Henri Matisse’s The Music Lesson (La Lecon De Musique) is a captivating oil on canvas painting completed in 1917. The artwork depicts two women, seated in a room, with one playing a lute-like instrument while the other listens attentively. The women are surrounded by bright colors and patterns that add to the lively composition of the painting.
The Music Lesson is an exemplary work of post-impressionism genre painting with thoughtful iconography. Matisse’s use of bold colors and intentional brushstrokes creates a sense of movement and harmony between the figures in the painting. It is possible that there is an allegory on art making within the piece, given Matisse’s interest in highlighting artistic processes through his work.
Interestingly, there is also a connection to Picasso and Braque’s cubist grid style within this piece. Matisse utilizes decorative patterns and shapes throughout the background of the painting, creating a similar effect to that of Cubism while still maintaining his signature style.
Currently displayed at The Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia, viewing The Music Lesson allows one to appreciate Matisse’s creativity and innovative use of color and pattern during his time as an artist.