Henri Matisse

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Henri Matisse

The fame encompassing Henri Matisse has its basis on the inventiveness that he applied in his paintings, particularly his use of color. Matisse is considerably the 20th century’s best colorist. From a personal perspective, Matisse’s predisposition towards color had their influence being the pursuit of decoration. Despite being born at a time when Impressionism was still rife in the art scene, the artist used the preferred medium as a way of expressing beauty in expressive and monumental paintings as evidenced in most Fauve illustrations. In fact, Matisse posited that his creation of art had its foundation on the need to create a consoling and soothing effect on the viewer’s mind. The decorative aspect of his work influenced critics to perceive him as an artist dedicated towards the depiction of satisfaction and pleasure. Consequently, Matisse’s incorporation of color attempted to achieve the development of atmosphere in his compositions. He often utilized contrasting regions of unadulterated colors rather than conventional dimensions such as structure and volume. The application of unmodulated colors, as well as the white part of bare canvasses, allowed the painter to establish a glaring setting for his paintings, especially in forms such as nude and still life compositions. Matisse’s passions for art were not solely inclined to paintings. His work also covered sculptures and architectural creations. In fact, the Chapel of Rosary in Vence is an excellent example of the expertise he possessed in the latter field. The artist’s design of the building was testament to the admiration that he felt for his caregiver, Monique Bourgeois. In the 1940s, Matisse became ill due to cancer and experienced surgery, which further compromised his life and capacity to work. As such, he had to take time off to recuperate for nearly a year in France, specifically in Nice. During his recovery, he encountered a woman (Bourgeois) who aside from expressing interest in his compositions, offered quality care to him. Consequently, Bourgeois’ attendance and interest in the artist’s work mainly influenced the design and creation of the Chapel. To develop the building, Matisse designed every aspect of it, from the decoration to its exterior. An interesting aspect of his blueprint involved his viewpoints regarding aspects such as space and light. Matisse’s use of pure white color in the chapel’s internal space had its foundation on the idea that the respective dimensions represented man’s mystical disposition and spiritual facet. Other designs such as the use of stained glass and the iconic representation of the Virgin, St. Dominic, and the Way of the Cross demonstrated the connection between the inherent religious setting and the external world. Another interesting aspect regarding Henri Matisse was the artist’s employment of color in the Rosary Chapel. Unlike his paintings, people regarded buildings such as churches as religious creations. As such, a person needed to follow certain conventions if he or she embarked on designing and establishing a place of worship. Matisse was not a person that adhered to social traditions. In fact, his use of color was a point of contention at one point due to the way he applied it in contrast to other artists. In this respect, one would have expected that the Chapel would at least abide by traditional rules. However, Matisse used his expertise and view of art to create a design that appealed to people based on color alone. A good illustration of this approach is the incorporation of colored motifs in the building’s interior area. The integration of a formless white surface juxtaposed against numerous stained glass windows generates a range of various colors that are easily perceptible by an outsider. Furthermore, the correlation between these aspects establishes colorful reflections on the Chapel’s white space. Such examples position Matisse as a painter that strived to apply color as an essential medium in both art and architecture.

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