The Repast of the Lion Henri Rousseau Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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The Repast of the Lion is a painting in an unknown wild setting, though the animal's surroundings are very lush and green. The lion looks like it is enjoying its meal of a scaled animal, most probably a crocodile or a reptile.

The colours used in this piece are all very earthy tones that accentuate the greens of leaves and grasses, blue flowers, yellow, and a huge bud of a white wildflower. Henri made this painting's features very detailed despite their small sizes.

Paul Gauguin greatly inspired Henri Rousseau. Henri longed to paint the jungle because that is where he felt most free, just like Gauguin's time spent in Tahiti. Rousseau decided he would go to the zoo every day to observe the animals, and when he could make the time, draw them. For Henri Rousseau he wanted to capture movement in his paintings. In The Repast of the Lion, you can see how Henri captured the lion's mane flowing from its head with swift brushstrokes. It is indeed different from the other paintings.

The lion looks very detailed. It has whiskers around its face and a huge paw that is reaching for its food. Its prey seems to be something small like a bird or lizard rather than another animal because you can see how small it is compared to the lion's paws. From the viewer's perspective, the lion enjoying itself with its prey, devouring it whole and trying to get at the last pieces. In the background, Henri artistically showed how beautiful and lush the environment is. The sun can be seen rising from the backside showing that it is in the morning.

The Repast of the Lion is one of many paintings that Henri Rousseau created. He was born in France but moved to Paris, making him French-born and Parisian-raised. He painted some other famous pieces, such as Feasting Animals at the Paris Zoo. Henri was a talented artist who loved animals. His family pet cat inspired him; he had it for 12 years before it died. Henri later wrote, "I am like the animals I paint; I do not need you to tell me what they are thinking." Pablo Picasso is quoted saying, "Let's put Henri Rousseau in front of the window with an easel, some paints and his cat. Let him paint what he sees there. We'll soon tell him what is wrong." This shows how Henri Rousseau was viewed as a different kind of artist because he painted with great detail despite being small in areas people cannot see up close, like the underside of leaves. A lot of his paintings are based on the natural world and its creatures.