Henri Matisse: “The Window”, France 1916

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11 March 2016

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Matisse is considered one of the most influential painters of the 20th century, and one of the leading Modernists. Known for his use of vibrant colors and simple forms, Matisse helped to usher in a new approach to art. He believed that the artist must be guided by instinct and intuition. Although he began his craft later in life than most artists, Matisse continued to create and innovate well into his eighties.

The Window, 1916, is a very pretty piece of work. Henri Matisse uses jagged, thick, curved, heavy, graceful, vertical, diagonal, and straight lines to portray this painting. With the perfect use of these lines, Henri Matisse created many shapes to piece this amazing painting together: circles, squares, curved, soft-edged, and hard-edged shapes. As a result of his lines and shapes, he gives the painting a smooth, soft, and dull texture which is a very nice combination in this painting. The painting contains a bit of asymmetry, which is when each side of the painting is a little different but looks relatively the same. At first sight of the painting your eye will focus on the focal point, which is a reddish orange table in the middle of the picture. In the painting, apart from the table, you can see a room with a blue and black chair, a rug, and a window. Through the window you can see the green of a garden and a black tree trunk, there is also a basket of forget-me-nots on the table. This gives the painting a very shallow space feeling, which is when you cannot see very far past the main object. On this painting the table with flowers, the chair, and the rug which they are sitting on have the most detail and, in my opinion, it looks very lonely. The artist uses a mix of dark blue shading and beams of light coming through the window to express emotion.

The name of this piece of art “The Window” does not, but at the same time does, in my opinion, represent its true meaning for two reasons. First, when I think of a window I think of happiness and breezes, but the painting looks lonely. Second, the reason which makes me believe the name actually does represent the meaning of the painting, the painting looks inviting at first because of the bright light from the window that makes soothing colors on the ground. With these two opposite feelings, the meaning of the name compared to the painting is very confusing.

I was drawn to this painting because of the bright light coming through the window, which gave it a unique look from all of the other paintings around it. This painting will stand out in a crowd, because of its interesting look of a mix of dark and light colors. Even though the painting is, at first sight, bright and cheery, when you look at it for a while and interpret the meaning it has a lonely look but is still very satisfying to view. Matisse’s desire to reproduce the world accurately in a harmonious two-dimensional painting is shown perfectly in his painting The Window. The window is truly a one of a kind piece of art work that will be admired for many years. Matisse had made this painting very open to interpretation. The Window is an excellent example of emotionalism and I like this piece of art work and would recommend it to many people.

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StudyScroll. (2016). Henri Matisse: “The Window”, France 1916. [Online]. Available at: https://studyscroll.com/henri-matisse-the-window-france-1916-essay [Accessed: 31-Jan-2023]

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