Henri Rousseau is best known for his almost primitive style and the charm he brought to his subjects. He spent his youth working as a toll collector in Paris. He didn’t begin painting seriously until his early forties; he retired at age forty-nine to become a full-time painter.
His most well-known paintings are jungle scenes, but they depict a jungle that’s more of a paradisical dream than a realistic depiction. Probably his most famous painting, in fact, is called The Dream:
Don’t you love the eyes on that lion? He looks more like a pet than a danger to the woman. In fact, she looks quite in command of the whole scene!
In The Sleeping Gypsy, Rousseau manages to convey both danger and a delightful sense of whimsy:
Here are some more examples of his simple and delightful style:
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