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Sunday, 26 September 2010
MATISSE AND FAUVISM
“An artist must possess Nature. He must identify himself with her rhythm, by efforts that will prepare the mastery which will later enable him to express himself in his own language.” - Henri Matisse
For Art Sunday today, Henri Matisse. He was born on December 31, 1869 in Le Cateau Cambresis, France. He first got a degree in law but then decided to become an artist. He studied for three years with Gustave Moreau. He learned a lot by copying paintings by other great artists, such as Raphael.
Matisse was one of the founders of a type of art called Fauvism, a style of painting with vivid expressionistic and non-naturalistic use of colour that flourished in Paris from 1905 and, although short-lived, had an important influence on subsequent artists, especially the German expressionists. The term Fauvism is from the French fauve ‘wild beast.’ The name originated from a remark of the French art critic Louis Vauxcelles at the Salon of 1905; coming across a quattrocento-style statue in the midst of works by Matisse and his associates, he is reputed to have said, “Donatello au milieu des fauves!” (‘Donatello among the wild beasts’).
Matisse liked to compose his paintings with people in them as it made it easy for him to express his feelings about life. He especially liked to paint women, because he said they held the answer to the mystery of life. Matisse also did many pieces of art using cut paper. He was also a sculptor and an etcher.
Towards the end of his life, Matisse developed cancer and he became confined to a wheelchair. From his wheelchair, he completed one of his most famous works, painting the inside of the Chapelle du Rosaire. Matisse died in 1954.
Illustrated here is his “Le bonheur de vivre” (The Joy of Life) 1905-1906; Oil on canvas (175 x 241 cm). The characteristic swathes of bright non-naturalistic colour evoke strong emotional responses in the viewer, while the subject matter makes it clear as to what the artist believes is essential in life for a joyful existence.
I have been blogging daily on this platform for several years now. It is surprising that I have persisted as the world is changing and "microblogging" is now the norm. I blog to amuse myself, make comment on current affairs, externalise some of my creativity, keep notes on things that interest me, learn something new and to surprise myself with things that I discover about this wonderful, and sometimes crazy, world we live in.
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