Defense of a work I didn’t like in the Pompidou.

By first impression this Matisse gave me the creeps. It was chilling and unnatural. Knowing that Matisse is also an artist that aims to make works that people would like to live with (he believes in the aesthetics of art being akin to a comfy chair) I was put off by this interpretation. However I looked and listened closer and found there was greater depth to be found. While the violinist in la violiniste a la fenetre gives off a lonely impression and has cold tones and downward curving lines, there is reason to the sadness. This painting was done during WWI when Matisse was using predominately grey, black and subdued colors. This reflects the feelings of the time. the "creepy" head of the violinist is a mirror of another painting of a painter actually. This almost transparent head could contain anything you put on it. It is like it is open to become anyone's portrait. The Violin is interesting because Matisse was interested in music, but his son actually played the violin. So it is possibly drawing likeness between him (the painter) and his son.  This painting shows the struggle of being alive at the time while trying to form an idea of identity. In this context the sad figure and blank head become beautiful in a new way. When you look at it you can imagine how it might feel to be an artist at that time.

Nadia ChilmonikComment