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The Serpentine

Modeled 1909; cast 1929
Henri Matisse (French, 1869–1954) Cast by C. Valsuani

The theme of the body in motion, a symbol of energy and lightness, produced some of Henri Matisse’s most innovative works, including The Serpentine. This sculpture was inspired by a photograph of a studio model in a classic pose from European antiquity, with one elbow leaning on a studio prop and legs crossed at the ankles. Photographs of the artist at work show that he proceeded to edit the sculpture by radically thinning and elongating the arms, legs, and torso. The result was a figure that focuses our attention not on mass and volume, but instead on linear dynamism and sinuous movement in real space.

Object Details

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