When Henri Matisse, who professed to be an atheist was asked “Do you believe in God”, he answered: Yes, when I am working.

In this beautiful video, Morgan Meis visits Chapelle du Rosier de Vence, the chapel Matisse called his “masterpiece”. He designed for Dominican sisters, one of whom was his friend. The short film is a wonderful interplay of the chapel itself and clips of Matisse working. We find it a perfect little visit to start a Monday morning.

Meis’ commentary illuminates what it’s like to experience the spare space, as well as Matisse’s process and motivations:

The substance he was working with— the material—was light

…All his life, he was trying to create a sense of calmness in his pictures or in his art. He said the reason was because he himself was in need of peace, and I really relate to that. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t have moments of anguish and anxiety and inner turmoil, and he suffered from that throughout his life. And in his work, he created something which eased that. And what else can you ask of a great work of art?

Said Matisse:

When I am submissive and modest, I feel myself to be greatly helped by someone who causes me to do things that exceed my capabilities. However, I cannot acknowledge him because it is as if I were to find myself before a conjuror whose sleight of hand eludes me.

It echoes two things we’ve long believed: that the work we do best —our true vocation — often gives us that which WE need, which is why we are good at it…


…if we can put ourselves in an attitude of listening, something bigger than ourselves comes through us, though we have never put a name to it. That is the creative process.

via The Dish 

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2 replies on “‘My Only Religion is Love of the Work to Be Created’: Matisse

  1. Only three colors: yellow, blue & green. The so-called “light primaries.” Unity in a Trinity?

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