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image: Henri Rousseau: Jungels in Paris
image: The Representatives of Foreign Powers Coming to Greet the Republic as a Sign of Peace

Allegories

A number of Rousseau's works express his national pride. Although most avant-garde artists of the period opposed the shaky and ineffective government of the newly formed Third Republic, Rousseau—like many in his social class—was an ardent supporter, who took its patriotic rhetoric at face value. He courted its cultural authorities with works such as The Representatives of Foreign Powers Coming to Greet the Republic as a Sign of Peace, which depicts France as a benevolent global power bringing peace and civilization to the world.

In addition to seeking state recognition, Rousseau craved acceptance by the artistic establishment. For this reason, he turned to allegory, long held to be the pinnacle of artistic achievement and a mainstay of the official Salon. He produced large-scale canvases that used personification and symbols to address serious subjects of historical significance, such as liberty and war. While Rousseau's allegorical paintings depict such lofty themes, his humble, idiosyncratic style seems incongruous with the high-minded genre.

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Introduction | Surprised! | Forests | Suburban Landscapes | Allegories | Portraits
Dangerous Exotic | Jungles | Exhibition Information

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