Exotic Landscape with Monkeys and A Parrot
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Rousseau is famed for the naïve, flattened style which is seen in this painting. The piece shows various monkeys in different levels of hiding and a single parrot which acts as a focal point. The plants in which the animals live are simplified and undetailed, a trademark of Rousseau’s work. Although the artist never left his native France, he often painted jungle scenes inspired by illustrated books, taxidermized animals and his trips to the Paris botanical gardens. There is a central balance to the work, as the groups of monkeys, individual monkeys on branches, and the top-most parrot form a rough circle, drawing the viewer’s eye into the centre. The monkeys are given a playful personality through their hiding and interest in the viewer : the monkey upon a branch in the left of the painting gives Rousseau’s viewer direct eye contact. The colour palette is largely made up of greens and the grey of the sky and the parrot’s wings. However, the orange of the fruit, top-right corner flowers, and the red of the parrot’s breast add a contrast. A bright white is seen in the bottom right hand, outlining a plant, and to the left in a duo of flowers. Again, this adds a burst of colour which moves our eye around the canvas making the painting dynamic and interesting.