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we're in the Museum of Modern Art looking at it really one of my favorite canvases by honoré Matisse this is the piano lesson and it dates to 1916 it's a big austere canvas it's probably one of Matisse's most Picasso like canvases sort of cubist in its severity and use of Lyon and some art historians have seen it as but he's really trying to in a sense answer cubism it certainly doesn't have the sensuality of many Matisse paintings so what we usually think of when we think of Matisse as explicitly you're absolutely right none of the sort of sensuous hips there's a little incident with the arabesques of that there is that the wrought iron iron exactly which is which is of course the balustrade but you know but that's perfect because some art historians actually see the rendering of that balustrade actually as almost a kind of written expression of the music that's being produced by Pierre Matisse Picasso son who's at the piano Matisse's Matisse is on excuse me is a big nozzles and so Pierre Matisse is at the piano this is 1960 Pierre Matisse by the way would grow up to be a really important gallery owner in New York selling his father's work among others haha and we have the sense of a kind of new balance in his painting because you would mentioned the lack of sensuality but actually if you look in the lower left corner that female figure on the lower left now it's not a real thing uh fat your warrant or shouldn't say sculpture it's a painting of a bronze spoke for by Matisse so there we have a nude she is curvilinear and really sensuous right and really contrasted almost as if there were boxers from the figure in the upper right yes he looks very strict and but and reminds me of the metronome that's directly under her instrument and it's kind of uprightness and strictness and sense of discipline and order there in that figure does hover over PR Matisse's head in a kind of menacing way that she does and she's painted you're right so curved a so rectilinear rather so much in opposition she's clothed so much in opposition to the sculpture right on the other side and so but you know the metronome is in that other corner you're absolutely right and that kind of alternates between the two so you know some art historians have suggested that this is this is a painting that is really about this this opposition between order and structure and sensuality and discipline yeah I can see that now what about his face do you think I mean why one eye why is his face so kind of Kubis I have no idea but it actually seems to reflect the metronome doesn't it it does and somehow I think it speaks to me of removing this image from reality yeah so this is Matisse really trying to sort of impose some of the strictest formal aspects of the painting to the figure itself so that we're not seeing it as a literal rendering yeah I think so and that the figure in the upper right is that really a figure there or is this is this house an easy that's a wall and in fact the woman that we're seeing in a sense playing the role of the piano teacher is actually a painting woman on a high stool that's also a question of museum ah so it's really not it's sort of today's what it seems but it's not what it seems you know Matisse is playing in certain levels of reality here and he offered me often does that Peter looks out at us as though he's would like to somehow escape into the pleasures of the female nude on the far left maybe or perhaps of the daylight outside because you want to see like the last rays of sunlight coming across the lawn right wonderful triangle between the windows yeah yeah it's a pretty austere allegory about what it means to make art I mean in some ways I look at Pierre and I see him as a kind of stand-in for some real