Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The Snail Carries A "Cross"

I observe that The Snail by Matisse and The Carrying of the Cross by Bosch share a structural resemblance. Both compositions send the eye to the centre and outwards in a spiral. A snail is a being who carries a cross of sorts all its life. Snails fascinate me. If human dwellings were always on the verge of being stamped on by giants how would they have evolved?
In 1941 he was diagnosed with cancer and, following surgery, he started using a wheelchair. Matisse did not allow this setback to halt his work, and with the aid of assistants he set about creating cut paper collages, often on a large scale, called gouaches découpés.(The Snail, above, is an example).
Slowly I discovered the secret of my art. It consists of a meditation on nature, on the expression of a dream which is always inspired by reality. With more involvement and regularity, I learned to push each study in a certain direction. Little by little the notion that painting is a means of expression asserted itself, and that one can express the same thing in several ways. Exactitude is not truth, Delacroix liked to say.

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