Thursday, August 07, 2008

5 masterpieces - #4 matisse, again, again

those luxurious two hours before opening that i had at the hermitage had a big impact on my memory. the amber room, the malachite room (these are rooms where EVERYTHING is made of amber or malachite and i mean everything--wall coverings included), a most ostentatious horse-drawn carriage used by catherine the great, ornate chairs here and there in every room--one did get a sense of why the russians needed a revolution. 

but best of all, for me, was the 20th century art collection. an entire room full of monet, one with gaugin, and the best one of all--matisse. i stepped into the room and it took my breath away.  debi commented that an ansel adams polaroid did that for her--sort of teaching you what they mean by that phrase. each painting was more wonderful than the next. i moved slowly from one to the next, taking in the colors and the vibrancy and the simplicity in the midst of complexity that is matisse. 

red room (harmony in red) (1908)
henri matisse

i restrained from touching any of them and in fact, i never even had the urge. as we know, i'd gotten that out of my system with goldfish at the pushkin a few years before. but although i didn't touch them, they touched me and as i drank them in, my eyes filled with emotional tears. it was nearly too much, being there with all of that vibrant, alive beauty in one place. 

afterwards, i read about the painting above. what i love about it, aside from the feeling of a place it gives you looking at it, is that it was originally green. his russian benefactor sergei shchukin had commissioned the painting and he decided that he wanted it to be predominantly red, rather than green. you can see a little bit of the original green along the bottom. that was such an eye-opener for me--that you could just paint over a canvas, for one thing, and the entire notion of what an artist would do to please a customer. fascinating.

for me, the painting has the feel and the atmosphere that i would like to create in my writing house when it's done, so i'm pondering ways of making that happen--with rich colors and fabrics. art is just so inspiring!

1 comment:

tangobaby said...

You have really inspired me to think about the wonderful art that I've been so lucky to see first-hand in my life.

I have to admit that I've never given much thought to Matisse but this image makes me want to see more of his work (in addition to the goldfish). It would be wonderful if you had a Matisse-inspired home...what a great way to design your living space! Go for it!