Communicants (Spiritual Motive)

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Maurice Denis

French, 1870 - 1943

Communicants (Spiritual Motive), 1891

  • Not On View

Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 12 7/16 × 15 9/16 in. (31.6 × 39.5 cm)

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Martin Ryerson, 1939.8

As a profoundly religious man, Maurice Denis produced several symbolic paintings. Motif spirituel is closely linked to a larger canvas executed in the same year entitled Mystère des Paques (Easter Mystery; now in the Art Institute of Chicago). This canvas is not a fragment but is instead a self-contained composition that closely resembles the upper right corner of the larger picture. In this smaller work, Denis presents a procession of communicants in an atmosphere of quiet meditation, though he does not indicate where they are headed. He frequently drew inspiration for his art from his faith, however, his intellect and poetic sensibility kept these subjects from turning into banal reflections.

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