Henri Matisse

Henri Matisse was born in 1869, and was a French artist who practiced in drawing, printing, sculpting and most notably painting. Matisse is famous for his use of colour, and original style. Along with Picasso, Matisse was one of the most important artist who helped shape and develop the twentieth century art world. Matisse gained notoriety in the Parisian art world in the early 1900s’s with his use of expressive colour, which paved the way for the fauvism movement, which celebrated painterly qualities and strong colour over the realistic values seen in Impressionism.

Blue Nude II, Henri Matisse, 1952, Gouache-painted paper cut-outs
stuck to paper mounted on canvas, 116.2 cm × 88.9 cm (45.7 in × 35 in)

For the purpose of this blog post I will look at the later stages of Matisse’s art career, when due to ill health Matisse’s work began to shift to more accessible ways of creating and he started work on paper cut outs, mounted on canvas. One of his most famous collections is his work on “Blue Nudes”.

Returning back to some previous work I undertook for “Depicting your environment“, I reviewed some photographs taken of myself in various different positions, and wanted to try and explore how this could be translated into my own “Blue Nude”. Looking at the selection I settled on the quite simple position of me laying flat on the ground with hands down by my side. I traced the outline of the image and then worked the traced image back onto the cartridge paper, which I then cut out using a fine Stanley knife.

I decided to use the same vivid Royal Blue, akin to Matisse’s “Blue Nude”. Above you can see the paper stencils (both positive and negative), as well as the mono prints of both. I particularly like the mono print of the body (bottom right), I clearly haven’t pressed upon the edges of the stencil hard enough in order to leave a clear print, but I like the way the silhouette has sort of faded, it’s given it a somewhat ghostly quality. At the opposite end to this, as I have failed to really press the paper close to the edge the negative body silhouette looks a lot larger and less defined as the original (bottom left). In contrast to this I do particularly like the very bold and clear lines of the stencil which has picked up the blue pigment, it is more alike to the works of Matisse in the bold and clear lines (top right).

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