The Dance by Henri Matisse

Made by Min Hwang

An animated Henri Matisse’s the dance with the song Dance of the Girls emphasizing movements

Created: September 3rd, 2016



Henri Matisse was an artist in the 20th century who is well known for his color and drawings. His 1920 artworks are often claimed as the traditional French paintings, but in his early days he was one of the leaders of favism, which was the practice of art that focused on the strong contrast of colors rather than accurate description of the model. Matisse have drawn paintings, sketch, and made sculptures, but he is most well-known with his paintings.



The Dance(1910) is a consecutive work from another piece of artwork in 1909, which was for his acquaintance Russian art collector Sergei Shchukin. Dance was a part of a two painting commission, the other painting being Music. This artwork was produced when Matisse was into favism, and the color and figure of the painting shows it very well. The red human figures who are dancing has a highly contrasting color with the background. Matisse focused on the movements of the human figure in the picture, representing the liberation of the mental state. I selected this picture because it captured my minds with its strong color and also it made me to think what if I can make the movements clearer with digital recreation.



I tried to reproduce the extreme and dynamic movement of the figures in Matisse’s painting. I used the same color scheme with Matisse to make sure his intentions were covered in my creation. For the movement I made gif file that actually moves the figures and recreate the dynamic dance they are dancing. Also I inserted the song Dance of the girls from Rites of spring by Stravinsky as the background music because it is often associated with this painting. 



I created an animated version of Henri Matisse’s the dance by visualizing the movement in the picture using connected scenes and inserting a song that is often associated with the art piece: Dance of the Girls from Rites of spring.

I used clipstudio to produce the gif file then used imovie to add them together with the music. It is a 45 second video where the figures in the dance is turning while they are dancing. When the music sounds intense, the figures dances faster.



I thought Matisse’s work was quite simple so that anyone can reproduce it. However, after the digital recreation project I realized that it is very hard to make a stationary drawing to compose the movement. The two other part of the gif file which made the picture looks like it is moving looked worse comparing with Matisse’s original drawing.

Also I tried to digitally recreate the movement by adding consecutive dancing figures but the movement of digital version didn't have the depth that analog version had. I think there are different values that each medium of art can imply. 

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An animated Henri Matisse’s the dance with the song Dance of the Girls emphasizing movements