wall label: Symbolist artist Odilon Redon created images that suggest mental states or spiritual realms rather than imitations of the visible world. While Redon was fascinated by recent scientific discoveries relating to the sea, this glowing pastel may have a more mystical inspiration. Does it refer to the final journey of the soul, symbolized by the gems, across the divide between life and death? The two women could be spiritual presences who attend the soul as guardian figures.
Redon's art was part of a broader European current that included Sigmund Freud's analysis of dreams and the founding of modern psychology.