Friday, 22 February 2008

Matisse, The Dance

The centre-piece of the Royal Academy’s 'From Russia' is Matisse’s 'The Dance'. And seizing the opportunity of holiday I went to see it again with Cazz.

The exhibition as a whole is diverse with four main sections and a number of smaller sections, and includes many great pictures. But 'The Dance' stands out in both size and impact, commanding attention, taking hold of you – it’s only a huge act of delayed gratification that makes it possible to look at any other picture in the room before settling upon it!

The thing that does it for me with this painting is the way it pulsates and moves before your eyes. If you look away and then look again, it’s as though the dance has moved on. The colours 'zing' adding huge energy to the overall effect of joy – this is no sacrificial 'Rite of Spring'. There are limbs galore and yet it seems that few are actually connected with the ground giving the impression that the dance is virtually airborne. And only two of the hands aren’t quite joined, giving the smallest gap for you to leap in and join the dance!

Jürgen Moltmann speaks of God's future as 'an ever-varying round dance of the redeemed in the Trinitarian fullness of God, the complete harmony of soul and body.' This seems fitting for this enthralling work of art.


Catriona said...

Good to seeing you joining blogworld!

As I'm sure you know, this picture is on the cover of UK editions of Paul Fiddes' 'Participating in God' and he used 'dance' as a way of exploring perichoreis

Geoff Colmer said...

Hi Catriona!
Thanks for your welcome. And for making the connection with 'Participating in God' - great book! I was going to develop the blog and make a link with Rublev's Icon and perichoresis, which Paul Goodliff tells me is a term also used in art. I decided not to because I thought it would be good to do a few shorter blogs - I'm still finding my way! Appreciate your blog.