1953WHERE CAN I SEE IT?
This painting is part of the Tate collection but currently not on display. Check Tate Modern
or Tate Britain
to see when it will next be on show.I LIKE IT
See also 'Weeping Woman
Henri Matisse's paper cut-outs are the ultimate feelgood art, unique among the great works of the twentieth century in their ability to pop a smile on your face and put a bounce in your step. Yet works like the Tate’s iconic ‘The Snail’ don't exactly spring from a happy place. They were created during a period in which Matisse became embroiled in a bitter separation from his wife, was at times gravely ill and housebound in the South of France, while WWII ravaged the country. Often confined to his bed, he would set to work with long-bladed scissors on sheets of paper, painted in brilliant hues by his assistants, cutting with the dexterity of a master tailor to create forms that when pinned to the wall magically became rhythmic arrangements of flowers, leaves and nudes. ‘The Snail’ was made in the year before Matisse's death. Nearly three metres square, the composition is a loose spiral, based on a snail’s shell. Do we read it according to its ancient symbolism as a sun, or perhaps invest it with more new-age significance? Either way, it’s a work of miraculous beauty but also defiance – against illness, war and old age.