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Christ, 1887

Redon submitted this work, along with Profil de Lumière to the official Salon of 1887 at the Musée des beaux-arts, but to his apparent disappointment they were both rejected. It was printed as a stand-alone work in an edition of 25 impressions, one of which Redon is known to have given to Huysmans. Redon first approached this subject in charcoal and later returned to it in oil. This is the most striking and dramatic depiction. The strong chiaroscuro and use of thick crayon to produce bold features gives the head a sculptural character. A strong sense of suffering and melancholy is created by the harsh light hitting the left of the face, which is surrounded in the lower right corner by the dense black of the wreath. This contrasts with the upwards-gazing eye, an important motif in Redon's noirs, appearing almost to float freely on the white paper. This seems to symbolise the ascension of Christ's soul, while the mortal body is held in darkness.


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