Leda and the Swan (1945) by Henri Matisse

Leda and the Swan - Henri Matisse - 1945

Artwork Information

TitleLeda and the Swan
ArtistHenri Matisse
Art MovementExpressionism

About Leda and the Swan

The artwork “Leda and the Swan” was created by Henri Matisse in 1945 and is an exemplar of the Expressionism movement. As a mythological painting, it interprets the ancient tale through Matisse’s distinct artistic lens, showcasing his ability to convey emotional experience over physical reality.

In this artwork, Matisse employs a bold and simplified colour palette to capture the essence of the mythological narrative. The main panel features dominant yellow and black tones with a striking blue swan figure arching overhead. The human form, presumably Leda, is rendered with minimal detail, emphasizing form and colour over realistic representation. Red panels with abstract wavy patterns flank this central scene, suggesting movement and perhaps the emotional turmoil inherent in the story. This piece is characteristic of Matisse’s later work, where he pursued greater abstraction and expressive content in his compositions.

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