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The way to Calvary

Painting, 1889, 41×33 cm

Description of the artwork «The way to Calvary»

The artists of the group "Nabi" set ourselves a difficult task: to reconcile modern art and the classical tradition, personal experience and spiritual experience of the previous history of mankind. And Maurice Denis is the only one in the group managed to consistently adhere to these tasks all his life, no matter how evolved his personal style or varied techniques.

One of the first meetings of the Nabis, it was decided each artist to bring a sketch most relevant to his internal quest. In accordance with this presentation outline naidam was given comic title. Maurice Denis called then "the Nabi of beautiful icons". A devout Catholic, Danny was concerned about not only the invention of a new expressive language, but also search for "sacred art". Christian art by the end of the XIX century was lifeless and dead - jokingly called "the art of style San Sulpice", in honor of the Paris Church, which flooded the adjacent area of cheap, tasteless Church relics.

The painting "Way to Calvary" refers to the period when Maurice Denis - still an active participant in and theorist of art of the Nabis. He feels the possibilities of composition, color and shape to achieve the desired emotional effect. Refuses from recognizable figures and subjects, but technically very close to abstraction. Even if the picture was of a man who does not know the history of Christianity, he intuitively would guess that the figure, glowing red-gold color is the spiritual center of what is happening. In the direction diagonally from the bottom up and from right to left would feel that this is the way up that this way is slow, difficult and tragic. A person familiar with the gospel stories, of course, will determine the plot point of the ascent to Calvary, when Christ in exhaustion and falls to his knees, and Mary helps him up.

Just a year writing "the Way to Calvary" Maurice Denis is working on graphic illustrations to the poems of Paul Verlaine, "Wisdom", a lyrical and poignant dialogue of man with God. The collection will not be published with illustrations by Maurice Denis, but the paintings have the same properties as the prints for velenovsky verses. Generalized images, Dating back to the medieval tradition, very simple shapes, vague outlines of shapes, merging in a colourful, almost abstract, spots.

Experiments with graphic techniques in the painting of Maurice Denis will inspire long, for the same period is the work "The Calvary" which are connected in the same space beings, celestial and terrestrial, in which the pre-Fauvist colors have not yet been liberated from the symbolic meanings, but rather, used up to the maximum significant. Black mass of people looking up: through the red, through blood, through sacrifice tends to white, to purify, to God.

The trial period of religious images of Maurice Denis is inspired by the works of Paul Gauguin, "Vision after the sermon" he could see at the exhibition in Paris. But by the end of the century the search for "sacred art" and sent Denis to his own vision and style in his work is growing the future, heavenly and earthly gain tangible, three-dimensional realization, the colors are washed to a pure and piercingly clear, sometimes too blessed. A new stage begins - Maurice Denis to paint the new Church, then to restore the war - torn temples. And reconcile in the new sacred art, the accuracy of traditional drawing and emotional range and rhythm of the new art. But youthful bold, emphasized simple, relatively story, very small in size religious paintings Denis pave a direct path, bypassing hundreds of unnecessary, confusing roads leading to the viewer's eyes. They speak without unnecessary details, without details, the gist of it.

Author: Anna Sidelnikova
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About the artwork

Art form: Painting

Subject and objects: Landscape, Religious scene

Style of art: Nabi

Technique: Oil

Materials: Canvas

Date of creation: 1889

Size: 41×33 cm

Artwork in selections: 4 selections