ART/ARCHITECTURE Henri Matisse – Free Ebook

aromatisse is an artist who can help us handle suffering and become more optimistic but to understand him best we need to think about the role of happy art the cultural early get nervous about cheerful or sweetheart they worry that pretty pieces of work are in denial about how bad the state of the world is and how much suffering there is in every life look at this picture of sailing boats shooting about in the Mediterranean beyond the palm trees with a chin see lovely woman sitting on the sofa has the artist forgotten that the world is filled with inequality corruption and war the fear is that we might get so absorbed in having a nice time that we’ll forget about the bad things and won’t trouble ourselves to do anything about them however these worries are generally misplaced far from taking to rosy and sentimental of view of things in general we tend to suffer from excessive gloom our problem is actually that we feel debilitating the small and weak in the face of our troubles it’s because we feel overwhelmed and helpless that we record into ourselves cheerfulness is an achievement and hope is something to be celebrated optimism is important because many outcomes are determined by how much of it we bring to the task it’s an important ingredient to success this flies in the face of an elite view that skill is the primary requirement to a good life yet in many cases the difference between success and failure is determined by nothing more than one sense of what is possible we stand in need of tools that can help preserve our more hopeful dispositions and art can help us one of the primary things that I can do for us is bolster our spirits and help us see the good in life so that we can face its challenges and bear its disappointment with greater resilience determination and hope the dancers and Matisse’s dance are not in denial of the troubles of this planet the picture should not be taken as a suggestion that all as well and that women are always taken delight in each other’s existence but from within a normal and that is a conflicted and imperfect relationship with reality one can look at the women as an encouragement they put one in for the blithe carefree part of oneself which can help on coping with the inevitable rejections at humiliations matisse new huge amount about suffering a glance at one of his self-portraits shows us as much his ability to harbor such complexity should build our confidence in the attitude of his pleasing hopeful charming work while Matisse knew all about tragedy his acquaintance with it made him all the more alive to its opposites he was born in 1869 into a relatively prosperous family he wasn’t supposed to be an artist his father was a grain and hardware merchant and was keen that his son should have a lucrative safe and respectable career as a lawyer in his early 20s Matisse became desperate to leave the law office but his father was opposed eventually his father relented and allowed Matisse to study art but only if he kept the most conservative and traditional styles the message from his father was keep painting like this and I’ll keep paying your allowance in order to develop as a painter of bright joyful and sensuous paintings Matisse had to face down his father embrace poverty and be reviled by his teachers and mentors in the years before the outbreak of the first world war Matisse began to build up a successful career he was selling a few paintings and getting well-known and adventurous and artistic circles just as he seemed to be making it the whole world started to fall apart yet in a year of the battle of the somme Matisse painted the window it’s not that Matisse don’t care about the trenches the day’s journey from Paris but that their looming presence intensified his sense of the loveliness of a glimpse of a tree through the gap and curtains or his delight in the pattern on the floorboards or the sense of the freshness and charm of a bowl of flowers and a simple but unpretentious apartment in the city it’s as if he is reminding himself and us that these things still exist they haven’t been destroyed it’s not the work of somebody who’s indifferent it is created in recognition of how easily we could be paralyzed by despair and a hint of light green leaves through the window might speak kindly to us even today when we’re overburdened by the sense of how much weight life has later there were more private traumas Matisse was diagnosed with test lung cancer he was involved in a protracted and highly painful legal dispute with his estranged wife and still his cheerful fellows didn’t waver in 1942 when Paris had fallen and the German 6th army was advancing through Russia towards the southern oil fields Matisse painted a number of paintings of dancers with fabulous legs reclining on big soft armchairs the most poignant of his cheerful hopeful works were created right at the end of his life in around 1950 when he was in his 80s he had been an invalid for years mostly bedridden but occasionally able to get around in his wheelchair he knew he was facing death the deep blue and yellow and the simple pattern of the stained glass windows seemed to glow with delight and existence but Matisse wasn’t expressing a cheerfulness he had recently experienced the vulnerable suffering great artist was attempting to ward off his own fears of gloom and despondency and he was reminding us through his genius that there is nothing as serious as knowing how to hope you

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