Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Maurice Denis 2

Maurice Denis (1870 - 1943)
The Road to Calvary/Montée au calvaire ou Le Calvaire. 1889.
Oil on canvas. 41 x 32.5 cm.
Musée d'Orsay, Paris, France

Maurice Denis (1870 - 1943)
The Visitation. 1894.
Oil on canvas. 103 x 93 cm.
The Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Russia

At the age of 15 Denis wrote in his journal:

"Oui, il faut que je sois peintre chrétien, que je célèbre tous ces miracles du Christianism, je sens qu'il faut."

"Yes, it's necessary that I am a Christian painter, that I celebrate all the miracles of Christianity, I feel it's necessary. "

- Connaissance des Arts: Maurice Denis, page 29.

Denis and Marthe Meunier met in 1890, the year Les Nabis formed.

Religion and love were to combine in the form of Marthe.

A deeply religious man, Denis believed Marthe was choisie par Dieu, chosen by God, to guide and inspire him in his artistry. They had many children.

After many years of illness, Marthe died in 1919, but she continued to inspire him through memory. Her husband painted a chapel in her honour in the Chapelle du Prieuré.

In 1919, Denis attempted to revive the teaching of religious art.

He co-founded the Ateliers d'Art Sacré, Studios of Sacred Art, which would paint many murals for churches.

He also created stained glass windows for churches including those at the Église Notre-Dame-des-Missions in Paris and the Église Saint-Louis in Vincennes.

His writings on religious art include Théories (2 vol; 1920, 1922) and Histoire de l'art religieux (1939).

Denis saw art as a means of celebrating the divine. He wrote in his journal:

"Je veux surtout n'avoir jamais a regretter dans ma vie d'artiste un manqué a ma dignitie de chrétien.

I want, above all else, to never have to regret in my life as an artist, any lack in my dignity as a Christian."

- Connaissance des Arts: Maurice Denis, P4.