Matisse's The Dance

WHO WAS henri matisse?

Henri Matisse is typically acknowledged as the most outstanding colorist of the 20th century, rivaling Pablo Picasso in regards to the significance of his innovation.

the dance

Matisse was fascinated by the notion of dancing and the potential to be moved by music, which became a recurring theme in his artworks. Despite this, his Dancers painting did not earn the acclaim it has today when it was originally presented.

the dance (1910)

Matisse created an early version of this piece, known as Dance (I), in March 1910. It’s a compositional exercise with lighter colors and fewer details.

the dance (1910)

The Dance is really a zoomed-in rendition of a section of Matisse’s 1905 artwork The Joy of Life. It is historically significant, particularly in terms of the emergence of the Fauvist movement.

the dance ii (1932)

Matisse also created a similar Dancer painting, the mural The Dance II. The mural was to be installed over three arches that span the windows of Barnes’ gallery’s main hall.

the dance ii (1932)

Some critics believe that The Dance II mural was significant in allowing Matisse to reconnect to the most fundamental foundations of his painting.


Matisse’s artistic choices for this painting generated quite a stir in the art salons of 1910; the brazen nakedness and clumsily placed colors gave the artwork a primal aspect that some observers perceived as barbarous.


Dance’s continuous movement contrasts sharply with Music, where the subjects are motionless. The vocalists nearly appear to be spectators, staring up at the dancers while laying their arms on their knees.