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.
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.