Icarus (Icare) (1943-44) by Henri Matisse

Icarus (Icare) - Henri Matisse - 1943 - 1944

Artwork Information

TitleIcarus (Icare)
ArtistHenri Matisse
Date1943 - 1944
Art MovementAbstract Expressionism
Current LocationScottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, UK

About Icarus (Icare)

The artwork titled “Icarus (Icare)” was created by Henri Matisse between 1943 and 1944. It belongs to the art movement of Abstract Expressionism and is categorized as an illustration. This piece is part of the “Jazz Book” series and is housed at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh, UK.

“Icarus (Icare)” by Henri Matisse is an evocative piece characterized by a stark contrast of colors and simplified forms. The artwork prominently features a figure set against a deep blue background, embodying the mythological character, Icarus. The figure is rendered in a pure black silhouette with outstretched limbs, suggesting the act of falling or perhaps an intense, yet tragic, moment of flight. A singular red dot is positioned near the figure’s heart, perhaps signifying the passion of Icarus’s daring or the inevitable wound of his hubris. Surrounding the silhouetted figure are yellow star-like shapes, evoking the feeling of a night sky or the scorching sun that ultimately sealed Icarus’s fate. This use of bright, unmodulated color and the sharp outlines reflects Matisse’s innovative spirit and is characteristic of the vibrant visuals crafted in his later works, especially the cut-outs he is renowned for. The artwork is a powerful interpretation of the timeless Greek myth, executed with the bold simplicity and emotional intensity that Matisse mastered in his advanced years.

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