a mandarin in The Song of the Nightingale 1920
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
© Henri Matisse, 1920/ Succession H. Matisse. Reproduced by
permission of VISCOPY Ltd, Sydney 1999.
Henri Matisse's costumes for The Song of the Nightingale
related to each other and to the backdrops. He deliberately masked the
contours of the dancers' bodies beneath large, voluminous, rectangular
costumes, painted in bold, slightly oriental patterns. When they moved,
the dancers were transformed into a stylised patterns of shape and colour.
The yellow satin of this costume, appliquéd with irregularly spaced
large gold and black discs, when seen from a distance, looked like a field
of yellow sprinkled with large flowers.