Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Matisse Museum / Musée Matisse Nice-Cimiez

The chic, historical district of Cimiez in Nice is a fascinating area to explore and in what seems like the heart of it all sits the Musee Matisse.

Surrounded by a beautiful park on one side of the museum and the open excavations of Roman ruins on the other side, this alluring red and yellow sun-kissed villa holds many varied paintings, illustrations, sculptures and even tapestries created by the artist Henri Matisse who had a long history in this part of the city.

Getting to the national Musee Matisse by taking one of the city public buses (#17, 20, 25) from outside Galeries Lafayette is very easy and knowing where to disembark is not a problem as you can see the colors of the grand museum as you are arriving from a distance.

Once off the bus, just follow the signage and make your way through the park and past the Roman ruins towards the museum which feels like it is beckoning you to visit.

Depending on the time of the year, exhibits, events, etc., the cost to enter the museum is either free or a small nominal fee.

I must admit when I first entered the museum, even though the size of the building is large and wonderfully maintained, I assumed the artwork would only encompass maybe the main floor and the second floor but was soon pleasantly surprised by just how much more there was to the whole Musee Matisse.

The first piece of art I saw near the entrance was definitely a showstopper and when I went into the next room, you could see and read more about his early work which was a great way to start telling a life’s story.

I quickly realized the museum’s mission appeared to be to teach the visitors about the evolution and importance of Matisse’s work.

Not knowing a whole lot about the artist beforehand, what surprised me was how much of his vast influences seemed to come from the movements of dance and his appreciation of music.

I was entranced with this man’s history and moving from floor to floor, room to room you become completely enthralled with his art work.  There doesn’t seem to be any medium Matisse was not interested in attempting and exploring thoroughly.

His range seemed to run the gamut, completely inspired by his travels and the people he was surrounded by, everything from romance to religion seemed to be touched upon.

I love a wide range of artists, and I was glad the Musee Matisse helped me understand much more about the man and left me intrigued to learn more after my initial visit.

As you follow through the exhibits in the building that houses the large collection of Matisse’s work you will naturally venture into the newer section that was added on to the villa by digging down and out to the side underground, keeping the integrity of the structure and surrounding landscape intact and making for a more interesting architectural experience.

The Musée Matisse makes for a wonderful way to spend part of an afternoon and a very pleasing educational art experience.