THE SLEEPING GYPSY, HENRI ROUSSEAU

Sleeping Gypsy by Henri Rousseau inspiration for a window display, college project for Visual Merchandising course in DIT, Dublin.

PAINTING AS A MERCHANDISING INSPIRATION

The objective of the summer window display was to reproduce a large painting and display it with a suitable merchandising product. I have chosen The Sleeping Gypsy by Henri Rousseau a French post-impressionist.

The Sleeping Gypsy (French: La Bohémienne endormie) is an 1897 oil painting by French Naïve artist Henri Rousseau (1844–1910).
The Sleeping Gypsy (French: La Bohémienne endormie) is an 1897 oil painting by French Naïve artist Henri Rousseau (1844–1910).

 

For 26 years the painting was lying in somebody’s attic unappreciated. Today it is considered to be one of the XX century masterpieces displayed in Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Henri Rousseau described his painting:

A wandering Negress, a mandolin player, lies with her jar beside her, overcome by fatigue in a deep sleep. A lion chances to pass by, picks up her scent yet does not devour her. There is a moonlight effect, very poetic.

Rousseau mixed different cultures, the gypsy is wearing an oriental costume, bedside her there is a mandolin, an Italian instrument. The lion hair is growing in an opposite direction, the face is more of a sheep face than a lion. It looks like a desert, yet there’s water behind them. No foot print of the gypsy. The mysterious painting arises a lot question to the viewer.

To me the painting of the Sleeping Gypsy is about dreaming, about the peaceful moments during our sleep when we feel very safe and cosy … in between the two worlds of wakefulness and sleep. I chose the bed linen as the product to emphasise the idea of shelter and protection. A place where nothing wrong will happen to us.


YIN&YANG ELEMENTS

The composition of the painting is horizontal (triangle shape, the rule of 1/3 applied), what makes it very peaceful with the horizontal lines of the mountains and the water in the background. The stripes on the gipsy go horizontally, yet on the pillow, the same pattern is used vertically. There is a contrast between the danger (lion) and the peace (sleeping gipsy). 


THE MAKING OFF

To reproduce the painting I had to follow a technique called grid drawing, which allows anyone to come up with a good scale drawing. The painting was created on the mdf board, which had to be covered with layers of PVA glue, otherwise, the board would absorb too much paint. The whole process of recreating the painting took me ten long days. I also made the mandolin out of a hardboard and the bed linen from the scratch, using college sawing machine. I recreated H.Rousseau signature on the red vase. More on the making off.

 


THE WINDOW DISPLAY WITH BED LINEN

The painting is suspended on the nylon thread. I used a blue filter on the lights to create the moonlight effect. I tried to recreate the layout and the composition of the painting using my merchandising products and props. The painting should be a little bit lower in order to create a unity with the rest of the display. Unfortunately, I was told to put it higher up …

It was one of the most time-consuming projects but very enjoyable to work on 🙂

Sleeping Gypsy by Henri Rousseau inspiration for a window display, college project for Visual Merchandising course in DIT, Dublin.
The Sleeping Gypsy by Henri Rousseau inspiration for a window display, college project for Visual Merchandising course in DIT, Dublin.

Sleeping Gypsy by Henri Rousseau inspiration for a window display, college project for Visual Merchandising course in DIT, Dublin.

 

 

 

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