Saturday, January 19, 2008

Matisse Dancing Out of the Hermitage

In today's Guardian, there's a great article about Matisse's Dance and its approaching arrival in London. I've already blogged about my incredible experience in the Hermitage and seeing this Matisse piece was such a huge part of it. Jones writes that the light filtering into the gallery on the winter day was cold and sombre. For me, on the late June day during White Nights in St. Petersburg, the light was cool on what became a hot morning and crystal clear. I really noticed the light in the gallery because I was the only person in it (apart from the guard who took the above photograph). Today's article brought the whole morning rushing back to me - one of the most incredible experiences of my life.

Jones's description of seeing the painting for the first time is great: "I saw Dance in St Petersburg four years ago, and it stayed in my imagination as a memory of pure colour, like an afterglow on a closed eyelid. It is a big, indeed massive canvas - nearly four metres wide and two and a half metres tall - in only three colours: blue, green and red. A full-scale 1909 oil sketch for the finished work survives in the Museum Of Modern Art, New York: here, the dancers are pink, the volcano of energy does not erupt. In the final, St Petersburg version, first exhibited in Paris in 1910, all is changed. Matisse is one of the greatest liberators of colour in the history of art."

No comments: