and abstracted quality of the background and the figure.

The background of the artwork is a melange of warm tones splashed with blues and greens, appearing almost as a textured sky or an abstract landscape, which frames the central subject and the floral arrangement with a dreamlike ambiance. The dabs of color and texture contribute to the otherworldly quality characteristic of Redon’s Symbolist intent, inviting viewers to interpret the scene through the prism of emotion and imagination rather than through a literal lens.

Overall, “Mystery” exemplifies Redon’s symbolic and dreamlike vision, offering an art piece that is rich in both visual and emotive content, encouraging personal reflection and the exploration of the subconscious.

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