Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Matisse Chapel

Chapelle du Rosaire
I came across this video at Idle Speculations (one of the most beautiful blogs online BTW) - and I had to post this for Sunday morning.  Terry at Idle felt the commentary was a bit over the top, but I found it rather moving.  The young commentator seems to be deeply moved within the wonderful light of the chapel, though he seems not to understand religion - just yet. 
I have seen the chapel before, but I'm not sure my readers have.
Thanks to Terry of Idle Speculations.


  1. I am sure you know this already - but we all should remember that great art comes from good patrons, not artist.,9171,800402,00.html
    This article mentioned the chapel but more importantly, it was Fr Couturier whose vision that really started it all. (OK OK, I know what someone would say - God is ultimately the Artist.)

  2. It is lovely, thanks for sharing.
    As you say, "The young commentator seems to be deeply moved within the wonderful light of the chapel, though he seems not to understand religion - just yet." Who knows what seeds this experience may have planted in his life? The commentator mentions both his own and the artist's search for peace. Hopefully he will find"...the peace of God, which transcends all understanding."

  3. Thanks Br. - BTW - I didn't get the last part of your email address - but I don't really know of one site that has all of the new saints or lay people up for canonization, as you asked.

    Melody, my thoughts as well.

  4. Well, the light streaming through the colored windows creates a sorta beautiful glow on the walls inside, but as for the rest of the "art" on the walls--I'm not much for it, it looks more like graffiti, and would distrub my sense of peace, the only thing about his work that is lovely, is his use of strong colors.

  5. I don't mean to belittle Matisse or his chapel, but I'm not too enamored with it.

  6. Maria1:14 PM

    And the light shineth in darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
    John 1:5
    Thank you, Terry.

  7. Thank you for the link and the kind comments.

    I agree with Brother William OFM that we should not forget Fr Couturier. His vision and efforts after the Second World War were great and are now not really appreciated.

    The Western Confucian links to "The Other Modern" articles in The New Liturgical Review. Many modern artists not regarded as "religious" did have a religious sense and the scope of their output of religious work is surprising and astonishing. Labels are often misleading. After all, Matisse described himself as an "atheist".

  8. Lovely chapel..thanks for sharing..

    Most small chapels I've experienced are rather dark and dreary..I loved the light in this one, and the gorgeous stained glass windows casting their light upon the polished floor.

    I wished they could have spent a bit more time with the Stations of the Cross figures..what I like about stick figures is that they could be any of us, experiencing our own Way of the Cross, and suggesting rather than out-and-out "saying", like how the Stations of the Cross devotions suggest our own participation.


  9. Clare Krishan7:40 AM

    Is art not rather like speaking in tongues - some hear their own language in the "words/works" of others, certain others of us in a certain other tongue/cultural tradition.

    The call to holiness is universal:
    (the bas relief at the rear narthex - back of church, where we enter in, sinful and sad, to approach the altar facing the rising dawn of Christ glorious resurrected ascended and seated the the right hand of the Father. (The apse mosaic Pantokrator of the DC Basilica puts the fear of God in me, I'd much rather have Matisse's illuminated stained glass Tree of Life) but for some the stations of the cross graffiti it may be just the "word" they needed to hear at that moment, no, resonating best within their own crooked lifelines ? The pain of sin is real, the healing salve (the BBC guy used the word "peace") of mercy also!

    Its real - even if you have not experienced the language to articulate it yet! That's our job to evangelize as burning bushes unconsumed by incinerating passion!

  10. michael r.9:02 AM

    It is an extraordinary work of art. The vestments he created are as equally stunning as the windows. And we need remember that this was done years before Vatican II. It was originally designed for the traditional rite of the Mass.

  11. Clare I like that analogy very much. Thanks. Michael, you are correct.


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