Tiger in a Tropical Storm

Tiger in a Tropical Storm
Artist Henri Rousseau
Year 1891
Medium Oil on canvas
Location National Gallery, London, England
Dimensions 51⅛ in × 63¾ in
130 cm × 162 cm
Famous Paintings by Henri Rousseau
Tiger in a Tropical Storm
The Hungry Lion Throws Itself on the Antelope
The Dream
A Carnival Evening
The Sleeping Gypsy
The Football Players
The Snake Charmer
Boy on the Rocks
Exotic Landscape
Complete Works

Tiger in a Tropical Storm is an oil painting created in 1891 by Rousseau. It is the first of many jungle paintings, which the artist is most famous for. The painting depicts the tiger jumping at its prey, where the tiger is depicted by a flash of lightning. Although the painting and all of his work received mixed reviews, there were praises claiming it to be a must-see piece.


The tiger in the work is taken from Eugene Delacroix’s motif, found in his paintings. Much of Rousseau’s inspiration was derived in the botanical gardens in France as well as books. Many of the images he saw depicted exotic as well as dangerous animals. Since the prey is not seen in the image, it is up to the viewer and their imagination to decide what he was going for in the painting, and what the end result is going to be. The painting was originally given the title Surprised!, which is what most believe to be in reference to the tiger ambushing its prey without warning.


Although it is a very simplistic and basic approach to the design, Rousseau uses different shades of green, in order to capture the lush and the different layers that are found in the jungle. Strands of silver were also his own unique way in depicting rain that was falling, which was a technique that inspired later artists. After this work, Rousseau did not do any other jungle works for a period of 7 years. He finally exhibited the painting, The Struggle for Life in 1898.

Although simple and basic, the Tiger in a Tropical Storm is one that today is seen as a stepping stone for future artists and works of art.

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