Born April 20, 1840, Odilon Redon was a French symbolist painter and printmaker, although he first aspired to be an architect at the urging of his father. His entrance exams did not qualify him for acceptance to architectural studies, so he pursued his first love of art instead.
Of his work, Redon said:
"My drawings inspire, and are not to be defined. They place us, as does music, in the ambiguous realm of the undetermined."
He wanted to "place the visible at the service of the invisible." His work seems filled with strange and sometimes grotesque subjects, but it seems he was simply showing his audience the haunted spirits of his own mind. One source of Redon's inspiration and the forces behind his works can be found in his journal where he reminds us to trust our creative intuition:
"I have often, as an exercise and as a sustenance, painted before an object down to the smallest accidents of its visual appearance; but the day left me sad and with an unsatiated thirst. The next day I let the other source run, that of imagination, through the recollection of the forms and I was then reassured and appeased."