Green Stripe (Madame Matisse), 1905, Henri Matisse

Beautification

Art beautifies the world by pleasing the eye or gratifying the mind. But what is beautiful?

Matisse painted this unusual portrait of his wife in 1905. Its beauty lies in the second part of Gowans’ definition; it gratifies the mind. In doing this, Matisse carefully arranged the elements of his painting: 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 natural light is translated directly into colors and the highly visible brush strokes add to the sense of artistic drama.

Nicolas Pioch, WebMuseum, Paris