Carnival Evening

It had been a while since I’d been to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. I took a recent trip and spent a couple of hours just wandering around, stopping at the paintings that caught my eye. My favorite from my recent trip was one entitled Carnival Evening by Henri Rousseau. Check it out for yourself: 


I don’t claim to be an art critic. I just appreciate it. I also find that looking and studying art inspires my writing. There was something about this painting that really resonated with me. Here’s how the Philly Art Museum describes it:

“An air of mystery pervades this wintry forest landscape. Dressed in festive carnival costumes, a lone couple stands in front of barren trees. The figures seem to shine from within rather than from the light of the moon, which has strangely left the forest in darkness. An unexplained face leers out from the empty hut beside the figures, and an unexpected street lamp incongruously glows nearby. Known for his fantastic scenes, Rousseau was a self-taught artist whose works appealed to the collectors and avant-garde artists of the early twentieth century, including Pablo Picasso.

The air of mystery is probably what I like best about Carnival Evening. Why is the couple dressed in carnival costumes? Who is shadowy figure standing by the empty hut? The barren trees and the wintry landscape are also appealing to me.

I looked up other paintings from Rousseau, and I loved them. WikiArt says Rousseau, a Frenchman who was active from 1875 through 1910, belonged to the art movement known as Naive Art or Primitivism.

He was known most for his jungle paintings, though he’d never been in a jungle. I plan on checking out more of his stuff.

What do you think of Carnival Evening? Let me know in the comments section.


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