In this video from Christian Art Today, art expert Patrick van der Vorst looks at Maurice Denis' contemporary painting of the 'Adoration of Kings'. Denis professed his faith through art. Here he visualised this epiphany scene within a modern setting, to reflect the incarnation of God within the fabric of our everyday lives. Maurice Denis was also a renowned member of 'Les Nabis' group of post modern painters.
Maurice Denis was born in 1870 in Granville, Normandy, and died in 1943, in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, in a traffic accident.
Denis joined the Académie Julian in Paris in the late 19th century where he studied alongside Pierre Bonnard, Edouard Vuillard, Paul Sérusier, all of whom shared a common admiration for Paul Gauguin. He soon became known as 'the Nabi of beautiful icons' and in 1890 he published the manifesto of the Nabi movement (nabi means prophet in Hebrew). The work of the Nabis was characterised by the use of brilliant colours arranged in satisfying abstract designs.
Maurice Denis summed up the Nabis movement in his painting Hommage to Cézanne: a group of friends (artists, critics) gathered in the shop of art dealer Ambroise Vollard, are looking at a still life by Cézanne whilst in the background are works by Gauguin and Renoir.
Maurice Denis made several trips to Italy in the late 19th and early 20th century. He saw the works of the early Italian masters which greatly influenced his style. He is also known for establishing the Ateliers d'Art Sacré (Sacred Art Studios) in 1919, where he worked hard towards a revival of religious art. He is a key figure of 20th century Christian art.
Watch the video here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZxmPDKc7DMM&feature=youtu.be
For more study materials see: www.christianart.today/mauricedenis
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