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Subota, 17 Juli 2021 21:13

Greatest Fauve painting The Joy of Life by Henri Matisse Istaknut

During his Fauve years, Henri Matisse often painted landscapes in the south of France during the summer and worked up ideas developed there into larger compositions upon his return to Paris. In 1906, he finished the oil on canvas Le Bonheur de Vivre, or The Joy of Life, his typical important imaginary composition which gives in a concise form the spirit of Fauvism better than his any other Fauve painting. Today, this painting is in the collection of the Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Henri Matisse starting The Joy of Life with a landscape he had painted in Collioure to provide the setting for the idyll. It is also influenced by ideas drawn from Antoine Watteau, Nicolas Poussin, Japanese woodcuts, Persian miniatures, and 19th century Orientalist images of harems. The depicted scene is an expression of pure pleasure. This Arcadian landscape is adorned with brilliantly colored forest, meadow, sea, and sky. It is populated with dancing and relaxing nude human figures clearly formed and sufficient detail, especially emphasized by shading. The figures do not have perfect proportions. In this way, Matisse tried to convey the message of beauty and his belief that the human form is beautiful regardless of skin color or shape, and as a part of life, it can be celebrated and accepted. The trees are on the sides of the painting and distant, and their upper branches spread, emphasizing the naked human figures in the painting. The far area is pure sand, which eventually reaches the sea.

The painting The Joy of Life is characterized by flat painted surfaces, very wavy contours, and the "primitive" charm of the form. As with the earlier Fauve canvases, color is responsive only to emotional expression and the formal needs of the canvas, not the realities of nature. The colors vary a lot, from incredibly bright, even pastel purple, underlined by dark blue lines which emphasize the red background. The various colors of human figures contrast with the colors of the environment and create unusual visual effects. The lines especially emphasize lighter objects, as well as the common thread of the image.

The painting The Joy of Life and its shocking colors received mixed reviews at the Salon des Indépendants. Critics noted its new style - broad fields of color and linear figures, as a clear rejection of Paul Signac's celebrated Pointillism.

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