Famous Post-impressionist painter Henri Rousseau was recognized for his distinctive style, which throughout the 19th century, defied conventional academic ideas.

The work of Rousseau is well renowned for its depictions of jungles and animals, which has sparked a great deal of attention from the worldwide art establishment. Although his technique is completely his own and the topics he selected to paint are similarly inventive, his work is frequently categorized as primitive, even if it is not really the case. Nevertheless, works like Snake Charmer and the Dream established him as a significant and extremely remembered painter.

Since the middle of the 19th century, when it encountered a lengthy wave of inventive painters who helped push forward concepts from previously established forms that were beginning to seem outdated to individuals who were more contemporary-minded, French art has long since reigned inside Europe. Italian artists had significantly dominated the Renaissance, and French artists similarly grabbed the lead in the 19th century owing to the impressionists and painters like Henri Rousseau.

Although incredibly unique and almost cartoonish, Henri Rousseau’s work has elements of specific painters known to have influenced him and acted as study subjects for a youthful Henri as he sought out new inspirations at the beginning of his career. Take a peek at this list of Henri Rousseau’s Jungle paintings.

Surprise (Tiger in a Tropical Storm)

The earliest painting depicting a tropical setting is Henri Rousseau’s “Surprise,” from 1891. Rousseau had never been to a forest in person. The piece, which was originally named Tiger in a Tropical Storm, draws influence from engravings and graphic books as well as the Jardin des Plantes, which was adjacent to the artist’s workplace.

World-famous painter Henri Rousseau subsequently clarified that the tiger in the picture was following a group of ambushed explorers, despite the initial assumption that the violent tropical storm bursting in the skies far above the tiger represented who or what the tiger was pursuing. 

The entire picture is covered in stripes of various colors. Long lightning bolts make people think of a thunderclap. The striped tiger is seen to blend in well with the lush vegetation.

The picture received mockery for its clumsy execution and innocent demeanor. In addition, the flat depiction of the characters contributed to some of the film’s detractors. However, modern analyses of the work have praised the surrealistic character that Rousseau’s method gives to this faraway setting. In addition, his meticulous layering of various green hues on foliage has since been praised for its skill.

Sleeping Gypsy

This lovely painting depicts a wandering African gypsy who falls asleep beneath a starry moonlit sky. A mandolin, as well as a water container, is placed by her side.

A lion’s silently guarding the eminent lady while in a peaceful slumber. The lady’s multicolored striped Eastern attire and covering, alongside the twilight, merely contribute to the uncanny, eerie mood. The lad’s enjoying a combination of strange, out-of-this-world musical instruments. Interestingly, the latter is original European and Eastern implements the artist seems to adore. 

Regardless, Rousseau decides to mix these elements in his artwork. Undoubtedly one of the most recognizable pieces of art from the modern era is this startling representation of a lion silently watching a sleeping lady on a moonlight night.


The Waterfall was painted by world-famous painter Henri Rousseau the year before he passed away (1910). It is said to be incomplete since parts of the foreground tree’s leaves lack the layers of color that the artist is known for adding. The artwork, however, is still colorful and very much detailed.

He depicted two humans with dark skin and two deer near a creek in a remote scene covered in thick vegetation. We come into a fictitious setting that symbolizes 20th-century European beliefs about fleeing modernity and returning to more tranquil roots as we gaze upon them, presumably unseen or merely noted by the deer.


The Dream, one of the best Henri Rousseau paintings, depicts Yadwigha, Rousseau’s young Polish mistress, lying on a couch to the left of the picture in a nearly surreal depiction. The young woman has been taken into a forest, where she is being serenaded by a local musician using a brass instrument. 

Yadwigha reaches out to the piper while partially shrouded in the jungle’s gloom and looking over a scene of rich, tropical vegetation that features lotus petals, birds, monkeys, an elephant, a lioness, a lion, and a snake. The serpent that enters the scene in the painting’s lower right corner suggests a Garden of Eden motif. 

A pink snake slithering through the underbrush echoes the woman’s legs with its serpentine appearance. The Dream demonstrates why the Surrealists adored Rousseau’s artwork with its amazing attention to detail, brilliant color scheme, and absurdist mix of motifs. For painting the jungle flora, at least 22 colors of green were used.

Self Portrait

During his artistic career, painter Henri Rousseau painted several self-portraits, including this lovely one. Self-portrait of the Painter with a Lamp was the original title of this 1903 piece of art.

This piece is now on display at the Musée Picasso in Paris. Picasso worked for years while influenced by African art movements, while Rousseau functioned as a primitive or childlike artist. Compared to other career-high points, Self-portrait of the Artist with a Lamp has less information available, but we may still learn a lot by contrasting it with other works from his career.


During his lifetime, Henri Rousseau wasn’t treated seriously by academics, and only public acceptance of his writings has guaranteed that his reputation has endured until the present. Rousseau was criticized as an artist, presumably because of his radically modern approach and the lack of formal instruction he had, but this is perhaps now considered a benefit for his being so original and different.


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