Nasturtiums with “The Dance” (II) (1912) by Henri Matisse

Nasturtiums with

Artwork Information

TitleNasturtiums with "The Dance" (II)
ArtistHenri Matisse
Dimensions109.5 x 114 cm
Art MovementExpressionism
Current LocationPushkin Museum, Moscow, Russia

About Nasturtiums with "The Dance" (II)

“Nasturtiums with ‘The Dance’ (II)” is an artwork by Henri Matisse, dated to 1912. Skillfully crafted using oil on canvas, this piece is an exemplar of the Expressionist movement. The canvas measures 109.5 cm by 114 cm. This particular painting is noted for its interior genre and is housed at the Pushkin Museum in Moscow, Russia.

The artwork presents a vibrant interplay of colors and forms, characteristic of Matisse’s style. There’s a palpable sense of movement within the scene, underscored by the depiction of dancers which are rendered in a simplified manner. The background is dominated by a bold, royal blue which sets off the orange and green of the titular nasturtiums positioned on a central red table. The clash of colors are typical of Expressionism, intending to evoke an emotional response rather than faithfully represent reality.

Foregrounding the composition are nasturtium plants, their round, green leaves and bright blooms spilling across the canvas. Though the subject matter seems domestic — a simple still life with the dancers providing a backdrop — Matisse’s treatment elevates the scene. The lines are deliberately imprecise, the brushwork visible, and the lack of traditional perspective defies conventional representation. The flatness of the composition and the decorative quality of the shapes suggest a departure from the three-dimensional illusion typical of earlier European art, pointing instead towards modern abstraction.

The artwork is a study in contrast and harmony, injecting dynamic tension through its color choices and composition while managing to retain a sense of balance within the chaos. Matisse’s use of color as the principal conveyor of expression is evident and potent, making “Nasturtiums with ‘The Dance’ (II)” a striking and influential piece in the canon of modern art.

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