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  • Game of Bowls

    Artist:
    Matisse, Henri. 1869-1954
    Technique:
    oil
    Dimensions:
    115x147 cm

Matisse, Henri. 1869-1954

Game of Bowls

France, 1908

In creating this work in Paris in 1908 Matisse was probably inspired by watching the Parisians playing the traditional French game of boules, and certainly the boys are very concrete individuals, the artist's sons and nephew. The arrangement of the figures, the incline of the heads, the schematic facial features, all give us some idea of what each player is feeling: there is the total concentration of the boy about to throw his boule, the expectant interest in the result of the other boy, the calm of the seated figure. But at the same time there is something strange, sad and mysterious in the composition. Some kind of primeval silence in which the earth, water, sky and man, the central elements in the world, are all sunk. The game is to be perceived as one manifestation of man's creativity. The "game" is in the highest sense a form of cognition, an instrument to use in understanding the "codes" of life. Matisse turns to man's mythological past, to times when the mystery of being was more central to everyday life. The participants in the "action" seem to have frozen, each "held" in the surface, although the sense of volume and mass has not totally disappeared. The Game of Bowls is one of a cycle of works of 1905 to 1910, united by the theme of man's "golden age".

Title:

Game of Bowls

Place:

Date:

Material:

Technique:

oil

Dimensions:

115x147 cm

Acquisition date:

Entered the Hermitage in 1948; handed over from the State Museum of New Western Art in Moscow; originally in the Sergei Shchukin collection

Inventory Number:

ГЭ-9154

Comment:

Copyrights: © Succession H. Matisse

Category:

Collection:

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