|Inspired by my visit to the Matisse exhibition|
I have tried my own cut-out of a still life
Matisse devoted the last 17 years of his life to cutting shapes from painted paper and, in spite of health problems impairing his mobility, he was able to produce an enormous amount of work with the help of an assistant. Prior to this visit to Tate Modern my knowledge of Matisse's art was somewhat sketchy. I had thought of him as the artist who produced the Blue Nudes but this exhibition has greatly expanded my awareness of his work.
|Outside Tate Modern|
I was also unprepared for the vast size of some of his work. They occupy entire walls and it takes some time to travel past and absorb the intricate shapes and colours: having done that you need to turn around and walk back to take in more details. They appear to be too large for a domestic setting but some of these designs were commissioned for exactly that purpose.
This exhibition is a riot, and celebration, of colour and shape. This is encapsulated in Room 7 – Vence, The Chapel. If I re-visit this exhibition this room will be the one I return to. I gather Matisse regarded himself as an atheist but that didn't stop him from advising on the design for one stained glass window for the Dominican Chapel of the Rosary in Vence when he was 77 years old. Soon enough he took on the decorative design for the entire chapel, from the windows to the chasuble robes worn by the priests. He ended up turning his studio – and later his bedroom – into a replica chapel so he was immersed in it all the time. Having revised the design for the window a few times Matisse declared he was hugely satisfied with the end result which is both wildly exuberant and spare at the same time. Vence is now on my wish list when we next make a visit to France so I can see the chapel for myself.
Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs, Tate Modern until 7 September 2014.