Tate Kids



Matisse Cut-out

Tate Liverpool

The Idea

Henri Matisse is a French artist known for making colourful works of art. He used a variety of materials in his work, including oil paint, bronze and he would also make drawings using charcoal. As Matisse became older, he began to work with brightly coloured paper and would ‘paint with scissors’ to cut out shapes, animals, leaves, dancers and flowers and then arrange them.

One of Matisse’s most famous works is called The Snail and was made in 1953 and shows Matisse’s interest in bright colours. In this artwork he arranged complimentary colours alongside each other to create a vibrant effect, for example, you’ll see that the green touching the red, and the blue next to the orange really attract your eye’s attention.

Henri Matisse, The Snail

Henri Matisse, The Snail, 1953, © Succession Henri Matisse/DACS 2015


The Plan

You are going to make your very own Matisse-inspired collage! Take a closer look at nature and be creative with shapes and colours as you cut out your own masterpiece!


You Need

  • Brightly coloured paper
  • Scissors
  • A clear space to work on
  • Glue
  • Pencil
  • Music
  • Creativity (essential!)

Do it!

  • Matisse would listen to music as he worked. To get the creative juices flowing put on the radio and let the fun times begin.
  • Take your scissors and cut out shapes from the brightly coloured paper. They can be any shape you want; they can be wavy like the sea or sharp like a cactus, they can be in the shape of love hearts or spell out words! Just let your imagination take over.
  • When you have made a pile of brightly coloured shapes take a large sheet of coloured paper and start composing your picture. This means arranging the shapes onto the page to make a picture that looks nice. Composition is very important to artists’ work. Don’t be afraid to experiment with your shapes, they can be apart or touch. You could even overlap them to make a new shape - just play around and see what happens.
  • Once you’re happy with your picture you can stick your paper shapes down.

Top Tips!

  • If you run out of ideas, why not look around you for inspiration. Everything has a shape from a flower or a tree to your cat or hamster’s face! Let the world around you feed your creativity.
  • Use a pencil to faintly mark where you have placed your shapes. This way you’ll know where they go even when you’ve lifted it up to apply the glue.
  • You can even catch The Snail in real life at Tate Liverpool until May 2016

And voila! You have created your own Matisse cut out! Now you can take a picture and upload it onto My Gallery or get your parents or guardian to tweet it @tate_kids and use the hashtag #matisseupload.


See it