The Tiger Hunt (1895 – 1896) by Henri Rousseau

The Tiger Hunt - Henri Rousseau - 1895 - 1896

Artwork Information

TitleThe Tiger Hunt
ArtistHenri Rousseau
Date1895 - 1896
Art MovementOrientalism

About The Tiger Hunt

The artwork “The Tiger Hunt” by Henri Rousseau dates back to the period between 1895 and 1896. This genre painting, rendered in oil on canvas, reflects the Orientalist art movement of the time, a trend where Western artists depicted their often romanticized views of Eastern cultures.

In the artwork, the scene unfolds in a landscape that suggests an exotic locale, likely a nod to the artist’s fascination with the Orient. Two figures dominate the foreground, both attired in vibrant, flowing garb that reflects the Orientalist aesthetic. To the left, a figure in a striking red robe appears to be engaged in a grueling struggle with a tiger, the animal depicted in mid-roar, its body turned towards the viewer. A hint of motion is suggested by how the figure’s clothing seems to billow, contributing a sense of dynamic tension to the scene.

Beside them, another figure stands, garbed in a brown outfit and a white head covering, observing the struggle or perhaps preparing to assist. The viewer’s attention is drawn to the carefully articulated positioning of the figures, which suggests a narrative moment frozen in time.

On the right, a white horse adorned with a red saddle stands, its form partially turned away from the action, lending a peaceful contrast to the violent interaction between human and beast. The horse’s tranquility stands in stark juxtaposition to the ferocity of the tiger. Completing the composition, the background features muted, rolling hills that rise to meet a calm sky, with vegetation sparsely dotting the immediate surroundings.

Overall, the artwork by Rousseau offers a dramatic tableau that captures the imagination, evoking stories of danger and heroism associated with the then-mysterious lands of the East. Through his distinctive style and use of color, Rousseau invites viewers to contemplate the scene’s narrative and the allure of the exotic that so fascinated European audiences at the time.

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