Sunday, November 10, 2013

Matisse's Mistake

Who says mistakes are always bad? Tell that to Henri Matisse who accidentally knocked over the statue he had been working on for weeks. It, of course, broke and crumbled [OMG!].

Well you can imagine his shock and frustration. His wife took him, mid-cringe, for a walk. The best thing you can do, if you can, amidst a bad situation is step back. The solution will often be waiting for you when you come back with new eyes.

Matisse came back to his studio refreshed from the walk and saw the ruins of his sculpture in a different way. He was inspired to paint a nude, but in an unconventional way, using interesting lines and colors. This would be the controversial and buzzworthy Blue Nude [Memory of Biskra 1907].

Blue Nude [Memory of Biskra 1907]
this image is in the public domain
Blue Nude, you may or may not know electrified the art world, inspiring other artists, including Picasso, who actually was green with envy at the sight of it. But don’t worry, he got over it.

Many don’t realize that Matisse was primarily a sculptor. He was inspired to paint after this frustrating mistake. [He did remake the sculpture as Reclining Nude I(Aurora).]

Matisse did what all artists do, took a common art subject; in his case, the nude; and added his touches to it. His use of color and line [which were very progressive for his time] made an ordinary nude, a revolutionary piece of art.

Artists are good at reinventing themselves. They have experience making mistakes. They also have the experience to see that what some people see as an “accident” or a misstep can become a masterpiece when framed the right way.

c. 2013

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