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The sculptural versus the decorative in the paintings of Matisse

This lecture explores the function of sculpture in Matisse's paintings.

Matisse’s lifelong passion for decorative textiles did not preclude a profound engagement with sculpture. Dr Elizabeth Cowling, curator of the Matisse Picasso exhibition at Tate Modern in 2002, explores the function of sculpture within paintings dominated by dazzling zones of colour and decorative pattern. Matisse’s own sculptures make frequent appearance in his paintings and Antique and Renaissance sculptures influenced his treatment of the human figure. But perhaps the most important role of the sculptural was to provide a counterbalance to the decorative and thereby introduce drama and tension, as well as monumentality.


Dr Elizabeth Cowling | talks


Date and Time:

6 May 2005 at 6:30 pm


1 hour



Royal Academy of Arts Education Department
Burlington House
020 7300 8000

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£14/£6 students (includes exhibition entry, lecture and a drink); £10 (includes lecture and a drink)

Available from:

To book or for further information call 020 7300 5839 or fax 020 7300 8071. For information only, email events.lectures@royalacademy.org.uk

Additional Information:

This lecture takes place in the Reynolds Room at the Royal Academy

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