Matisse Painting Analysis

995 Words 4 Pages
Beginning in the late 18th century, a new direction was taken in the art world. Straying away from religious purposes, art became more about modernism. Modernism, defined by Clement Greenberg, focused in art is more about the medium itself rather than the illusion of scenes of reality. An example of how modernism in the visual art world contrasts from the traditional chiaroscuro and realistic scenes, can be found in the 8 ½ by 13 ft oil painting by Henri Matisse, The Dance, 1909-10.
Looking closely at Matisse’ oil painting, a few important components make this work stand out against the traditional ways of painting. As explained by Greenberg, the use of color and line are just two factors of many that create this effect. Matisse’ color choices
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The same painting technique is found in the figures themselves. Creating the color of the figures to range from a stimulating bright orange to ranges of softer oranges and yellows. The ground which the figures seem to be dancing upon is painted with the same technique, but with a different color. Using green, Matisse is very aware of how this color relation will affect the skin tone versus the sky. With the addition to the green foreground, the figures can be seen to be more red than orange. And orange, being a complimentary color of blue, jolts …show more content…
Envisioning what an astonishment this is to the art world during this time can be represented with the deep differences shown between Matisse versus his teacher’s painting techniques shown in the painting, Nymphes and Satyr, by William- Adolphe Bouguereau 1873. This painting was created in the same time period of modernism as Matisse’ painting, The Dance. Comparing the techniques used by Bouguereau to Matisse, we see key changes in line work, color pallet and the technique of brush stroke. Matisse used broad, thick and bold lines to create differences in space whereas Bouguereau uses chiaroscuro to differentiate between figures’ shadows and surroundings. Noticing almost no hint of lines in Bouguereau’s work creates the illusion of a reality created on a flat surface. Matisse uses a flat surface to create a different environment, instead of hiding the canvas he seems to incorporate it into his work. Thus using thin layers within his thick and opaque layers. Another key difference is the choices in color. Bouguereau creates as realistic renderings as possible to create his

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