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modernism, spring2002
Henri Matisse

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Harmony in Red.,1908

Red is a color of emotions, and it usually depicts and expresses strong ones such as anger, passion, and aggression. From this painting, however, I cannot feel anything brutal; instead, the scarlet background is creating a warm and inviting mood to voyeurs. It shows the comfort of inside, and along with the Islamic arabesques climbing around the wall and a table, it gives a feeling that the world is in harmony, and an illusion that it is complete. The inside of the room is also the inside of the artist (the room looks like a heart in that sense!), which is full of vibrant liveliness.

Red also deepens the blues of flowers and arabesques, which wind around pieces of fruits, the table, and to the wall. It also makes the green of outside vivid and lively, but at the same time, that makes the inside even closer to me. The contrast of red and yellow is marvelous, and it creates the depth in the paintings, and organizes the space. Colors also make me realize the repetitive movement in the painting: arabesques and stems of flowers.

Matisse says, My purpose is to render emotion., and also the objects around him creates his state of mind by interaction. On the table of this painting, a woman is placing fruits, flowers, and drinks, whose colors are so inviting. Apples or peaches near the base are as plum as breasts of women, and so sensual. Matisses existence is there as if I can almost see him sitting on the chair.

matisse2.jpg

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