Henry Matisse – Chapel of the Rosary

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This is above an outside door.

Tour of Provence – June 11-21, 2017

Day 7 – June 17 – Visit to  the Chapel of the Rosary – Henri Matisse

After our amazing lunch at Paloma we drove to Vence to see the Chapel of the Rosary which was planned and carried out by Henri Matisse for the congregation of the Dominican nuns of Monteils.

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This is a photo of the mock-up that Matisse made – the photo below (from the other website) is the stained glass window on the far right.

Matisse Chapel

For more information on the chapel visit this website.

We weren’t allowed to take photos inside the chapel but that website does have a picture of the lovely blue and yellow stained glass window and I have managed to copy it into my blog!

It also has all the back story about Matisse and how he got involved at the end of his life in designing and building this chapel. He was 77 when the chapel was started.

The chapel itself is so simple and it is beautiful in this simplicity. The walls are white so that the stained glass windows really stand out. The other ‘decoration’ in the chapel are black line drawings – I have some photos of photos of Matisse doing these drawings.

I also took some photos of the priests’ vestments (the robes they wear during a service which change throughout the church seasons). They were different on each side but were works of art in themselves. They are stored behind glass so there are reflections. With the white walls of the chapel, these bright colours must look wonderful.

From the quotes on the wall by Henry Matisse

I want those entering my chapel to feel themselves purified and lightened of their burdens…

This chapel is for me the outcome of a whole life-time of work and the blooming of an enormous, sincere, difficult effort.

 It is not a work I chose to do, but one for which I was chosen by destiny at the end of my road…


 I regard it despite all its imperfections, as my masterpiece… as an effort which is the culmination of a whole life dedicated to the search for truth.

He visited Notre Dame in 1951 and on leaving, he said : “Very well! All of this considered, what is my chapel? And then I thought – it is a flower. It is only a flower, but it is a flower.”

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Matisse’s workroom – the Stations of the Cross are on the far wall, and they are in that position in the Chapel.

The black line drawings are on white ceramic tiles and are huge. As I couldn’t take photos in the Chapel (it is a working chapel) I have taken photos of the photos in the brochure.


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This shows the stained glass window, the altar, and the floor to ceiling black line drawing on ceramic tiles.
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This is the Stations of the Cross – you can just see the tiles. It takes up a whole wall.
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Mary and Jesus

One of the Stations of the Cross and Henry Matisse painting using a long pole.

The colour of the roof tiles was amazing – I love that blue.

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View of St Paul du Vence from the Chapel.
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The cross on top of the chapel.

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