Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Henri Matisse Essay

Essay on Henri Matisse

His studio was a world within the world: a place of equilibrium that, for sixty continuous years, produced images of ease, refuge, and satisfaction. Nowhere in Matisse's work does one feel a trace of the alienation and conflict which modernism has so often reflected. During Matisse’s period there were many things happening around the world that inspired artists, most were ones that were deep with meaning or exploitation such as war and depression. However Henri Matisse never painted paintings of anger, repression and dejection he painted what was important to him, comfort, happiness a kind of sanctuary from current issues. Matisse literally lived through two different worlds, he was born in 1869 and died in 1954, and he saw the most horrible wars, the biggest slaughters and the most demented rivalry of ideology in recorded history, all without being tempted to depict them on a canvas.

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In 1907 Matisse's partiality for the Fauvist freedom faded and his interest in the work of Cezanne was rekindled, he begun experimenting with various figure/background relationships, also perhaps relating to some of Van Gogh’s portraits. The Girl with Green Eyes is one of those compositions. The figure and background compete for dominance, yet they are formally linked. The curves all over the painting link together, the embroidery on her robe, the sculpture in the background and the soft curves of her face.

The brush strokes are free and expressive as the figure almost blends into the background, there are arabesque patterns all over the canvas but because of the brushwork they are made somewhat blurred and suggested. It is the happy, bold color of this portrait, which makes the initial impact. Matisse has taken his Fauvist palette and made it richer, the open areas of bare canvas are gone, which cheered up and de-formalized his landscapes and figures in his work of 1905-6. In The Girl with Green Eyes, complementary colors are adjoined and loud, and closely hued areas are contrasting.

There is a correlation in this painting, it relates to many of Van Gogh’s portraits, there is the use of outlines, a very common trait in Van Gogh’s art, the background and composition, although probably inspired by Cezanne, shows traits from Van Gogh’s portrait of his art dealer.

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