An art of balance

Jeff and I enjoyed a soothing, calming afternoon at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in D.C., July 2013

Jeff and I enjoyed a soothing, calming afternoon at the Corcoran Gallery in DC, July 2013

“What I dream of is an art of balance, of purity and serenity devoid of  troubling or depressing subject matter – a soothing, calming influence on the  mind, rather like a good armchair which provides relaxation from physical fatigue.” Henri Matisse

I understand and agree that art is meant to do a variety of things.  Some works are thought-provoking or even disturbing rather than comforting, and these are no less impressive than the ones we find instantly appealing; indeed, they may be more so, since they involve daring and indifference to criticism.

Regardless of this, I am most thankful for artists who recognize the need to use their talent as a balm for the hurts of life.  We all have times when we would benefit from an afternoon stroll through a quiet, spacious gallery, a few minutes spent enjoying a beautiful symphony, or even curling up with a cozy mystery or other novel with a happy ending.

Among the painters, sculptors, writers, poets, composers, musicians, architects and other artists you enjoy, whose work reminds you most of the description Matisse gives us here?  What are some of your favorite “armchair” creations?

This post was first published seven years ago today. The original post, comments and photo are linked, along with two other related posts, below. These links to related posts, and their thumbnail photos, do not appear in the blog feed; they are only visible when viewing the individual posts by clicking on each one. I have no idea why, nor do I know how they choose the related posts. That’s just the way WordPress does things.


  1. Good morning, Julia!
    I’m so glad that you mentioned symphonies. Yesterday morning, I listened to six of Corelli’s Concerti Grossi while attending to morning tasks, and that music turned the mundane morning into a grand celebration!

    • Susan, I wasn’t familiar with that work– at least not by name– but when I looked it up and played it, it did sound familiar. I agree, it’s perfect as background music while working. I love anything Baroque and it sounds as if he is firmly in that camp.

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