“The living model, the naked body of a woman, is the privileged seat of feeling, but also of questioning . . . The model must mark you, awaken in you an emotion which you seek in turn to express” – Henri Matisse
Let me paraphrase Renee Zellweger in Jerry Maguire: “You had me at ‘privileged seat of feeling’!”. (To hell with “hello”) Henri!! Yeah, baby! I love it! “Privileged seat of feeling”? Damn that’s good. This blogging artist’s model wants to go back in time to Matisse’s studio, sit naked on his lap and give him a big, sloppy, wet kiss. Hell, I’ll even bounce up and down a little too to give the old man some extra “appreciation” in his “privileged seat of feeling” 😉 Oops. Naughty Claudia. Sorry.
No disrespect, believe me. I LOVE Matisse, love him. And he loved models. Here’s a great picture of Matisse with one of his models, working at pretty close range:
Lovely figure on that model, and a great pose. Methinks Henri likes what he sees! All kidding aside, Matisse employed the nude human form in much of his art, and regarded it as the very embodiment of nature, beauty – of life itself. It truly was his profound inspiration. Unlike many other artists, Matisse was not prone to using dark themes. He was apolitical. He was not a tormented existentialist. He was a generally happy, well-adjusted, and contented man. And he held the philosophy that art should celebrate beauty and joy, that it should rejoice with exuberance, playfulness, and always uplift the spirit.
Here’s the perfect Matisse to illustrate his attitude. It’s entitled, appropriately, Le Bonheur de Vivre, or “The Joy of Life”, from 1906, and it is just spectacular:
To the critics at the time who dismissed Matisse’s work as “shallow” and “decorative”, I have one message for them: bite me. And to the idiots who burned in effigy Matisse’s Blue Nude at the 1913 Armory Show in Chicago, I have a message as well: bite me again, assholes. (At that same show, they also burned in effigy, Constantin Brancusi’s sculpture The Muse. Can I say “assholes” one more time?)
“It is through the human figure that I best succeed in expressing the nearly religious feeling that I have toward life.” – Henri Matisse
Amen to that, Henri. Amen