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Le sphinx: Mon regard que rien ne peut dévier, demeure tendu à travers les choses sur un horizon inaccessible. La chimère: Moi, je suis légère et joyeuse
(The sphinx: My gaze, which nothing can deflect, remains fixed across all things on an unreachable horizon. The chimera: I am full of lightness and joy)

Plate 5 of 6

The Sphinx and the Chimera appear totally separate, unlike Redon's later version J'ai quelquefois aperçu, from the 1895 Tentation album. A Chimera is a fantastic monster made from the parts of various animals. In Greek mythology it has the head of a lion, the body of a goat and a serpent's tail. Redon has not followed this exactly, and his image is more accordance with the scientific identification of a Chimera simply as an amalgamation of multiple creatures. This absurd, confused monster is barely distinguishable through the dense black and its face emerges only partially, as with the other threatening beings in this album (see Les Sciapodes and particularly La Mort ). This half-scientific, half-mythological creature intrigued Redon and Flaubert. Baudelaire, too, had written a poem called Chacun sa chimère (To every Man his Chimera).


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