Jean Matisse And The Color Essay

1635 Words Oct 13th, 2016 7 Pages
Henri Matisse painted Bonheur de Vivre (c. 1905-1906) within the introductory period of radically charged, color-based fauvist work. The color in Bonheur de Vivre easily conveys a sense of joy present in a free-natured romp through nature the painting attempts to emulate.
The painting contains sixteen feminine-coded human figures sitting in a hyper-colored field. Instead of a contemporary scene, trees enclose a mythic clearing. This deifies these figures as they lounge nude in multicolored grass, talk, play instruments, and dance. There are no straight lines within the painting, giving it a sense of fluidity and motion, even though most of the figures are in a stationary position. There is little shadow or depth in the painting, instead relying on intense color and outline to shape the forms of the trees and figures. The over-bearing presence of such intense color gives the painting both a sense of comfort and warmth as (eiseman 2006 source) yellow is associated with joy and familiarity. Such intense color also means that each color holds the same gravity and importance to give context to the figures in the painting and the contextualize the space for the viewer. These huge, flat swatches of bright color trade emotional response for physical depth within the painting, meaning that all semblance of a possibly real space are lost—notably in the horizon line in the central background of the painting. This representation of a horizon as two separate colors together shows just…

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