Volver al blog

Meeting Place: The Rosary Chapel, Henri Matisse

With Meeting Place we present the wonderful collaboration of four artists in spaces dedicated to meditation, retreat and reflection: Henri Matisse at the The Rosary Chapel in Vence in the south of France; Mark Rothko at the Rothko Chapel in Houston, Texas; Miquel Barceló at the Chapel of the Holy Sacrament in the Cathedral of Palma de Mallorca and Ellsworth Kelly at the Austin Chapel in the Blanton Museum, Texas.

The Rosary Chapel also known as the Matisse Chapel, is a small Dominican Catholic chapel located in Vence, very close to the Côte d’Azur, designed entirely by the French artist Henri Matisse.
At the age of 77 and in very fragile health, Henri Matisse (Le Cateau-Cambrésis, 1869 – Niza, 1954), one of the most important artist of 20th century, made on his own words his masterpiece. His friend and old nurse, Monique Bourgeois, who became a Dominican nun at the time, insists to Matisse to start a project that would embraced the complete design of a chapel: from the architecture, the stained-glass windows, three murals, the furnishings to the sets of vestments.

The small white chapel, symbol of the sum of all the colours, is at the top of a hill in Vence. It forms an Lwhere Matisse located the altar in the central angle. The color of the altar is similar to the bread of the Eucharist. Inside the space there are three sets of stained-glass windows where only three colors are used to present the Tree of Life: yellow for the sun, green for the vegetation and blue to the Mediterranean Sea and the sky. The artist made the sketches that will be part of the tiles of the three large murals on the walls. These were dedicated to St. Dominic of Guzman, founder of the Dominican order, to the Virgin and Child and to the Stations of the Cross. Matisse will also be in charge of the furniture such as the carved wooden doors of the confessional, the cross-bell, the bronze crucifix of the altar, the bronze candle holders and the small tabernacle. For the vestments of the priests Matisse will use the traditional ecclesiastical colours: purple, black, pink and red.
Matisse, the great referent of colour and Fauvism, gets to paint with light a whole space of retreat.

Interior de la Capilla del Rosario
Inside The Rosary Chapel