The Equatorial Jungle: Henri Rousseau

Henri Rousseau: The Equatorial Jungle

French painter Henri Rousseau painted The Equatorial Jungle in 1909, depicting a faraway jungle scene in the primitive style he is so famous for. Rousseau took to art at a late stage of his life and indeed his work was derided by others as ‘naive’. Certainly here, Rousseau simplifies shapes and forms and – apart from the exotic pink flowers – restricts his colors to dark greens and browns.

Instead of the convention of a human figure looking out at the viewer, we have an odd-looking bird and monkey looking out towards us. The restricted colors relate to the dense vegetation of this environment, as well as its heat.

Rousseau was not a classically trained painter, nor had he ever travelled to the ‘primitive’ or ‘exotic’ destinations which he painted.

Henri Rousseau’s The Equatorial Jungle is in the National Gallery in Washington DC

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