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Artists Maurice Denis

Maurice Denis

French Painter, Illustrator, Theorist, and Writer

Maurice Denis Photo
Movements and Styles: Symbolism, Les Nabis, Post-Impressionism, Japonism

Born: November 25, 1870 - Granville, France

Died: November 13, 1943 - Paris, France

"I believe that art should sanctify nature."

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Maurice Denis is perhaps unique amongst avant-garde French painters of the late nineteenth century in combining a strong commitment to formal and stylistic innovation with an equally profound sense of the significance of tradition: in art, culture, and, perhaps above all else, religion. His boldly colored, vibrant paintings, like those of the artists with whom he is generally grouped together - Paul Sérusier, Pierre Bonnard - express a commitment to abstraction, and to relaying the inner life of the soul, which is, at one level, quintessentially modern. But unlike his peers, the soul which Denis sought to express was integrally shaped by his religious faith which can already be sensed from his earliest paintings as a member of the Nabi group which he co-founded in 1888, and which would lead him, later in life, to activities such as church renovation and altarpiece design. By the end of his life, Denis was also renowned as an art critic, having produced a series of influential essays on aesthetics and spirituality.

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