Bathers with a Turtle (1908) by Henri Matisse

Bathers with a Turtle - Henri Matisse - 1908

Artwork Information

TitleBathers with a Turtle
ArtistHenri Matisse
Dimensions179.1 x 220.3 cm
Art MovementExpressionism

About Bathers with a Turtle

The artwork “Bathers with a Turtle” by Henri Matisse was created in 1908, employing the medium of oil on canvas. Its dimensions are 179.1 cm by 220.3 cm. As an expressionist work, it is part of the genre painting category, which depicts scenes of everyday life. The painting is characterized by Matisse’s unique use of bold colors and fluid, expressive lines that were central to the Expressionism movement of the early 20th century.

In “Bathers with a Turtle,” Matisse presents a scene featuring three nude figures interacting in a serene environment. The figures are rendered with a simplicity of form that emphasizes their contours and postures rather than their anatomical accuracy. Their expressions are subdued, contributing to the peaceful and introspective atmosphere of the work. A turtle, situated at the lower left corner of the artwork, draws the attention of one of the bathers, offering a focal point that connects human and animal forms within the composition. The use of color is striking, with a dominant palette of blues and greens, which may symbolize water and nature, complemented by the warm tones of the figures’ skin. The background is divided into horizontal bands of varying blue hues, creating a sense of division between the water and the sky, while the flatness of the application challenges the depth and perspective traditionally found in such naturalistic scenes. Matisse’s “Bathers with a Turtle” is thus a prime example of the expressive possibilities within the genre of painting, providing both a visual delight and a subject open to contemplation.

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