The Smiling Spider (1881) by Odilon Redon

The Smiling Spider - Odilon Redon - 1887

Artwork Information

TitleThe Smiling Spider
ArtistOdilon Redon
Dimensions49.5 x 39 cm
Art MovementSymbolism
Current LocationMusée du Louvre, Paris

About The Smiling Spider

“The Smiling Spider,” created by the artist Odilon Redon in 1887, is a charcoal artwork embodying the Symbolism movement. The piece, with dimensions of 49.5 by 39 cm, falls under the genre of symbolic painting and currently resides in the Musée du Louvre, Paris. This artwork is noted for its medium, historical context, and the location where it is housed.

The artwork presents a striking and somewhat unsettling composition centered around a large, anthropomorphized spider. The spider’s body and limbs occupy a substantial portion of the frame, with the creature appearing to smile. This unusual feature lends the spider human-like qualities that are both enigmatic and disconcerting. The use of charcoal allows for a rich interplay of light and dark, which accentuates the texture and form of the spider, creating an ambiance that is both tangible and otherworldly. The background of the artwork is subtly shaded, adding to the depth and prompting contemplation of the viewer, a hallmark of Symbolist works which often delve into themes of emotion, dreams, and the psyche. The symbolism of the spider can be open to interpretation, but often spiders in art are emblems of creativity, entrapment, or the weaving of one’s fate.

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