Apr 132011

La Tristeza del Rey by Henri Matisse

Last night, I did my usual routine. I watched a CSI show online. I surfed through various news websites. I watched Rachel Maddow.

I am not the type who usually gets all depressed by bad news, but good grief! I found myself recalling the lyrics of an old Anne Murray song. The level of discord and disaster happening worldwide was really starting to get to me.

I found myself grasping for something positive. Something uplifting. Something totally non-serious.

A thought occurred to me… I suddenly remembered the words of one of my great artistic heroes, Henri Matisse.

What I dream of is an art of balance, of purity and serenity devoid of troubling or depressing subject matter – a soothing, calming influence on the mind, rather like a good armchair which provides relaxation from physical fatigue. – Henri Matisse

Matisse has been criticized throughout history for painting seemingly frivolous paintings during a time that his expressionist contemporaries were painting the horrors of war and injustice.

Thank God he did paint something of beauty and balance instead. We really do need to relax into a good armchair now and then.

I have now bookmarked the Google images page for Matisse on my iPhone, and I plan to visit it often.

Somehow, this song seems less schmaltzy with the Indigo Girls chiming in.


  No Responses to “Sheesh. There's no good news anywhere. Give me some Matisse.”

  1. I’ve had similar thoughts of late. I am taking advanced photography courses at college and one instructor likes to ask “and, so what?” about images. At first I didn’t know how to answer that question for my various floral images. But I decided that while art can be confrontational and filled with deep meaning, at times it is enough just to stop the viewer for a moment of calm.
    btw the new version of that song is from Anne’s CD “Duets: Friends and Legends” which has many great tracks.

    • Thanks for your comment Brian. I think it is good for instructors to challenge students to seek all areas of creative expression, and I think it is good for your professor to inspire you to go beyond your existing creative ideas. But it is good to relax and create something of beauty and comfort at times too. Best of luck in your studies!

  2. I’m almost embarrassed to say that I stopped reading, watching, and listening to the news years ago. It’s too depressing, I have no control over it, and it generally doesn’t effect my day to day life any way. If there’s something really important going on, I usually hear about it on Twitter. The rest is just stuff used to fill up the air waves and newspapers.

  3. Thank you for your art, for Anne Murray, and for helping me remember why I love Matisse so much.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.