Story of Matisse’s Childhood

March 22, 2015

The Nature and Nurture of Genius: The Sweet Illustrated Story of How Henri Matisses’s Childhood Shaped His Creative Legacy by Maria Popova

Screen Shot 2015-03-08 at 11.33.21 AM Recently Brain Pickings included an in depth review of the book called The Iridescence of Birds: A Book about Henri Matisse by Patricia MacLachlan, illustrated by Hadley Hooper on Matisse’s childhood and the influence and nurturing that his parents provided him. An excerpt from Brain Pickings review:

At 8PM on the last day of 1869, a little boy named Henri entered the world in a gray textile-mill town in the north of France, in a rundown two-room cottage with a leaky roof. He didn’t have much materially, but he was blessed with perhaps the greatest gift a child could have — an unconditionally loving, relentlessly supportive mother. Like many creative icons whose destinies were shaped by the unflinching encouragement of loved ones, little Henri became the great Henri Matisse thanks to his mother’s staunch support, which began with an unusual ignition spark: At the age of twenty, Henri was hospitalized for appendicitis and his mother brought him a set of art supplies with which to occupy his recovery. “From the moment I held the box of colors in my hands,” Matisse recounted, “I knew this was my life. I threw myself into it like a beast that plunges towards the thing it loves.” And that thing flowed from love, too — it was Matisse’s mother who encouraged her son, like E.E. Cummings encouraged all aspiring artists, to disregard the formal rules of art and instead paint from the heart. “My mother loved everything I did,” he asserted. 

Screen Shot 2015-03-08 at 11.33.55 AMThe illustrations by Hadley Hooper are delightful (and the colors delicious).

Screen Shot 2015-03-08 at 11.33.31 AM

To read the entire piece please click here http://www.brainpickings.org/2015/02/10/the-iridescence-of-birds-henri-matisse/?mc_cid=ba07e5d069&mc_eid=883dcd3d89


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