Matisse’s Chasubles for the Vence Chapel

Les Chasubles de Matisse pour la Chapelle de Vence

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This books present a set of unpublished creations of Matisse.


Between 1950 and 1954, Matisse entirely dedicated himself to the creation of the Vence Chapel (Alpes-Maritimes, France). Result of a lifetime of work, it is considered a total work of art. Matisse designed every detail of this place of prayers and contemplation: architecture, stain glass, wall ceramics, furniture and liturgical vestments. Matisse even created a series of cutout gouaches chasuble models. They were later made in fabric and used during religious services. For the creation of these chasubles, Matisse had to work around a preexisting model and six mandatory colors from the catholic tradition with precise symbolic purposes:

-        White is used for the main Christian celebrations: Christmas, Easter, the Ascension and the Assumption;

-        Green, symbol of Redemption and Hope, is used over half of the year;

-        Red, the color of fire, is used during Passion, Pentecost, the Solemnity of the Apostles and all the martyrs;

-        Purple refers to periods of penitence, the Advent and Lent;

-        The pink chasuble is used only two Sundays a year, during the Advent and Lent;

-        Black is used for burial services and Ash Friday, the anniversary of the Christ’s death.

These chasubles are priest robes, but they also belong to fashion design, which Matisse was always passionate about. Christian Dior came to see the chasubles and insisted on how “haute couture” they are…

Chasubles Matisse

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Number of pages
15 x 21 cm

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