The Joy of Life (La Joie de Vivre) by Max Ernst

This work is a twist on a Matisse work by the same name.


Oil on canvas
73.5 x 92.5 cm
Acquired in:
Antony Penrose

In contrast to the joyous nature of the Matisse, Ernst spreads his entangled leaves and tendrils across the picture, so that they appear locked in combat, and populates this death trap with praying mantises. Lost in this sinister world is a diminutive human being (upper right) alongside a crouching beast. This predatory jungle is an expression of the artist's outrage at the worsening political situation in Europe during the 1930s.


Penrose Collection.

Venue details

Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art 73/75 Belford Road, EDINBURGH Edinburgh EH4 3DR 0131 624 6200

Entry details

50% off with National Art Pass

Sun – Sat, 10am – 5pm Closed 25 & 26 Dec