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09 September 2019Henri Matisse's Unexpected Masterpiece: the chapel at Vence
14 October 2019The Wind in the Willows Revisited Through its Illustrators
11 November 2019Dumfries House: an Ayrshire Renaissance
09 December 2019Netherlandish Influences on Italian Art

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Henri Matisse's Unexpected Masterpiece: the chapel at Vence Ray Warburton Monday 09 September 2019

Henri Matisse described the Chapel of the Rosary at Vence, on the Cote d’Azur, as his ‘masterpiece’, and many current leading art historians agree with him. However, during its construction from 1948-52 many of Matisse’s contemporaries were caught by surprise given Matisse’s lack of religious conviction and reputation as a painter of sexualized women and the good life. This lecture will explain what inspired him to design, decorate and fund the chapel, and who he collaborated with. Beautiful images of the stained-glass windows and ceramic murals from the chapel’s interior will be shown. Reactions to the chapel will be given including Pablo Picasso’s famous jibe that Matisse should have built a fruit and vegetable market instead. Comparisons will be made with Picasso’s Temple of Peace at Vallauris, which some say he created in a rebuke and response to Matisse’s Chapel. However, as usual between the two great artists, the story was more complicated than that. 

Ray studied art history at the Open University and the University of Buckingham. He is a Guide at Tate Britain and Tate Modern, who leads public tours of all the permanent displays and also undertakes exhibition tours. He is an experienced public speaker who has given presentations and lectures on a range of themes to diverse audiences over many years.