Music (Sketch) (1907) by Henri Matisse

Music (Sketch) - Henri Matisse - 1907

Artwork Information

TitleMusic (Sketch)
ArtistHenri Matisse
Dimensions73.4 x 60.8 cm
Art MovementExpressionism
Current LocationMuseum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York City, NY, US

About Music (Sketch)

The artwork entitled “Music (Sketch)” was created by Henri Matisse in 1907, during the period recognized as Expressionism. Measuring 73.4 x 60.8 cm, this sketch and study genre piece is currently housed in the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) located in New York City, NY, US.

“Music (Sketch)” by Henri Matisse is an expressive composition that embodies the characteristics of the Expressionist movement, where the artist conveys emotion and meaning through non-representational forms and bold execution. In the artwork, the viewer is presented with a scene comprised of several human figures situated in what appears to be a natural setting. One nude figure stands in the foreground, gripping a violin and bow, seemingly immersed in the act of playing the instrument. The stance of this individual, along with the focus and intensity depicted, evokes a sense of concentration and the immersive experience of making music.

Behind this musician is a duo of wrapped figures in an embrace, with their forms merging into one another, symbolizing connection or intimacy. These figures contrast with the foreground, as their interconnected shapes suggest a unity that differs from the solitary performance of the violinist. Adjacent to these embracing figures is another secluded nude figure, seated and curled up on the ground. The posture of this figure imparts a sense of introspection or contemplation, contributing to the overall theme of music and its profound effect on individuals and their emotions.

The backdrop is painted with broad strokes of color, providing a textural quality that compliments the central subjects. The color palette of greens and blues, along with the sparse sketching style, form a raw and dynamic setting, emphasizing the emotional intensity and the expressive force that Matisse sought to capture in his composition. The overall effect of the artwork is one that is evocative and resonant, engaging the viewer with its portrayal of music as a powerful and deeply human art form.

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