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Matisse Stained Glass

Updated on July 20, 2016

Matisse - Stained Glass at Vence

The Chapelle du Rosaire de Vence (Chapel of the Rosary), often referred to as the Matisse Chapel or the Vence Chapel, is a small chapel built for Dominican nuns in the town of Vence on the French Riviera.

It was built and decorated between 1949 and 1951 under a plan devised by Henri Matisse. It houses a number of Matisse originals and was regarded by Matisse himself as his "masterpiece." While the simple white exterior has drawn mixed reviews from casual observers, many regard it as one of the great religious structures of the 20th century.

Video - Inside The Chapel

Stained Glass Windows

There are three sets of stained glass windows, upon which Matisse spent a great deal of time. All three sets make use of just three colors: an intense yellow for the sun, an intense green for vegetation and cactus forms, and a vivid blue for the Mediterranean Sea, the Riviera sky and the Madonna. The two windows beside the altar are named the "Tree of Life," but the forms are abstract. The color from the windows floods the interior of the chapel, which is otherwise all white.

Matisse Chapel

Matise Chapel
Matise Chapel

Three Great Murals

For the walls, Matisse designed three great murals to be made by painting on white tiles with black paint and then firing the large sections of tile. Each tile measures 12 inches square. Matisse was so crippled by this time that he could only work from a wheelchair, and he had a long stick with a brush strapped to his arm, and pieces of construction paper placed on the wall. He then drew the images, which were transferred to tiles by skilled craftsmen.

Chapel

Chapel
Chapel

Henri Matisse

Henri  Matisse
Henri Matisse

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