Nov. 10, 2021

The Garden of the Rousseau Family by Ensor

In this early painting by Ensor there is almost no indication of the subject matter he would later become well known for. It does, with the hint of a face in the right hand side and cutoff image of a tree on the left side and a light area running along the length of the bottom, break from the accepted compositional template for a garden subject in painting at that time, but overall it is just a well painted garden with hints of a Japanese influence. Ensor's later groundbreaking works are populated with a world of grotesque masked characters, battling skeletons, etc., etc., and are on the boarder between expressionism and surrealism. In this garden painting by Ensor those future subjects are in him as the artist but not yet revealed. They are like mice and moles hidden for now in the garden. The complete opposite is the last story by Poe titled Landor's Cottage. In it Poe chooses not to write a horror story but instead a detailed description of a lone cottage in a pastoral setting. The horrors that Poe wrote about with mastery are part of him as the author but are hidden and unseen somewhere in that pastoral landscape.