Odilon Redon (1840-1916)
Researching Odilon Redon’s artwork he was a painter, printmaker and draughtsman drawing from his early childhood winning a drawing award at school . For this Research I was looking at Odilon Redon’s Charcoal and Noir drawings. I chose two pictures to highlight my research the first was the Two Trees c 1875 (Charcoal on paper), shown within my course notes, Odilon Redon’s use of dark tones and highlights give his pictures the ability and potential, for the viewer to feel the drama and passion within his drawing. His subtlety of tone giving the viewer the mere glimpse of realistic form creating life and depth. To me there is a passion in this picture with the dark background and the highlighted twigs, looking like the flames of passion, as the tree on the left, leans into the other, as if about to start a passionate embrace, with the radiant beauty by his side. This may be my artistic imagination, but both trees look to have the male and female symbol showing within the tonal areas of the trunks. The highlights show faint forms of the male and female body.
The second drawing, Head of the Martyr, depicts a severed head bathed in a glowing light, with subtle tones to give form and shape. There is a faintly depicted halo in a black seemingly endless night sky. The use of tone gives the viewer the feeling of a good soul giving their life to a cause, the darkness representing it was a stance against evil, or wrong doing. The head is held within a bowl, resting on a base with a subtly depicted plaque. The dark bowl who’s shape is cleverly shown by a bright circle on its rim and slightly depicted lines and tone on it’s the outer side, seems to cradle the Martyrs head in a symbol of defiance.
I think both these drawings show the atmospheric potential of tone, and how tone within a drawing can conjure up atmosphere within the viewer’s mind.