Yes, it’s a Jaguar, but it almost looks just like a muscle, you just feel it contracting and the Jaguar attacks the hare. So Matisse has a plaster cast of the sculpture, there is a picture of his studio in Paris with a plaster cast of the sculpture sitting on the step. So it probably was something that he might have purchased for his students to work from or just for himself. So he chose this sculpture because he saw interesting possibilities that he wanted learn about. He started working on the sculpture and we understand that he often would work on his copy of the Barye with his eyes closed, because he wanted to feel the linear rhythm as he ran his hand down the back of the model. And then of his own sculpture, he could feel how that actually was within his hands and how he could model the curving torso of the Jaguar’s body, just in his hands.
The idea that he didn’t want to be distracted by realism, he didn’t want to be distracted with making it look like a Jaguar and making it look exactly like the Barye. He just wanted to get the essence of that musculature and how there was this curvilinear twist of the Jaguar’s body from the head to the tail. He didn’t want to be distracted by realism, he wanted to feel it, as he ran his hands across that modeling the wet clay.Back to parent stop