This fantastical drawing of a helmeted woman in profile is one of four similar charcoal drawings Redon executed during the last decade of the nineteenth century. The sitter, rendered strangely mute by her helmetlike covering and untouchable by its thorny needles, varies slightly from sheet to sheet. While the exact meaning of Redon's image is unclear, it has been thought that the bizarre bondage imposed on his sitter expresses subconscious fear of female sexuality or, conversely, serves as a symbol of female fecundity. Equally important, however, is Redon's virtuoso handling of charcoal and his ability to capture its full range of tones, from the dark velvet quality of the helmet to the pallor of the woman's skin.
This artwork is meant to be viewed from right to left. Scroll left to view more.
Use your arrow keys to navigate the tabs below, and your tab key to choose an item
The Met Collection API is where all makers, creators, researchers, and dreamers can connect to the most up-to-date data and public domain images for The Met collection. Open Access data and public domain images are available for unrestricted commercial and noncommercial use without permission or fee.
We continue to research and examine historical and cultural context for objects in The Met collection. If you have comments or questions about this object record, please complete and submit this form. The Museum looks forward to receiving your comments.
The Met's collection of drawings and prints—one of the most comprehensive and distinguished of its kind in the world—began with a gift of 670 works from Cornelius Vanderbilt, a Museum trustee, in 1880.