meaning ‘Wild Beast.’ It is often used to describe the genre of painting, which lasted for a decade from 1900 to 1910. The art movement was characterized by fast colors, abstract designs, and bold brush strokes. Like other Fauvist painters, Henri’s initial work also drew a lot of dissension for its lack of classic artistic beauty and strong expression. Nevertheless, some of his painted works came to be recognized as artistic masterpieces in later years, with “La Danse II,” being one of them.
This painting is a large, 260 X 391 cm, oil on canvas, currently displayed at The Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia. Created in the year 1910, “La Danse II” is the second of the two-painting series commissioned by a Russian art collector, Sergei Shchukin. This painting truly captures the essence of ‘Fauvism’ through its simplistic design set in raw and audacious color scheme that catches immediate attention like none other. The theme of the painting is loosely based on the French symphony Le Sacre du Printemps or The Rite of Spring, composed by Igor Stravinsky, in 1913, for ‘The Ballets Russes.’ This composition revolves around the primitive pagan ritual in which a young girl was offered as a sacrifice to the God of Spring. According to the practice, the designated girl would dance until her last breath.
“La Danse II” features five bright red colored human figures, clenching each other’s hand to form a circle. The nude female figures with red hair are depicted in wild dancing poses, reflective of the power and the flow of passions during the performance of the ritual. The background of the painting is delineated in pure colors, instead of complex designing and the presence of other elements. The grassy ground below is depicted by leaf green color and the sky by deep navy blue color, perhaps to describe a night scene for the performance of the spring rite. In “La Danse II,”
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