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Matisse is a well-known French artist, the leader of the Fauvist movement, which lasted only twenty years, but left a peculiar mark in history, Fauvism is related to impressionism and brings it to the extreme point at which the form ceases to play a role and its emotion and color begin to play.
Fauvism makes it extremely simple, without focusing on any framework. A light brush, thin strokes, a game with light and shadow, bright, sometimes screaming, colors - all this is necessary only to express emotion. In a Matisse’s picture, a woman could have a green nose, if that gave her expressiveness, but to the questions why he considers it permissible, if women’s life doesn’t have green noses, he answered: “I’m not a woman, I’m painting.”
“Red Fishes” is not his farthest picture from realism. At first glance, it seems even quite understandable and normal. Aquarium, fish, flowers and green leaves, nothing that might seem unusual. But it is worth taking a closer look, and it turns out that the picture has noticeably impaired perspective. The viewer sees the aquarium from the side, as does the leg of the table, but the countertop from above, otherwise it would not seem so round.
The fish in the aquarium swim in a circle - they are red, big-eyed, with open mouths - and this circle supports both the shape of the table, and the curling greenhouse fence, and plants, also forming a kind of circle. The colors of the picture are quite soft, in comparison with the riot usual for Fauvism - almost muffled, and the picture itself conveys the mood, and does not tell a certain plot.
An imagined viewer can see in it a symbolic infinity - what is a circle, if not it? - Feel the lyrical mood of the artist, thinking about how nothing has a beginning or an end, and placed fish in the aquarium to convey this brief moment of insight.