According to Greek myth, the sun god Apollo drives his chariot from east to west across the sky every day. When Apollo saw a gigantic serpent attack the city of Delphi, he leapt to the city’s aid and slew the python. For Symbolists like Odilon Redon, myths and legends were an important source of inspiration. This myth held particular importance for Redon: it not only embraced the triumph of light over dark and good over evil but more significantly that of the spirit, and hence imagination, over the material. Redon created a number of versions based on this theme between 1905 and 1912. Despite great disparities in size and color, most of the works feature Apollo’s solar chariot. In this pastel drawing, the heavens are still masked by grey cloud. Apollo’s blazing presence, guiding the chariot’s reins with upraised arms, glows in the lower right-hand portion.
legaat / bequeathed by Hendrik Cleyndert Azn., Den Haag