The Quarry (1896 – 1897) by Henri Rousseau

The Quarry - Henri Rousseau - 1896 - 1897

Artwork Information

TitleThe Quarry
ArtistHenri Rousseau
Date1896 - 1897
Art MovementNaïve Art (Primitivism)
Current LocationPrivate Collection

About The Quarry

The artwork titled “The Quarry” was created by Henri Rousseau between 1896 and 1897. This piece is executed in oil on canvas and belongs to the Naïve Art movement, specifically Primitivism. As a landscape genre painting, it was originally part of a private collection. Rousseau, known for his self-taught painting style, depicts scenes that often possess a dreamlike quality.

In “The Quarry,” viewers are presented with a serene and somewhat enigmatic landscape. The composition is characterized by its juxtaposition of industrial elements with the natural world. In the foreground, there is a seemingly tranquil path that leads the eye toward the central motif of the composition: a partially demolished stone structure, which could perhaps be an old quarry or ruins. Accompanying these remnants are what appear to be large stone cylinders, possibly symbolic of ancient architectural forms or machinery.

On the path itself, a solitary figure stands out, adding a narrative element to the scene: a man, dressed in attire indicative of the late 19th century, walks with a cane toward the viewer, his back to the ravaged edifice. His connection to the quarry or the landscape is left to interpretation. The sky above, with its swathes of soft, voluminous clouds, contrasts with the stony figures, adding to the work’s enigmatic atmosphere. The surrounding flora, interspersed with hues of yellow and hints of red flowers, gently envelops the path and emphasizes the dichotomy between the natural world and human impact. Overall, Rousseau’s work invites contemplation, both of nature’s persistence and the traces of human endeavors.

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