La Musique (1910) by Henri Matisse

La Musique - Henri Matisse - 1910

Artwork Information

TitleLa Musique
ArtistHenri Matisse
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions260 x 389 cm
Art MovementExpressionism
Current LocationHermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg, Russia

About La Musique

The artwork “La Musique” by Henri Matisse, completed in 1910, is an oil on canvas and an exemplary piece of the Expressionism movement. The genre painting, measuring 260 x 389 cm, is held within the collection of the Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia. As an expressionist piece, it delves into the emotional and psychological experience of music, conveyed through Matisse’s distinctive use of color and form.

Depicted in “La Musique” are two central figures seated amidst a group, with a violinist and a flutist actively engaged in producing music, and three additional figures who appear to be listening. The composition commands attention through its use of vivid, unmodulated color; the figures are rendered in a flat, yet bold red-orange tone against a striking blue background. Matisse employs minimal detail and instead focuses on the interplay of color and the simplified forms to capture the essence of the musical experience. The scene is devoid of a detailed environment, encapsulating the figures in an abstract space that emphasizes the metaphysical rather than the literal. The painting’s size is imposing, suggesting that the experience of the music is larger than life, and the flattened perspective is characteristic of Matisse’s departure from realism, aligning with the Expressionist focus on emotional expression over physical accuracy.

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