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Influences on Matisse's "Red Studio"

It is possible to detect traces of several different styles of art from various periods in Henri Matisse's 1911 painting Red Studio (oil on canvas, 71 1/4" x 86 1/4"). In some cases these traces are the sign of direct influence. An example of this is the influence of artists, such as the nineteenth century painter and printmaker Mary Cassatt, who first integrated ideas from Japanese art into the Western tradition. A second example of an immediate influence is the use of intense, unusual colors as a means of emotional expression found in the work of Vincent van Gogh and other Post-Impressionist painters. Other relationships between Red Studio and earlier art seem to be purely coincidental. The simple lines of many of the objects in Matisse's painting, for example, bear similarities to Greek red-figure vase painting from the early classical era. But there are also cases where Matisse may be said to respond to the Western tradition. One example of this would be his use of one-point perspective which resembles the attempts of early Renaissance painters in Italy but also deliberately plays with the convention, distorting it in order to achieve a different effect from that desired by its inventors. Matisse's painting, therefore, reflects the cumulative effect--both deliberate and incidental--of many centuries of Western art.

The relationship between Matisse's painting and Greek vase painting is not strong. But there is a similarity in the way the red figures were simply outlined against the black backgrounds and the resulting monochromatic shape was finished by the addition of the details drawn in plain lines on that ground. Matisse's 'ground' is not really monochromatic, since the red varies in intensity and in application from one part of the room to another. But, taken as a whole, the floor and walls are one color and many objects such as the table, the bureau, the stool-pedestals, and the chair are not developed with colo...

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Influences on Matisse's "Red Studio". (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 12:32, March 31, 2020, from