2/13/13: A New Way for Artists to Eat
La Danse, Henry Matisse
This piece offers much in terms of its significance to the art world, not just in terms of technique but also in the ramifications the work itself (along with its partner “Music”) entailed to poor artists. Matisse’s style was dedicated to creating works of art that had a larger emotional response than other works of art, so naturally naked red dancing people would have been a bit of a shock to more conservative echelons of society. The composition creates a strong emphasis on the dancers not only by giving them vibrant colors, but also through the use of negative space (which is reinforcing certain images by filling in the space around them). It contrasts its fellow piece by the fact that in this work, the people are dancing, while in the other work they are all either standing or sitting, The significance of this painting, though, lies in the contribution the work itself to patronage. This work and “Music” were both commissioned by Russian businessman Sergei Shchukin and rested on the staircase of his mansion. Examples of this kind of patronage spread among the upper and middle classes, making it a legitimate form of preoccupation for more wealthy Europeans.
Example of how to use negative space:
Little more about Sergei Shchukin: