Is this painting similar to the other paintings that we have looked at? The artist of this painting, Henri Rousseau, had a very individual style. Different from his Post-Impressionist contemporaries, Rousseau did not paint with large, visible brushstrokes. Instead, he painted long, smooth lines as seen in the grass and leaves in the foreground of this painting.
Rousseau did not receive a formal art education; he worked as a customs officer in Paris. Rousseau, unlike many of his contemporaries, did not paint Parisian cityscapes or the French countryside. Similar to Gauguin and Cézanne, Rousseau wanted to escape the bustling, modern world. Unlike these painters Rousseau did not leave Paris to find inspiration. Rousseau found inspiration within his imagination. Rousseau expressed his individual vision of the world through dreamlike paintings composed of flat forms and saturated color.
The Snake Charmer was inspired by the artist’s dreams and frequent trips to the botanical gardens in Paris. Rousseau once spoke of his love for the botanical gardens in Paris to the art critic Arsene Alaxendre, “When I go into the glass houses and I see the strange plants of exotic lands, it seems to me that I enter a dream.”1
1Stabenow, Cornelia. Henri Rousseau, 1844–1910 (Cologne, Germany: Taschen, 2001), 7