Redon, Odilon - Les Noirs 5 and Closed Eyes
Type of Spiritual Experience
Redon’s father died in 1874 leaving his family with no money. Redon described the following years, from 1875 to 1880, as the " most distressed period " of his life, the true Black days. The subject of the Prisoner often appears in the works of this time, appearing sometimes behind the bars of a window or isolated in a nightmare or a daydream, or even a hellish hallucination.
But in this drawing Redon combines the blackness with closed eyes.
One could put a slightly literal interpretation on the scene as the figure is only just able to 'keep his head above water', but the figure also has the appearance of being beheaded and it may be an indication that Redon considered this part of his life part of the rebirth process he went through.
The picture is entitled Head of Orpheus on the water or the mystic 1880