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Daily Art Moment: Odilon Redon

“Symbolist artist Odilon Redon was fascinated by the microscopic world that surrounds us. His fantastic prints, drawings, and paintings often feature bizarre depictions inspired by the unseen universe. His goal, he said, ‘consists in bringing to life … improbable beings and making them live according to the laws of probability, by putting—as far as possible—the logic of the Visible at the service of the Invisible.’ In this lithograph, Redon features forms that evoke eyes, mollusks, bacteria, and yes, even viruses. How do you think Redon would depict the novel coronavirus?”

Mary Weaver Chapin, Curator of Prints and Drawings

Odilon Redon, et aue des Yeux sans Tête Flottaient comme des Mollusques (…and that of the eye without a head floating like mollusks), plate XIII of XXIV from La Tentation de Saint-antoine (The Temptation of Saint Anthony), 1896, lithograph printed chine collé on cream wove paper, Museum Purchase: Funds provided by Eduardo A. Vides and Bruce Guenther, public domain, 2014.31.1