Henri Matisse The Open Window Analysis

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“The Open Window” is an oil painting by Henri Matisse made in the summer of 1905. It is a perfect example of the new art current which inspired French Art at the beginning of the century known as Fauvism. It represents the view from the window of the hotel’s room in Collioure in which the artist stayed.

It is a small painting with sizes 55.3 x 46 cm, but it contains explosive and bright colors. Matisse has portrayed the scene in an inviting and light-filled way and with a large variety of tones and colors used to paint the boats floating on the calm sea and the sky during the sunset. The use of such unnatural colors and the presence of revolutionary minimalist strokes represent the key features of the “art of the beasts” and provoked agitation within the critics.

The colours of the painting are the main characters
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This helps to create a close up look at the view outside the window suggesting the intimacy between the artist and the habitat outside. This is because the focus is almost wholly given to the view outside the window. The view, which is embellished by the presence of flowers sitting on the windowsill, and creepers climbing on the railing, is located in the center of the composition. Despite the lack of a line of symmetry and any logic or geometric order, Matisse has been able to draw the attention of the viewer’s eye through the use of bright colours, almost fluorescent, which were used to portray the calm sea with its floating blue boats, and the sky tinted with the colours of the sunset. The calm sea at the horizon is painted with unreal tones of pink, sky blue, and violet whereas the boat, painted with tones of indigo, orange and green, seem to move along with the light breeze. “The Open Window” is also a painting in a painting, as the sea and the creepers reflect on the shutters of the window creating different perspectives for the scene

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