|Self Portrait, by Odilon Redon|
"My drawings inspire, and are not to be defined. They place us, as does music, in the ambiguous realm of the undetermined."
Greetings, pond-dwellers. This is hedgewitch. We toads are all pitching in to support National Poetry Month, and the efforts so many of us are making to write a poem a day in April. Today it's my turn to offer some inspiration. I have decided on a simple ekphrasis challenge (scroll to bottom for detailed explanation) based on the work of French symbolist painter and illustrator, Odilon Redon.
|The Flight Into Egypt, by Odilon Redon|
At the end of [his service in the Franco-Prussian War], he moved to Paris, and resumed working almost exclusively in charcoal and lithography. He called his visionary works, conceived in shades of black, his noirs. It was not until 1878 that his work gained any recognition [and].. he published his first album of lithographs...in 1879....In the 1890s pastel and oils became his favored media... " You can read the rest of his full biography here on wikipedia
|Caliban On A Branch, a 'noir' by Odilon Redon|
I have often chosen works by Redon to illustrate my own poems as there is an affinity I feel for his art which I don't find in many artists. Perhaps that's because Redon was a Symbolist, (though his later paintings also show a strong Post-Impressionist quality) and we all know by now how I am all about the symbols.
|Head On A Stem, 'noir' by Odilon Redon|
Symbolism was a European movement around the turn of the Twentieth Century in painting and poetry, which embodied many aspects of the Romantic school, but with a more fantastic and often a more morbid and inward turning eye, or as wikipedia puts it:
"Symbolism was largely a reaction against naturalism and realism, anti-idealistic styles which were attempts to represent reality in its gritty particularity, and to elevate the humble and the ordinary over the ideal. Symbolism was a reaction in favour of spirituality, the imagination, and dreams."
|Ophelia, by Odilon Redon|
The movement was heavily influenced by such poets as Poe and Baudelaire, and its traits appeared in the work of a wide variety of painters, including Gustav Klimt, Edward Munch, and Frida Kahlo among many others.
|Leda And The Swan, by Odilon Redon|
"..The symbolist painters used mythological and dream imagery. The symbols used by symbolism are not the familiar emblems of mainstream iconography but intensely personal, private, obscure and ambiguous references...more a philosophy than an actual style of art.."~Ibid
|Mystery, by Odilon Redon|
Redon painted a wide variety of subjects and used a varying approach, so I hope you will find in the pictures I've selected or at the link provided below, one that will bring a thought or a dream to your pen. All his works shown here are in the public domain, but if you use one on your blog, please give the title and artist's name so others can come to know him, too.
Here are a few final examples, and you can find many more at wikipaintings.org
"I have often, as an exercise and as a sustenance, painted.. an object down to the smallest accidents of its visual appearance; but the day left me sad and with an unsatiated thirst. The next day I let the other source run, that of imagination, through the recollection of the forms and I was then reassured and appeased."
|Cup of Cognition(The Children's Cup) by Odilon Redon|
|Boat In The Moonlight, by Odilon Redon|
|Flowers, by Odilon Redon|
|Mask of The Red Death, another 'noir' by Odilon Redon|
Ekphrasis:: a literary description of or commentary on a visual work of art (Merriam Webster)
So, toads, toadettes and friends of the site, let us jump directly into 'the mysterious world of the undetermined,' select a drawing or painting by Odilon Redon and write to the subject, mood, or theme which it suggests. You can write in any form, long or short, in free verse or prose poetry. You can write whether you are participating in the poem a day process, or just because one of the pictures speaks to you.
As usual, your response for this challenge should be new writing, or an older piece so extensively reworked and rewritten as to be new, which clearly conforms to the challenge subject matter. Please link below, and I will be around to see where the works of this favorite of mine take everyone.
All artwork by Odilon Redon, Public Domain, via wikipaintings.org. Quotes via wikipedia.