Chariot of Apollo - Odilon Redon. 1912
At the beginning of his career Redon almost always worked in black and white, creating memorable fantastic visions. He was recognized by Symbolist poets, and the Surrealists considered him one of the harbingers of their direction in art. Around 1890, he began to work in color, creating portraits, decorative screens, floral still lifes. He fell in love with pastel, which in its properties is similar to coal, but gives a more vibrant color.
Redon's success gave him confidence, and he turned to scenes from classical mythology; some of his works illustrate the story of Apollo and Python (in the latter he saw the symbol of evil). According to Redon, this myth was not only the triumph of good over evil, day over night, but also the triumph of the creative mind over the flesh.
Redon admired the version of the theme performed by Delacroix on the ceiling of the Apollo Gallery in the Louvre. Creating his painting (c. 1905-1916), he borrowed from Delacroix the idea of a chariotharnessed by a team of horses rising to the sky, which he described as follows: "The joy of bright daylight contrasting with the sadness of night and shadow is like the happiness of recovery from pain.».