Head of a Young Girl (1917) by Henri Matisse

Head of a Young Girl - Henri Matisse - 1917

Artwork Information

TitleHead of a Young Girl
ArtistHenri Matisse

About Head of a Young Girl

The artwork “Head of a Young Girl” is a portrait created by the renowned artist Henri Matisse in the year 1917. The genre of the artwork is indeed portraiture, showcasing Matisse’s unique style and use of color.

The artwork presents the visage of a young girl portrayed almost frontally with a neutral expression. The brushwork seems loose and free, displaying Matisse’s skill in using paint to capture both form and emotion with simplicity. A distinctive feature in this representation is the unconventional use of color, such as the juxtaposition of pale skin tones with vivid reds for the lips and the detailing in the eyes, which are rendered with a penetrating gaze.

A large, decorative leaf adorns the girl’s hair, introducing a shade of green that contrasts with the muted pink and light brown backdrop, while simultaneously harmonizing with the subject’s dark hair and blue collared outfit. The attire is sketched briskly, with indications of pattern or embellishment, lending an impressionistic feel to the depiction.

Matisse’s expertise is evident in his ability to convey the essence of his subject with minimal yet evocative strokes, making the portrait not only a reflection of the young girl’s appearance but also an illustration of the artist’s modern approach to the traditional genre of portraiture. This piece is emblematic of the period in which it was created, reflecting the transitions in art towards a less realistic and more abstracted portrayal of subjects.

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