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 Amélie 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.