I can just feel him with his hands on that sculpture modeling and figuring out how to give that reclining figure such a strong sense of volume and energy and also the way, the way that figure twists in space, tension again is so much an important part of the Matisse’s sculpture. You can wander around and look at it from every different angle. Matisse once had this photograph so that he was looking down on it and it gives an entirely different impression. It’s amazing about Matisse’s sculpture because as you wander around the sculptures, you can’t even anticipate what you are going to see. It’s not just symmetric and you think okay, I am going to see the front, then I am going to see the back. In the case of these sculptures, you get entirely different views, you see things that you never knew were there. So it definitely involves your involvement, the audience really needs to work at looking at this sculpture by going around it and taking the time to see how it changes.
As you’re walking around to the back of the sculpture, it’s nice to pause when you’re looking at it long way, so you would be looking from the point of view of the feet towards the head. And there you see, this wonderful curvilinear structure as the feet and the bent knees connect to the thighs and the buttocks and then your eye keeps moving up the sculpture to the torso and to the head and the arm that’s extended over the head. What you most notice as you move around the sculpture is that it becomes more linear as you see its perspective. Then when you get around to looking at it exactly from this extended back, then you begin to see, especially with the raised arm and the head and how she is kind of lifted herself off the base, then you begin to notice the positives and negatives, the empty areas and the areas that are filled in. And this is, of course, very similar to another sculpture that’s in the show, which is The Serpentine which was only done a year or two later than the reclining nude one.Back to parent stop