Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs (Kids)

*The Snail*

Henri Matisse. The Snail. 1953 95

Henri Matisse (French, 1869–1954). *The Snail (L’Escargot).* 1953. Gouache on paper, cut and pasted, on paper, mounted on canvas. 112 3/4 × 113″ (286.4 × 287 cm). Tate. Purchased with assistance from the Friends of the Tate Gallery, 1962. © 2014 Succession H. Matisse/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Music, lively & bright, with a sense of swirling.

NARRATOR: Look how big this cut-out is! Think back to the first cut-outs you saw, when Matisse was just starting. This one is much bigger – even bigger than you!

At first, you might not be able to tell what it is, but the title gives us a clue: Matisse called it The Snail. We think of a snail as curvy and round, but Matisse made the snail’s body out of rectangular shapes. In his other cut-outs, he cut shapes with scissors. But to make this work, he also tore some of the papers. Can you find any rough edges where he might have done this?

So, how do these shapes make a snail? Trace the color blocks with your finger in the air. See how they make a spiral? It’s like a snail’s shell. Which colored shape do you think is the snail’s head? Which one is its body sliding along the ground?

Slurp slurp, like a sticky snail moving along the earth; music swirls and ends

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