This intimate yet coffee table-sized book charts the realisation of Henri Matisse’s final masterpiece, the Chapel of the Rosary in Vence on the French Riviera. Hailed as one of the most iconic religious spaces of the 20th century – Matisse considered it the culmination of his career – this building is a landmark in the story of French modern art.

Artfully illustrated, this book outlines the chapel’s conception and design, down to each hand-painted detail, with a particular focus on the importance of light, which was essential to Matisse’s religious and artistic vision. Finishing with a series of images showing the effects of sunlight through the chapel’s floor-to-ceiling stained glass windows, this book is the closest you’ll get to experiencing its serenity without making the trip in person and works as a fine tribute to Matisse’s contemplative final years.

Matisse: The Chapel at Vence by Marie Thérèse Pulvenis de Séligny. Published by the Royal Academy of Arts, £60.

Reviewed in the February-March 2014 issue of France Today. This book is available for purchase at the France Today bookstore.

 

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