‘Matisse: Life & Spirit’ proves that it’s one thing to see a masterpiece on the internet, but quite another thing to see them in person.

The Art Gallery of NSW has just opened their newest Henri Matisse exhibition that houses over 100 artworks from the acclaimed artist. This exhibition was done in collaboration with the Centre Pompidou in Paris that houses a stupid amount of Matisse works.

‘Matisse: Life & Spirit’ is easily the best exhibition surrounding the artist Sydney has ever had, so even if you have a slight interest in art, this is something to see.

The Gallery has set out the exhibition in chronological order but at first with an introduction to the man and his art. The first section is labelled ‘Towards fauvinism (1895 – 1909)’ and tell you what, it starts strong. You’d think that an artist would have to take their time to ‘git gud’ but apparently Henri Matisse hit the ground running. It’s an explosion of colour in here.

The next is ‘The radical years (1914 – 18)’ and this had to be my personal favourite section of the exhibit.

But you don’t want me to simply go through the rooms and list what I liked and didn’t like. The entire exhibit is good and very well thought out – you don’t miss a thing, the information provided is fantastic, even the gift shop has a great selection.

Do you want me to judge the art of Matisse? Plenty of people have already done that, some of them artists themselves or critics with degrees in art history! I don’t have anything to add to the conversation that hasn’t already been said. But here’s what I can do for you, I can tell you why it’s worth the time and money to visit.  

For one, it’s inexpensive. Only $30 for an adult ticket.

Two, the number of masterpieces from one master found in one gallery is not that common in Sydney so take advantage of it. Next time you want to see these pieces you will likely have to visit Paris.

Three, the art is so good you don’t have to know anything about art to enjoy it.

Four, it’s a great date idea with pretty decent food options at the café and restaurant within the Gallery.

Five, you get to sound smart and cultured to your friends when they asked what you’ve been up to this week.

All pretty good reasons to go and see this exhibit, I think.

And for the art lovers amongst you, check out the free ‘Matisse Alive’ exhibition that you can also find in the Art Gallery of NSW. It features a huge variety of art and artists all inspired by Matisse. This exhibit really surprised me and is worth a visit regardless of your interest in Matisse.

Tickets are available online as well as in person at the Gallery.  

Not from NSW? Don’t worry, check out the new building Shepparton Art Museum in Victoria that currently has over nine free exhibitions. 

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