The Sleeping Gypsy (1897) by Henri Rousseau

The Sleeping Gypsy - Henri Rousseau - 1897

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Artwork Information

TitleThe Sleeping Gypsy
ArtistHenri Rousseau
Date1897
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions200.7 x 129.5 cm
Art MovementNaïve Art (Primitivism)
Current LocationPrivate Collection, Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York City, NY, US

About The Sleeping Gypsy

“The Sleeping Gypsy” is an oil on canvas artwork by Henri Rousseau created in 1897. It measures 200.7 by 129.5 cm and belongs to the Naïve Art movement, specifically Primitivism. This genre painting is known for its dreamlike and poetic quality. Currently, the artwork is part of the private collection at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City, NY, US.

The artwork portrays a tranquil yet enigmatic scene set under a moonlit sky. At center stage lies a gypsy, asleep on the sandy desert ground, draped in a vibrant striped robe that contrasts starkly against the earthy tones of the surroundings. Beside the gypsy, a water jar and a lute rest on the ground, hinting at a nomadic lifestyle intertwined with musical endeavors. A majestic lion stands over the slumbering figure, sniffing curiously, its mane aglow with the ethereal light, adding a touch of tension and mystery to the composition. The backdrop features rolling mountains melting into the horizon beneath a serene night sky, with the full moon casting a soft glow over the entire scene. Rousseau’s lack of formal training is evident in the flatness of forms and the disregard for realistic spatial relationships, lending the artwork its distinctive and charm characteristic of his self-taught style.

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