Zorah on the Terrace (1912) by Henri Matisse

Zorah on the Terrace - Henri Matisse - 1912

Artwork Information

TitleZorah on the Terrace
ArtistHenri Matisse
Dimensions56 x 48 cm
Art MovementExpressionism,Orientalism

About Zorah on the Terrace

The artwork “Zorah on the Terrace” by Henri Matisse, created in 1912, is an oil on canvas painting that measures 56 by 48 centimeters. It is a portrait that exemplifies the Expressionist and Orientalist movements in art. Matisse’s composition showcases his unique perspective and vivid color palette, reflecting his interest in non-Western cultures and the influence of foreign aesthetics on his style.

In the artwork, the figure of a woman is centered and seated on what appears to be a terraced space, indicated by the sharp diagonal line in the background, likely representing the division between the terrace and a wall or railing. The woman, known as Zorah, is adorned in an elaborately patterned robe with geometric shapes and decorous motifs in shades of green, blue, yellow, and white. Her posture is relaxed and informal; she sits cross-legged with a sense of ease and comfort.

Around the woman is a simple depiction of the terrace setting. To her left side, a pair of slipper-like shoes with matching patterns to her attire are casually placed, emphasizing the intimate and private nature of the scene. On the right, a small table carries a goblet filled with a liquid that captures the light, adding a reflective quality to the piece. The background features a large expanse of blue, subtly shifting in tone to suggest the open sky or perhaps a body of water distant from the terrace, enhancing the sense of a tranquil and secluded environment.

Matisse’s approach to form and color is characteristic of his style during this period, where the subject matter is treated with a degree of abstraction and simplification. Lines are not used to meticulously define objects; rather, shapes and the juxtaposition of colors help to delineate the space and the forms within it. The overall composition, with its flattened perspective and decorative elements, also reveals the influence of Orientalism, a trend of the time where Western artists romanticized and sought inspiration from the East.

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