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Creator Name: Redon, Odilon
Creator Nationality: European; French
Creator Role: Artist
Creator Dates/Places: 1840 - 1916
Creator Name-CRT: Odilon Redon
Title: Symbolic Head
Title Type: Primary
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 1890
Creation End Date: 1890
Creation Date: 1890
Object Type: Paintings
Materials and Techniques: Oil on paper mounted on canvas
Dimensions: Unframed: 53.3cm x 38cm
AMICA Contributor: The Cleveland Museum of Art
Owner Location: Cleveland, Ohio, USA
ID Number: 1988.91
Credit Line: Gift of the Mildred Andrews Fund
Context: One of Redon's favorite themes of the 1880s and 1890s was a human head depicted in profile. This motif came from his representations of severed heads, often carried aloft on wings, published in the artist's first album of prints, Dans le rêve (1879). In these images, the separation of the head from the body symbolizes the spirit released from the material world. It also suggests a metaphor for abandoning physical reality for the inner realm of dreams, fantasy, and poetic reverie. This painting conveys the idea of inward-turning vision by framing the head in a series of collapsing rectangles. Redon isolated the head even further by painting a horizontal rectangle or "ledge" over the lower part of the figure's body, which originally extended to the bottom edge of the composition. Conservation analysis confirms that the figure is a woman wearing a helmet and holding a green staff in her right hand. However, her exact identity is not known, largely because after altering the crest and other aspects ofthe helmet, Redon abandoned the painting in an unresolved state.
AMICA ID: CMA_.1988.91
AMICA Library Year: 1998
Media Metadata Rights:
Copyright, The Cleveland Museum of Art
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