The Cyclops

Odilon Redon (1840-1916) was an outstanding French┬ásymbolism┬ápainter. From 1870 until he was 50 years old, he only used two colors (white and black) for painting. His charcoal drawings and flat paintings developed a very unique style: the paintings with strong fantastic colors; the body or a part of the human body was blended together with the plant, animal or something like that. The Cyclops was the work created during his second artistic creation period (new Redon period). The Cyclops in the Greek mythology was climbing out from the ground. He used an eye watching a naked woman that was buried deep in the ground. The naked woman was the symbol of the joyfulness, but she seemed to be sleeping. The giant’s savage fierce heart also still had the requirement of desire and joy. Redon used this giant image to symbolize the great power of primitive desire.

The Cyclops
The Cyclops

What the painting showed was the Cyclops grown from the earth. It gave people a gentle and amiable feeling with no fear although its image was bizarre. Some people said that once the monster of the painting appeared in the world, it seemed to coexist with people. This suggested that the monster that Redon created was the imagination in line with humans. Redon had the natural feeling for music and had studied biology because the influence of the poet. Many aspects of self-cultivation made his works have a poetic and elegant atmosphere. Redon’s art creation made a great influence on the modern art, so he was regarded as the founder of surrealism.