The Crying Spider (1881) by Odilon Redon

The Crying Spider - Odilon Redon - 1881

Artwork Information

TitleThe Crying Spider
ArtistOdilon Redon
Dimensions49.5 x 37.5 cm
Art MovementSymbolism
Current LocationPrivate collection, The Netherlands

About The Crying Spider

The artwork entitled “The Crying Spider,” crafted by the artist Odilon Redon in 1881, stands as a notable work within the Symbolism art movement. Rendered in the medium of charcoal, the piece embodies the symbolic painting genre and measures 49.5 by 37.5 centimeters. The original work is currently held in a private collection in The Netherlands.

“The Crying Spider” exhibits the characteristic fusion of the fantastic and the dream-like that is quintessential to Redon’s oeuvre. The central figure of the artwork is a surreal amalgamation, featuring a human face with an expression of somberness or distress on the body of a spider. This creature’s face, endowed with discernible human traits such as eyes brimming with emotion and a suggestion of tears, imparts a poignant sentiment that is heightened by the dark, intense lines of the charcoal medium. The spider’s elongated legs extend outward, with delicate, hair-like lines emphasizing their spindly nature.

The starkness of the charcoal on the textured background further emphasizes the psychological depth of the piece, inviting the viewer to contemplate the emotional state conveyed. The form and content of the artwork align with the Symbolist movement’s proclivity for personal and mythical symbols as a means to represent universal themes and evoke emotion. The fusion of human and arachnid elements elicits a sense of discomfort, potentially allowing an interpretation of the artwork as a reflection on the human psyche and the nature of internal conflicts or sorrows. The work ultimately leaves a lasting impression through its haunting portrayal and profound symbolism, urging an introspective engagement from its audience.

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