La fleur du marécage, une tête humaine et triste
(The marsh flower, a head human and sad)
Plate 2 of 6
Redon would have been aware of Charles Baudelaire's words:
[Goya's] monsters are born viable, harmonious. No one has ventured further than he in the direction of the possible absurd. All those distortions, those bestial faces ... are impregnated with humanity ... The point of junction between the real and the fantastic is impossible to grasp; it is a vague frontier.
This strangely harmonious and emotive image is created from seemingly disparate elements. The influence of Redon's friend, the botanist Armand Clavaud, whom he met in Paris in 1857, is clear. He wrote that Clavaud 'searched ... for that life which lies between animal and plant, this flower or this being, this mysterious element which is animal during ... the day and only under the effects of light.' Fine rays of light emitted by the head are created by casting incisions through the black lithographic ink, as is Redon's signature.
The black mark on the edge of the cap covering the head identifies this album as part of the second edition. The mark is not present in the first printing.