Henri Matisse’s “A Glimpse of Notre Dame in the Late Afternoon” is a painting created in 1902 that depicts a view from the window of his studio apartment. The artwork forms part of Matisse’s Dark Period, featuring somber colors typical of the works he executed from late 1901 to the end of 1903.
The painting captures a view of Notre Dame Cathedral from an oblique angle, with the Seine River visible in the foreground. It highlights Matisse’s use of stark contrasts between light and shadow to create depth and atmosphere. The darkened foreground with its reflective waters serves to intensify the luminosity surrounding Notre Dame, which appears ethereal and radiant against a slightly overcast sky.
Matisse returned to this motif repeatedly throughout his career, even creating several versions that differ widely stylistically but retain the same subject matter – a testament to his fascination with this particular scene. As an influential figure in modern art history, Henri Matisse’s contribution to painting remains significant; “A Glimpse of Notre Dame in the Late Afternoon” offers just one example of his mastery at capturing intangible aspects like light and mood through color selection and brushwork.