The Sleeping Gypsy - Henri Rousseau


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  • Date of Creation: 1897
  • Art Movement: Naive Art, Primitivism

The Sleeping Gypsy by Henri Rousseau is a fantasy depiction of a lion musing over a sleeping woman on a moonlit night. Rousseau portrayed an African Gypsy in a desert wearing a colorful costume, sleeping in the desert with an Italian stringed instrument and a jar of water. This painting has several elements from different cultures, and Rousseau has mixed them all into a unique image.

Rousseau and his Parisian contemporaries were fascinated by wandering gypsies, the Romany people known in France as bohémiens: men and women exiled to the fringes of society during the dramatic changes of the mid-nineteenth century. French writers and artists had historically linked the Romany to Egypt as well as Bohemia, which may explain Rousseau’s depiction of a dark-skinned woman sleeping calmly—despite the large lion sniffing at her shoulder—in an arid landscape.

About the Artist:

Henri Julien Felix Rousseau (1844 - 1910) was a French Post-Impressionist painter in the Naive or Primitive manner. He is also known as Le Douanier (the customs officer) after his place of employment. Ridiculed during his life, he came to be recognized as a self-taught genius whose works are of high artistic quality. 

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  • 35mm x 22mm stainless steel sheet with 14k gold/silver plated frame
The Sleeping Gypsy - Henri Rousseau
The Sleeping Gypsy - Henri Rousseau

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