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Matisse, la figura

La forza della linea, l'emozione del colore

Ferrara, Palazzo dei Diamanti

22 February – 15 June 2014


“What interests me most is neither still life nor landscape but the human figure. It is through it that I best succeed in expressing the nearly religious feeling that I have towards life”

Henri Matisse, 1908

Matisse’s creative genius changed the course of Twentieth century art; his distinctive ideas left their mark on all artistic genres. Of all subjects, the one that attracted him the most was the figure, especially the female, which he tirelessly represented in all media throughout his entire career. This theme, so central to his work, has inspired the exhibition at the Palazzo dei Diamanti in Ferrara dedicated to this modern art giant.

Over one hundred paintings, sculptures and works on paper will describe the creative journey through which Matisse explored ways of representing his emotional response to his models. His works resonate with the joy he had in creating them, as is evident from the radiant pure colours and the lively dancing figures of his early works. This enthusiasm still shines through the works of his last phase, where the objects and settings seem to reverberate with an energy that emanates from the figures.

But above all, Matisse’s imagination is nourished by the presence of the model in his studio. At times he captures the mystery of the face, which comes alive in irresistibly charming portraits, at others, his fascination is directed to the reflections of light on the figure and the exotic furnishings that surround it, creating images that are a hymn to beauty and art.

Like Picasso, Matisse is inspired by the oldest of artistic themes, that of the figure, and he subverts traditional representation: with simple coloured shapes he composed symphonies of almost abstract forms that expand into an infinite space. These creations embody the essence of Matisse’s art, where a few deft lines are able to touch the deepest chords of the human soul and instil a feeling of perfect harmony. For this, Matisse was tremendously influential over the artists of his time and for generations to come.

Curated by

Isabelle Monod-Fontaine

Organized by

Ferrara Arte e Gallerie d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Ferrara

Enti promotori

Comune di Ferrara e Provincia di Ferrara


Regione Emilia-Romagna

Supported by

Fondazione Teatro Comunale di Ferrara

Eni partner unico della mostra e del progetto didattico “L’atelier di Matisse”

Works on show

Press release

Palazzo dei Diamanti

/ Matisse, la figura. La forza della linea, l’emozione del colore


Matisse, la figura.
La forza della linea, l'emozione del colore

Iniziative didattiche e culturali 

L'atelier di Matisse

Eventi collaterali

Sguardi su Matisse

Libro per bambini

Henri è Matisse. E io... chi sono?