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Henri Matisse - portrait of his son with piano
Journalist and art critic Alistair Sooke looks at the darker implications of Matisse's portrait of his son. Henri Matisse (1869-1954) painted this dark and brooding portrait of his son Pierre practising the piano. The work is sombre and uses the imagery of the wedge shape repeatedly, from the metronome in the foreground to the view outside and the grey shadow across his son's face. Painted in 1916, it is seen as a metaphor for the coming brutalities of the First World War. Published as part of the Modern Masters website: bbc.co.uk/bbcone/modernmasters/. Please note this clip is only available in Flash.
An investigation of the symbolism of war, the metaphorical use of colour and an example of the psychology of portraiture. Suitable for 14–18 year old students. Useful introduction to the early work of Matisse. Could be used to introduce a portraiture project. Demonstrates Matisse's developing style of decorative abstraction.
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