Head of Flora, Watercolour Study
This watercolour fragment is a preliminary study that Matthew Moss intended should develop into a proposed oil painting on canvas of a figure standing against a Principality of Monaco landscape. The head and shoulders figure study is the likeness of no specific person. Rather, the artist intended her to assume the characteristics of Renaissance Mannerism painting and, its extension, Italo-French works of the school of Fontainebleau. A visible characteristic of painting in that period is how the human figure mutated eventually from Michelangelosque realism to appear to be wearing masks. Mask are used in ancient Greek and Roman theatre and later in Japanese Noh, especially by female actors to stylize emotions. They are an important element in James Ensor the Oostende artist's paintings and were an influence in the creation of Moss' work of art.
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