Georges Rouault French

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Deeply spiritual, Rouault mined his Christian faith for artistic inspiration. French poet and critic André Suarès encouraged him, writing, "never smother the mystical song that rests deep inside you." Meditating on Christian scenes, Rouault used jewel-like colors, flattened figures, and heavy black outlines in a manner suggestive of stained glass. Twilight is one of many biblical landscapes the artist completed between 1929 and 1939. Although the painting’s title does not reference a specific story, the central figures who encounter blocked doorways under a darkening sky may be Joseph and Mary seeking shelter in Bethlehem, for Mary to give birth to the infant Christ.

Twilight, Georges Rouault (French, Paris 1871–1958 Paris), Oil on canvas

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