Patrick Noon

Redon was an artist, a symbolist painter, who very much admired Delacroix above all other artists and when he first arrived in Paris from the south of France, he would follow Delacroix around. And Delacroix didn’t know this but he would just, he would follow him and observe what he did. And on occasion he would sit outside of Delacroix’s studio just wait for him to come out so he could see him. It was quite remarkable is that kind of idol worship and he wasn’t alone in this, there were other artists who felt the same way or maybe perhaps not as extreme as this but we know about it because Redon writes about it in his memoires and his first encounter with Delacroix. And then writes very cogently later about Delacroix’s art, he says, he was the first artist who actually used color for expression, rather than definition or realism but it was for expressive color. He was the first artist to really pick up on that and promote that idea in his own work. And you see this is something like Pegasus, the greens the oranges, the yellows these are all Delacroix colors - used much more boldly than Delacroix ever used them but nonetheless that’s where the power comes from.

At the end of Redon’s life, he becomes very much interested in Delacroix’s monster slaying pictures, you know there’s Pegasus there’s an Andromeda all these classical legends about the monster slayers and even the Christians ones the St. Michael and that sort of thing, these are all images that the symbolist especially artists like Redon picked up from Delacroix.

In the case of Pegasus, Redon actually says, this represents poetry in its purity in dominating envy which is represented by the serpent. So he conceived it really as a variation on Delacroix’s Apollo Slaying the Python. Again as a metaphor for the ostracized artist triumphing over adversity and hostility from the establishment.

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