The vision of Matisse and Bonnard

I have told my students on occasion, when they are struggling with an architectural plan, failing to put into it this multitude of beings because they are too much obsessed with practicalities, and therefore blinded to the beings that must be made in every part: “Make it like Matisse. Show me a plan that looks like this cut-out of Matisse, in which each part of space is made with love and each part of space is positively shaped.” In a building design it takes hours, sometimes weeks, for them to do it. But this instruction almost never fails.

The importance of emphasizing the beings, treating each entity as a separate building block of unity, has been echoed in recent times by Bonnard, who, speaking of his most realistic paintings, said: “A painting is a succession of blobs that connect up and finally compose the subject, the piece over which the eye can stray without a hitch.”

(Pages 100-103)

Notes mentioning this note

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