Henri Rousseau, View of the Ile Saint-Louis seen from Port Saint-Nicolas, 1888. Oil on canvas, 46 × 55 cm.
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Image from the Gundestrup cauldron, found in a peat bog in Denmark in 1891 and thought to be about two millennia old.
The antlered, human-like figure is Cernunnos, horned god and master of beasts. His name derives from the Proto-Indo-European root *ker- “head, horn”, which also gave rise to horn, unicorn, rhinoceros, cerebrum, and cranium (see American Heritage Dictionary, 5th ed.).
Several French towns are named after Cernunnos, such as Cernay-la-Ville and Cernay in the Haut-Rhin region.
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When Monet visited the Massif Central region of France, its bleakness and savagery instantly impressed him. He decided to paint the region around the River Creuse and try to capture that barren and dramatic landscape. When he started it was winter. To his horror, while he was still working on the details of a tree, spring arrived, causing the tree to bud. Unable to cope with his subject changing into a green and leafy tree, Monet paid the owner to strip the buds off. This demonstrates that Monet was perhaps not so receptive or reactive to nature as he would have liked his public to believe.
Vanessa Potts, Monet