Look at Matisse’s
Harmony in Red (The Red Studio)
(Fig. 1113, page 88), and describe
some of the specific visual techniques or "tricks" that Matisse employed to deliberately
suggest (or deny) illusory space.
Matisse utilizes many visual techniques to illustrate illusory space. His elements of art
and design include color, dominantly and jarring red; line, straight- outlined; shape,
geometric in a flattened form and textured patterns.
His replication of shapes
strategically manifested through the spindles of the chair and tops of the decanters to
even the maid’s hair. Its lack of spatial depth can be inferred from the elimination of any
sense of three-dimensionality by uniting the different spaces and implying identical color
and design. The color red helps evoke warmth in association with sun and fire; moreover,
red transfigures a physiological effect that excites and stimulates the brain. More energy
is revealed from warm colors as opposed to cooler ones, thus heightening emotional
content. Matisse limits his perspective in his work, applying breaks in line around his
I think the color as you have mentioned makes a huge difference out the outward effect of the
piece overall. I like your point on how the red brings the green out of the window, which is
very contrasting in color, to "show the difference between depression/anger and peace". I
hadn't thought of the piece in such a way until you pointed that out with the opposition in
colors, by both promoting segregation and harmony simultaneously.
How do the meanings associated with color change from culture to culture? Do some
research and give some examples (be sure to cite the sources you use).
There is no denying that color in design is a very subjective matter; what evokes one
reaction in one person may not be reflected in another. Cultural differences and personal
preference are two reasons for this, but color theory is a science in itself, and obviously
selective colors affect certain people more than others. Warm colors, such as red, orange
and yellow, usually symbolize passion, energy, happiness, and enthusiasm.
red can be associated with fire, violence, anger, and warfare. Outside the western world,
red has dramatically different associations. In China, red is the color of prosperity and
happiness. This can be seen from red envelopes distributed on Lunar New Year to little
children symbolizing prosperity, luck, happiness, and a sense of renewal on a clean slate.
In design, red can be a powerful accent color with its overwhelming effect, as seen in
Harmony in Red.
Orange is a vibrant color associated with autumn along with
health and vitality because of the fruit. Yellow is the brightest and most energizing of
warm colors, associating with sunshine and hope, but in Egypt, yellow symbolizes
mourning and in Japan, yellow represents courage. These are just many examples of the