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What are the features of the painting by Henri Matisse “Red fish”

The work of Henri Matisse “Red Fish” impresses with its unusual presentation of the composition. This work has no exact stylistic affiliation and contains signs of several directions at once – impressionism and fauvism. The author achieved the transfer of emotions due to the simplicity of funds, thereby changing the vision of the world.

While other artists transferred the volume, Matisse translated the world into a flat picture.

Painting by Henri Matisse “Red fish” belongs to two directions: impressionism and fauvism

French artist Henri Matisse was an adherent of the Fauves movement, which existed for twenty years. Fauvism is a related direction with impressionism, it leads the image away from the significance of the form and gives an enhanced emphasis to the composition’s emotionality and color. The basis of Fauvism laid the following key points:

  • simplicity and separation from the framework;
  • easy imposing of paints;
  • unusual transitions of light and shadows;
  • flashy-bright colors added to express emotions.

Painting by Matisse “Red fish” – not the most distant from reality, but quite understandable and normal work of the author. In his other works, the artist could very well portray women with green noses for greater expressiveness, explaining that he paints not real women, but a picture.

In the understanding of Matisse, the transmission of emotions through an image is projected through colors, not shapes. Only in this way can a work be truly interesting to the viewer, which was a clear confirmation of the “Red fishes” canvas.

Matisse’s favorite topics were fish and an aquarium. In the language of the painter, this meant detachment and contemplation of absolute inner silence.

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In his canvases, the painter deliberately simplified the compositions, believing that the space around was saturated with food for the eyes, so a person often lacks time, to taste it. Refusing to mix colors, the smallest details, transitions of tonalities, he managed to turn the figures of women and fish almost into signs.

In the period of spring and summer of 1912 in the salons of painters many carp reigned, which was a tribute to fashion. Matisse’s aquarium themes with goldfish were taken from trips around Morocco in 1912-1913.

A painter in this direction has written a series of paintings:

  1. “Arabic coffee shop.” The most significant work of the Moroccan period. The plot of the picture is represented by two people meditating in front of an aquarium with goldfish.
  2. “Zora on the terrace.” No less famous work written in Morocco.
  3. “Goldfish in Sculpture”, 1911
  4. “Red fish in the interior”, 1912
  5. “Interior, aquarium with red fish”, 1914
  6. “Red fish and palette”, 1914−1915

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Aquarium themes continued in 1914-1915, then two works from this series were written. In the 40s, the artist’s health deteriorated significantly, while he turned to the decoupage technique.

The author cut out figures of fish, flowers, algae from gouache-colored paper and made up compositions of large-format canvases.

Because of their fragility, such works were considered among the most valuable in the artist’s works. The latest work by Matisse “Chinese fish” in 1951 is similar.

The canvas “Red fish” is made in bright saturated colors, and the presented composition is devoid of proportions and symmetry. However, the color palette is rather soft in comparison with the riot of fauvism paints, even slightly muted, conveying mood. The central figure is a table drawn in the shape of a circle, which usually indicates a top view.

But the leg of the table drawn on the edge makes it clear that there is a side image in front of the viewer. In addition, the aquarium is displayed in such a way that the fish can be viewed in the reflection of the water surface and on the side, as it would be impossible to see if you look from above.

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Such an illogical approach does not distort the image., on the contrary, the composition looks harmonious and slim. The symbolic element of the picture is a circle.

This form depicts a table, an aquarium, leaves of plants, a leg of a table, a park fence, even fish in an aquarium move in a circular direction, which can be interpreted as a symbol of infinity. Bright colors, color and contrast of a picture nevertheless do not deprive it of realism.

In it there is a special truthfulness, which can only be expressed through the eyes of a child – spontaneity and admiration for fish.

For many years the picture never ceases to amaze the audience with its calm, unreal atmosphere. There is no dramatic plot presented here, but Matisse’s “Red Fishes” rivet the eye.

Later, the author demonstrated a recognizable motive in other works.

Today, the picture belongs to the Museum of Fine Arts. A. With Pushkin, who is in Moscow.

The work got there in 1912 with the help of S. I. Shchukin, a friend of Matisse, who acquired it directly from the author.

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