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Grade 9-12

A Panoramic Look at Art History: Matisse's Obsession with Goldfish

by Merritt Barnwell | Arts FREE

3 Lessons 39:04
  1. 1. Visual Analysis 8:42
  2. 2. Artwork Discussion 13:14
  3. 3. Matisse in His Studio 17:08

Grade 9-12


NGSS Standards



About the course

In this course, we will have an in-depth discussion and analysis of the French Modernist artist Henri Matisse, and his acclaimed painting "The Goldfish" that he created in 1912. We will begin this course by doing a visual analysis of the painting devoid of context and then we will introduce this work of art soon after and the series of paintings it belonged with. We will then discuss the possible interpretations and reasons for Matisse's many depictions of these fish during this period of his life in relation to what is going in the world at that time. After the introduction, there will be a short video of Matisse in his studio, followed by two interviews about initial responses to the piece for more perspective.


  • Fauvism
  • France
  • Goldfish
  • Henri Matisse
  • Interviews
  • Matisse
  • Visual Analysis


Hello, my name is Merritt! I am a student at Yale University where I study Art History and Studio Art. I am personally very passionate about painting and graphic design, specifically, book design. I grew up in Santa Fe, New Mexico where I was always surrounded by art. When I was younger I volunteered at the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum where I first participated in arts education. I now tour-guide at the Yale Center for British Art where I teach visitors about the collection. I am interested in making art more accessible and hope that shows through in my videos!

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