Just like human, a work of art is considered as naïve if it looks innocent and childlike. Sour as it may sound but during the nineteenth century, a painting is labeled as naïve if its artist has no formal training in arts. Regardless of the charisma they portray, they are being criticized and ridiculed.
Naïve art is characterized with intense detail, luminous colors, coarse patterns, flat and lack of perspective. The French artist Henri Rousseau is notable for his naïve paintings The Sleeping Gypsy, 1897 and The Snake Charmer, 1907. The latter was used as a book cover of Anne Rice’s Merrick Novel. Jungle sceneries are Rousseau’s common subject matter even though he has never seen a jungle.
The paintings of Cornish mariner and artist Alfred Wallis are also examples of naïve art. Since he was a mariner, his subject matter is seascape. Inspired by his experiences, most of his paintings contain boats, ships, ocean and seaport.
If naïve art is quite unwelcomed before, its style never ceases and guiltlessly streams up to the present. It is now widely used on children’s book and greeting cards similar with Rousseau’s subjects of wild animals in the jungle on a bright day or twilight.
Even with the advancement in technology, there are graphic designers who create naïve designs. Though the popular doodle drawings and designs seem to be separated from naïve art, the characters appears to look really childlike portraying raw expressions of delight, anxiety, anger, suspicion and madness. Their shapes are anthropomorphic, pastel in color and resembles like that of Joan Miro’s organic paintings. Doodles are used for designing murals allowing many people to paint. T-shirts and bags are now also printed with naïve doodles since they mostly appeal on teenagers. Doodles are also used for web graphics like wallpapers, templates, and banners.
The Sleeping Gypsy by Henri Rousseau
The Snake Charmer by Henri Rousseau
Hold House Port Mear Square Island by Alfred Wallis
St. Michael's Mount in Marazion