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Henri Matisse - the green line

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Introduction

Green Stripe (Madame Matisse) 1905; Oil and tempera on canvas, 40.5 x 32.5 cm (15 7/8 x 12 7/8 in); Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Copenhagen Henry Matisse was probably the more outstanding contributors to the Fauvist movement. He also was the artist that carried most interest to it and his associates. One of his most famous pieces was Madame Matisse: The Green stripe. It provides an exceptional illustration of his artistic aspiration, which was primarily the bold application of colour to communicate and convey human emotions. The composition in question is comprised of a portrait in the foreground of Madame Matisse and a background explicitly separated into several apparent regions of colour. This explicit division in the background is evident in the concurrence of the orange, pale purple and blue green, with the foreground of the portrait being 'dichotomised' mainly by the green line itself. The stripe runs down the middle of the face of Madam Matisse and hence the composition is split in accordance with an almost perpendicular axis. Both the background and foreground, nevertheless, are portrayed as being more or less entirely two dimensional. ...read more.

Middle

Nevertheless it could be said that this simply conforms to the wider Fauvist ideas of not strictly agreeing wit the 'mechanics' of the image. From a physical aspect, Matisse's use of shape and line offer an additional function within the work as they help in conjunction in the initiation of some sort of a compositional balance. The presence of natural and geometric structures, with the natural shapes symbolising the subject's bodily figure in the foreground and the geometric sense of the background, materialising the division of colour, both work to provide a simple contrast and balance to the work The lines in the work are both dominant outlines on her shoulders, hair, and left neckline, and blurred lines like the details on her garments and the contour of her right cheek and chin. Painting technique can be described as the use of several layers of oil paint on canvas with visible brush strokes and some texture. In addition, it could be said that the artist's use of colour evokes a definite sense of emotion. ...read more.

Conclusion

All of these elements were a factor in Matisse's impressions about art, in which he took and developed them to a new level and so affected the view of art for generations to come. From a historical and social context, Matisse began his professional career as a lawyer and did not discover painting and art until he bought a set of watercolours at some point before 1892. After he did discover his love of art he began to study in Paris. In 1892 and spent much time in the south of France, which to a great extent affected the style of his work. In conclusion, the painting Madam Matisse: The Green Stripe is a quintessence of all that Matisse himself and the Fauve movement stood for: the expressive use of colour to create an art of balance, tranquillity, and purity. He was adept at using the initial ideas created in the Fauve movement and advance them beyond what any other artist in the period had done previously or after. In fact, one might say that Matisse was the artist who ensured the lasting impression of Fauvism on artistic expression and that it would not be what it is today without his influence. ...read more.

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