Draped Nude Henri Matisse Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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An exhibition in Tate, Liverpool, showcases the four pieces by Henri Matisse. The Draped Nude is the second in this series yet one of the best pieces in Matisse's collection. This painting was done in 1936 during the spring season, where Matisse tries to portray the Harlem girl theme, which was the image's central theme.

Considering the fact that Matisse was a leader in Fauvism, a French movement, he always chose to use color as a way of expressing emotions and decorating his paintings. He compares his work with an armchair claiming it brought a soothing and calming influence on the viewer's mind.

The painting is done with oil paint on a canvas, where Matisse uses simple brushstrokes to bring out the structures in the image. He also uses flat colors, which makes the painting calm and sensual. An exotic plant is seen behind the naked lady in the painting and is used to support the sexual feel brought out by the nudity approach. The woman's flowing gown is also used to show her body's femininity and sensuality.

Matisse's inspiration for the Draped Nude was from different countries as he was a globetrotter. His trips to Germany, Italy, Spain, and Africa inspired the use of deep colors and minimal detail with solid outlines. In the Draped Nude, a viewer is able to see how Matisse placed the woman strategically to create angles that create a movement that is controlling to the eye. The female subject in this particular painting fills the whole painting as the arms manage to bring out the shape of the canvas. After interacting with Paul Cezanne, Matisse started believing that color was the key element in the painting world. This paint gained him popularity as it displayed mastery through the use of color.

The Draped Nude displays Matisse's audacity to play around with color and bring out sensuality in art. He got inspiration from the odalisque colonial origin by Achille, who was a master at emphasizing sensuality through his subjects. Achille was also a source of inspiration for the exotic trappings style that involved placing certain items next to the subject to support the idea of sensuality. In this case, the plant was the 'exotic object.'  Although various art analysts have brought out the aspect of Matisse's white male fantasies of a woman's sexuality, he was able to leave the topic of female sexuality open for his viewers to exploit and describe as they wish.