When you use
your imagination, you form a picture in your mind of something not now
present or especially of something you have not known or experienced.
You have all
used your imagination - Do you play pretend games? Do you make up
stories or daydreams of adventures in time machines or space ships? Do
you listen to fairytales and form pictures of the stories in your mind?
Have you ever imagined what creatures from outer space might look like?
You have probably drawn pictures of monsters which you have imagined.
Sometimes artists combine their ideas with the imagination of
storytellers. Paul Klee did that in Sinbad the
paint from their own dreams and imaginations. Henri Rousseau was a
gentleman who also wrote poems and music. He taught himself to paint.
Can you notice his gentle feelings in The Sleeping
Gypsy? Joan Miro used pure imagination when he painted People
and Dog in the Sun.
- Sinbad the Sailor, ,
Paul Klee, Swiss (1879-1940), , reproduction print.
| This picture was inspired by a battle
scene from the comic opera called The Seafarer, is a
character in the folktales from the Near East called The
Arabian Nights. Sinbad of Baghdad goes off on many sea
voyages and has many adventures - sailing through caves and
meeting sea monsters - but Sinbad always returns home safely
and with more treasures. Such wonderful stories were passed on
from one storyteller to another, each adding another adventure
from his own imagination - the stories were passed on to a
writer of an opera and then on to the artist to add his
imagination for a painting. Perhaps this picture is of the
large cave he sailed into. "The stones of the mountain
are of crystal, rubies and other precious stones."
Because there is no horizon, the green and black background
might remind you of a cave. The sailor is in the little boat
fighting three sea monsters. He has attacked one and we see
two giant drops of its blood. The pattern of colorful
fish is repeated in the boat and Sinbad's shirt. Is the blue
in the shape of a wave?
The Sleeping Gypsy, 1897,
Henri Rousseau, French (1844-1910), 51"
x 6' 7", oil on canvas, The Museum
of Modern Art, NY, reproduction print.
| It is still and quiet in the desert and
the person is in the happy world of dreams. The figure is in
brightly colored clothing. It is free from the fear we would
have if we saw a savage lion. The lion will do no harm,
perhaps it is even a pet? The land is barren and lonely, but
Rousseau provided something to drink and music to play when
the gypsy awakens. notice the moonlight shining on the lion's
tail and mane and on the gypsy's shoulder. Notice the hair
like folds of cloth is different from the lion's mane - also
hair. How would your feelings about this painting change if
there were trees, flowers, grass or people?
People and Dog in the
Sun, , Joan Miró, Spanish (1893-1983), Kuntsmuseum, Basel,
Switzerland. Reproduction print.
|Joan Miró was a Spanish
surrealist painter and sculptor.
This painting is fun to look at and find the
people and the dog. Can you find the right side up? There
might not be one. Whenever he placed a drop of paint on a
canvas, Miró would imagine it as something - a dog, a man
etc. Sometimes he would make collages of real things such as
screwdrivers, carburetors or other found objects. Then he
would paint those combined shapes on a canvas and imagine them
as something else in the process.
Blue Donkey, , Marc Chagall, Russian
(1877-1985), , reproduction print.