Essay: Titian's the Pastoral Concert and Matisse

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¶ … Titian's the Pastoral Concert and Matisse's the Joy of Life

Although painted some 400 years apart by painters having little in common in terms of artistic conception, society in which they lived or creative credo, Titian's "Pastoral Concert" and Matisse's "The Joy of Life" are nevertheless incredibly similar in terms of the message passed on, in the way the main characters populate the picture or in the attention shown towards human nature, in all its different perspectives and manifestations.

Titian's painting was painted some time around 1510, when the artist was supposed to have been under the artistic patronage and influence of Giorgione, one of the best and innovative Italian painters of the Renaissance. In the forefront of the painting, the artist depicts an elegant young nobleman (most likely, given his clothes and his elegant posture) and a poor shepherd. There communication is tacit, one doesn't expect to have them converse, but the glances they exchange are eloquent that they are already establishing a level of communication.

The other two characters in the painting are two nude women, most likely nymphs. One of them seems to participate in the communication scheme between the two young men, but the other one is turned away from the entire scene, facing the audience rather than the small group. This oblique turning away seems to be an aesthetic approach as well, a mean to juxtapose the other characters in the painting.

On the other hand, Matisse's painting has all the stylized perspective of the beginning of the 20th century. His aesthetic leaves very much to the viewer to actually interpret and associate meaning to his painting. His characters are not completely drawn, but barely sketched, in different colors and shapes, but again, barely defined otherwise. The painting shows a large number of individuals in the nature, somewhere between a forest and a meadow, all involved in different static and dynamic acts that include dancing, standing, communicating. Despite the fact that the characters are not drawn in their entirety, each individual in the painting stands alone as a remarkable character in itself. Whether through movement or gesture or pose, they each seem to express something in their own right.

This is perhaps the first great similarity between the two paintings. Despite the fact that they would describe a basically static image (a painting of nature populated by individuals), both paintings are extremely expressive and dynamic in the way the characters manifest themselves, even without actually moving. This is perhaps even more obvious in Titian's painting, because all the four characters, except maybe the… [END OF PREVIEW]

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