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Les bêtes de la mer rondes comme des outres
(The beasts of the sea, round like leather bottles)

Plate 22 of 24

Redon said that as a result of his artistic training, he 'could more easily bring together the probable with the improbable,' and 'give a visual logic to imaginary elements.' For this image Redon was almost totally free to create the imaginary sea creatures. He responded to Flaubert's description that the beasts were 'flat as blades' with leathery texture and set them in a flowing composition with unwinding arabesques of light and dark. According to Redon, the arabesque line was more than merely decorative or descriptive because it could arouse in the mind of the beholder 'any number of fantasies' limited only by the sensitivity of their imagination.


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