Today let’s look at “Tea”, painted by Henri Matisse in 1919 (“Matisse” is pronounced “mah-TEES”, with the s really soft, as in “lease”.)
One of the things which interests me about this painting is that it is at once photographic and completely stylized! I say it’s photographic because the characters – even the dog – are aware of the person capturing their image; they’ve all turned around to look at him. And I say it’s stylized, of course, because Matisse’s lines are loose and cartoony. And yet, this scene feels so real to me!
What is it exactly about this painting which makes it seem real to me? Maybe the characters’ poses; maybe the dapples of light, exactly in the right spots; maybe that napkin, hanging partly off the table, as though somebody’s tossed it down there. Maybe it’s all the different greens Matisse uses in the plants.
I wonder what the woman’s hat is made of, and if she’s hot in it. It looks like a cloche, not a sun hat, which means that it’s more fashionable than practical. I wonder why she’s left it on.
This photograph of “Tea” does NOT belong to me. It was taken by Beesnest McClain on Flickr, who is NOT in any way associated with this blog.