All About Matisse

Green Stripe

1905; Oil and tempera on canvas, 15 7/8" x 12 7/8"; Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Copenhagen

Matisse painted this unusual portrait of his wife in 1905. The green stripe down the center of Amelie Matisse's face acts as an artificial shadow line and divides the face in the conventional portraiture style, with a light and a dark side, Matisse divides the face chromatically, with a cool and warm side. The left side of the face seems to echo the green in the picture's right, the corresponding is true for the right side of the face, where the pink responds to the orange on the left. The natural light is translated directly into colors and the highly visible brush strokes add to the sense of artistic drama.

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