- Category : Art-Fine-art-artist
- Type : MGE
- Profile : 4/6 - Opportunistic / Role Model
- Definition : Single
- Incarnation Cross : RAX The Sleeping Phoenix 4
French religious painter, one of the leading artists and theoreticians of the Symbolist movement. A devout Catholic, he set himself to revive religious painting.
Denis studied at the Académie Julian in 1888 and at the École des Beaux-Arts. Reacting against the naturalistic tendencies of Impressionism, he fell under the influence of the work of Paul Gauguin. He joined in the Symbolist movement and its later offshoot, the group of painters collectively called the Nabis. The quasi-mystical attitude of the Nabis was perfectly suited to Denis's highly religious nature. The Nabis were interested in symbolism and the distortion of shapes and colors to produce a decorative surface rather than a naturalistic representation. With the validation of the Nabis, Denis was able to develop his interest in symbolism and the distortion of shapes and colors to produce a decorative surface rather than natural representation. In 1890 Denis presented his definition of modern painting in the following oft-quoted words: "It should be remembered that a picture--before being a warhorse, a nude, or an anecdote of some sort--is essentially a flat surface covered with colours assembled in a certain order."
Denis gave a new impetus to religious art in France, and in his critical essays he formulated many of the principles of cubism and Fauvism.
In 1917 he did frescos for the church of St. Paul and designed stained glass and church furnishings, gaining note for his colored lithographic illustrations. He published "Definitions of Neo-Traditionalism," released in 1890, two books of Theories and a history of religious art in 1939. In 1919, Denis attempted to revive the teaching of religious art and co founded the Studios of Sacred Art.
Denis died from injuries sustained in a car accident in Paris, France in November 1943, dates variously given as 2nd, 3rd or 13th.