Woman in a Mantilla (1922 – 1923) by Henri Matisse

Woman in a Mantilla - Henri Matisse - 1922 - 1923

Artwork Information

TitleWoman in a Mantilla
ArtistHenri Matisse
Date1922 - 1923
Dimensions50.5 x 40.5 cm
Art MovementImpressionism

About Woman in a Mantilla

The artwork “Woman in a Mantilla” was created by the renowned artist Henri Matisse between 1922 and 1923. As part of the Impressionism movement, the portrait measures 50.5 by 40.5 centimeters and captures the essence of its subject with an expressive yet delicate touch that is characteristic of Matisse’s style.

The artwork portrays a woman adorned with a mantilla, which is a traditional Spanish lace or silk veil worn over the head and shoulders, often over a high comb called a peineta. The woman’s gaze is gently directed towards the viewer, conveying a quiet intensity and contemplative poise. Matisse employs fluid, sketch-like lines to shape the woman’s features, her mantle, and her attire, giving prominence to the patterns and textures of her garb with a rhythmic repetition of forms. The lace details in the mantilla are elegantly suggested with sweeping, circular strokes, adding to the feminine and graceful portrayal of the sitter. Her facial expression is captured with minimal lines yet manages to evoke a sense of individual personality.

The necklace gracing her neck lends a touch of refinement, while the contours of her body are lightly delineated, hinting at the shape beneath the mantilla without overwhelming the viewer with detail. Matisse’s skillful use of line in the artwork postulates a balance between abstraction and representation, which imbues the piece with a timeless beauty congruent with the Impressionist movement’s exploration of light and visual perception.

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