Sunday, 9 May 2010

The Boss of Colour

I was just watching Modern Masters on BBC1, presented by Alistair Sooke. Tonight's episode was about the painter Henri Matisse. It told the story of his life and work, and the influence that his paintings have had on other artists, fashion and interior designers. I found it an incredibly moving programme. Matisse had so much humility, so much humanity. He strived throughout his life for artistic expression, and produced work right up until his death in his eighties. The beautiful cut-outs, like the one above that he is so famous for, were produced from his sickbed using a pair of shears.

His very last 'work', though, was not a painting. It was a chapel, designed fully by Matisse, with murals painted by him. The chapel was near Matisse's home, in Vence, and is called La Chapelle du Rosaire de Vence. When Alistair Sooke, the narrator of the programme, went into the chapel, he was visibly moved. And I have to say, I felt the same. The light and serenity and peace of the place was astonishing, even seeing it on a TV screen. The photo below does not begin to do it justice; I would love to visit it some day.

If you get a chance, and you're UK based, you can watch the programme, Modern Masters, on iplayer. It's well worth a look. As the designer, Paul Smith, put it, Matisse really was the 'Boss of Colour'.


Anna-Marie said...

Thanks for the tip Claire, I will definitely take a look at that. The novel that I am (mostly not) writing has a working title borrowed from a Matisse painting that really struck me when I saw it in the Guggenheim Museum in New York, Nude in Sunlit Landscape. It is really small and most people passed it by, but I was struck by the diversity of comments made by the people who stopped to look at it, a real range of feelings inspired by such a simplistic little painting. -

claires inner world said...

Hi Anna-Marie. I had a look at the link to your blog. I think you would really enjoy the Matisse programme, particularly if you are looking to incorporate something of him into your novel. His life was fascinating. I found it very heartening that he really didn't start to produce art of real originality until he was well into his thirties, and some of his most innovative and creative work was done in his sixties and seventies. There's still time!!

Anna-Marie said...

whoo hoo! I KNEW I hadn't peaked yet!