The Family of the Artist1911 by Henri Matisse

In this work, painted in Issy-les-Moulineaux near Paris in 1911, Matisse depicted his sons Jean and Pierre, deep in a game of draughts, his daughter Marguerite and his wife Amelie. In itself a family portrait set in an interior is a simple and natural idea; it could have been intimate and emotional, but ever true to himself, Matisse moved beyond mere intimacy to make the composition monumental and majestic. The structure of this large canvas is unusual. Matisse takes us into a world of whimsical patterns - now childishly naive, now of oriental complexity - which incorporate the draughts board, one of the most important elements in the painting. This patterning might have threatened the compositional unity of the work, but Matisse, as it were challenging the multiplicity of colors and lines he had created, managed to achieve clarity and logic through careful organization of the canvas. The figures play the central role in establishing the unity... (http://art-matisse.com/1910_20.html)
Click to select the cover image for this artwork.
Media: oil on canvas
Location: State Hermitage Museum , Saint Petersburg, Russia