The Danse, Henri Matisse

1909 - 1910

The monumental The Dance was commissioned by Russian businessman Sergei Shchukin as a decoration for the staircase of his mansion in Moscow. Matisse was particularly fond of this theme, which began appearing in his work from 1906 with Le Bonheur de Vivre. The Dance is inspired by a variety of sources, Greek vases, Poussin’s paintings, and even the sardane danced by Collioure fishermen. The economy of style, formal simplicity and visual impact of the painting are striking: five ochre-red nude figures frolic in arabesques against a background of equally colour-saturated fields of green and blue.The intense energy of the countours and the radical and liberal use of vibrant solid colours convey the frenzied rhythm of the dance. Considered revolutionary at the time for its innovative form, The Dance has become an icon of modern art.

Le Cateau-Cambrésis 31 December 1869 – Nice 3 November 1954.

For more information about the artist, please click here.

Provenance: The Hermitage Museum.