Ophelia (c. 1900-1905) by Odilon Redon

Ophelia - Odilon Redon - c.1903

Artwork Information

ArtistOdilon Redon
MediumPastel on Paper
Dimensions19.5 x 26.19 cm
Art MovementSymbolism
Current LocationPrivate Collection

About Ophelia

The artwork titled “Ophelia” by artist Odilon Redon dates back to circa 1903. It is a pastel on paper that corresponds to the Symbolism art movement and can be classified in the genre of literary painting. The dimensions of this piece are 19.5 x 26.19 centimeters, and it currently resides within a private collection.

Upon examining the artwork, one is immediately struck by the floating figure of Ophelia, a character from Shakespeare’s play “Hamlet.” The figure, rendered softly yet distinctly, is set against a backdrop of deep, vibrant blue that suggests water, in which Ophelia is immersed. Surrounding her are various floral elements—an amalgamation of vividly colored flowers and leaves cluster around her visage, laying on the water’s surface. The use of color is rich and varied, exhibiting Redon’s mastery over pastels to evoke a dreamlike, almost otherworldly ambience.

The flowers, among which one might discern buttercups, poppies, and possibly pansies, augment the sense of tranquility and final resignation found in Ophelia’s expression. A tragic sense of beauty permeates the piece, embodying the Symbolist movement’s inclination towards the evocative and the spiritual, suggesting meanings beyond the visible realm. This artwork, though small in scale, contains an intense emotional depth and power, typical of Redon’s symbolic and poetic visual language.

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