An image of The reader

Odilon Redon

(France 1840 – 1916)

The reader

Not on display
Further information

Odilon Redon was a private, visionary artist influenced by Francisco Goya Y Lucientes as well as the writers Edgar Allan Poe and Gustave Flaubert, giving form to dreams and fantasies in the age of Symbolism. In this print, however, he is clearly the pupil of Rodolphe Bresdin, and it is thought the figure may be a portrait of Bresdin. According to Redon scholar Edward Gott, "'The reader', the isolated figure dressed in vague hermit-like garb, the gloomy interior lit by a single window, the book and candlestick, are all taken from the prototype of Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn's 'St Jerome in a dark chamber'. Redon achieves an effect of ascetic illumination redolent of abandoned time and worldly neglect, through the slow massing of myriad cobweb-like scratchings across the lithographic stone. This is surely intended to call to mind the action of the etching needle moving across the surface of a copper plate. The mastery of Redon's 'Reader' lies in its ability to transfer the impression of Rembrandt's etching medium into lithography."

AGNSW Handbook, 1994

31.0 x 23.5 cm image; 62.0 x 44.1 cm sheet
Signature & date
Signed u.l., pencil "ODILON REDON". Not dated.
Purchased with funds provided by the Art Gallery Society of New South Wales 1978
Accession number
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