%C2%A9 Succession H. Matisse %2F Artists Rights Society %28ARS%29%2C New York

Boy with Butterfly Net, 1907


Visiting Italy in 1907, Henri Matisse was deeply impressed by the frescoes of Giotto, the 14th-century artist who ushered in the Italian Renaissance. Matisse especially liked Giotto's simplified volumes and restricted primary colors. In response to his Italian experiences, Matisse set about making his paintings more dramatic and monumental. Here, he created a spare landscape composed of flat areas of land and sky with a single grand figure.

The model is Allan Stein, nephew of Leo and Gertrude Stein who were important patrons of Matisse. His casual summer clothing and butterfly net suggest a slice of contemporary life. But the figure also seems to inhabit a mythic, timeless realm, and his stiff pose recalls ancient Greek sculptures of athletes and gods. The large scale of the painting reinforces this sense of elevation and magnifies its daring simplicity.



Matisse, Boy with a Butterfly Net (#390)
Boy with Butterfly Net
Artist Life
Accession Number
Curator Approved

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© Succession H. Matisse / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

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