Artist Study: Henri Rousseau

As part of our South American/ rain forest unit study we looked at the art of Henri Rousseau, which was perhaps a strange choice given he was French and had no connection with South America in any way whatsoever!  That said, he is well known for his paintings of jungles and it is there you see the tenuous link 😉

We already had the following book, which I read out to them:


This was a surprisingly good book!  Within its pages is a comprehensive biography as well as some leading questions on many of Rousseau’s pictures.  For a book geared towards young children the questions are just the right amount of thought provoking and relevant.  I will just say that there are a couple of instances where the person in the jungle does not have any clothes on.  Most of them, however, are simply animals surrounded by jungle:


I had two ideas of how we might like to replicate Rousseau’s work.  The first was to make a collage using cut outs of animals one might find in the rain forest, along with cut outs of plant leaves, flowers and grass.  The second was using the tiger in the poster A8 made as part of her Endangered Animals project, as well as photocopies of the plants painted by Rousseau copied onto transfer paper.  We would use the transfers, ironing them onto one of A’s old tops to make a Rousseau inspired jungle.  I was really quite excited about the second idea, so I was very disappointed when it did not work out at all like I had expected, leading me to actually throw away the top I used 🙁

A Rousseau Collage

We did manage the first idea, however, if I was to do this again I would use green card as the background we stuck the collage on rather than white paper.  B5 thoroughly enjoyed herself which I guess is the main point 🙂

After reading the book, we cut out some jungle animals from this site, as well as lots of coloured shapes to use as jungle plants:


Using all of these we attempted to make a simple collage in the style of Henri Rousseau:


I am certain that the coloured paper we used was green, but it definitely looks a little blue in these photos.


Not maybe our finest artistic moment…..



  1. I”m curious how the shirt you threw out turned out, and if it was recoverable.

    Their projects look wonderful. I’m behind on commenting on everyone, I usually get around to comment on Fridays, but we had guests/out of town last weekend, so it just didn’t happen.

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