the repast of the lion

Animation & Inspiration

In honor of Henri Rousseau’s birthday (today!), we wanted to share how his work influenced the animation for one of our very own lessons.

When designing the rainforest scenes in our lesson on Biodiversity, we couldn’t help but thinking of Henri Rousseau’s The Dream. Our color palette was inspired by the richness and depth of greens in his forest scenes. And we love the way the blue & ivory flowers pop out against the many shades of green.

The Dream, by Henri Rousseau (1910)

Rousseau’s color choice for the Sun in many of his paintings is fairly difficult to replicate digitally. It took a lot of layers of brushstrokes and color washes to try to mimic his skies - which offer a perfectly soft contrast to the detailed leaves and fronds in the foreground foliage.

Three apes in The Orange Grove, by Henri Rousseau (1907)

We love the placement of wildlife in Rousseau’s paintings - as if the leaves parted momentarily to allow us to peer in on the secret lives of the lions and monkeys going about their business. While designing the Biodiversity lesson, we wanted to similarly highlight the variety of species in the rainforest, while also allowing the audience to imagine that much, much more lurks behind the leaves.

The Repast of the Lion, by Henri Rousseau (1907)

Animated GIFs from the TED-Ed lesson Why is biodiversity so important? - Kim Preshoff

Animation by TED-Ed

They loathed his ill-timed drunkenness, his heavy expenditures, his debauches with women, his spending the days in sleep or in wandering about with crazed and aching head, the nights in revelry or at shows, or in attendance at the nuptial feasts of mimes and jesters. We are told, at any rate, that he once feasted at the nuptials of Hippias the mime, drank all night, and then, early in the morning, when the people summoned him to the forum, came before them still surfeited with food and vomited into his toga, which one of his friends held at his service. Sergius the mime also was one of those who had the greatest influence with him, and Cytheris, a woman from the same school of acting, a great favourite, whom he took about with him in a litter on his visits to the cities, and her litter was followed by as many attendants as that of his mother. Moreover, people were vexed at the sight of golden beakers borne about on his excursions from the city as in sacred processions, at the pitching of tents when he travelled, at the laying out of costly repasts near groves and rivers, at chariots drawn by lions, and at the use of honest men and women’s houses as quarters for harlots and psaltery-players.
—  The Life of Antony - Plutarch