Matisse’s The Window (1916) Part 2

In Part One on Matisse's The Window  you saw how Matisse fused his face into the bottom half of the window and the radiator. In Part Two I reveal another "self-portrait" and set of "eyes". This makes the painting even more complex and interesting.

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Captions for image(s) above:

Matisse, The Window (1916) Oil on canvas. Detroit Institute of the Arts.

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At the very bottom of the canvas he formed his "eyes" out of the pattern of the carpet to indicate, as so often in art, that the image above is behind his forehead and appears inside his mind. On the left, only the top half of his "eye" can be seen (see diagram); on the right his "eye" appears wide open with the pupil cropped by the chair leg. The difference between the two eyes is also traditional, signifying an artist's two forms of vision: external (ie., normal on the left) and internal (wide open for imagination, on the right). Above those "eyes" the artist represents himself anew, again fused with the painting.

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Captions for image(s) above:

Detail and diagram of Matisse's The Window

Click image to enlarge.

You can see the "self-portrait" in the diagram below. The base of a glass jar to the left of the table suggests a closed eyelid but with an oval above for the open, interior "eye" of his imagination. The other is implied by the radiator leg, just a curve by the eye's inner corner because the eye itself is metaphorically veiled as if by a white cloth, the first three sections of the radiator powering his eye. And that's why the radiator forms Ms for Matisse.

Matisse's nose is conveyed by the table support with small nostrils at its base. Below them are his "mouth", "moustache" and "beard", all similar to those in a contemporaneous self-portrait (inset). Now note how his "face" is divided in half by the blue of the carpet and the white sunlight perhaps suggesting the two separate realities, inner and outer, physical and spiritual. To cap it all, the surface of the table forms a "halo" to indicate that at the moment of conceiving this scene, at the moment of its creation, his inner divinity, which we all have, conveyed it, just as it would have to the minds of medieval artists.

I recognized all this long after posting Part One. It shows that, as always with art, the more you look, the more you think, the more you see. So, be persistent.

Captions for image(s) above:

Detail and diagram of Matisse's The Window with detail from Matisse's Self-portrait (1918) inset

Click image to enlarge.

Notes:

Original Publication Date on EPPH: 16 Jan 2016. © Simon Abrahams. Articles on this site are the copyright of Simon Abrahams. To use copyrighted material in print or other media for purposes beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. Websites may link to this page without permission (please do) but may not reproduce the material on their own site without crediting Simon Abrahams and EPPH.