The Vatican Museums in Rome will open a room devoted to the work of French artist Henri Matisse later this year.  The Vatican has been attempting to expand its contemporary and modern religious art department in the last few years and will display large-scale sketches relating to the work Matisse did for La Chapelle du Rosaire de Vence (Chapel of the Rosary in Vence), France.   The works were donated to the Vatican by Henri’s son Pierre Matisse in 1980.

Some of the works soon to be on view include sketches done by Matisse to create the Tree of Life stained glass window behind the altar in Vence and the Virgin and Child depiction in the chapel’s presbytery.  The works are currently being conserved as they had previously been glued to panels and some of the adhesive has seeped through to the surfaces.

La Chapelle du Rosaire de Vence
La Chapelle du Rosaire de Vence
La Chapelle du Rosaire de Vence, "Tree of Life" stained glass on Right
Henri Matisse, "Vierge a l'enfant debout" (Virgin and Child), 1949, lithograph created and published as part of La Chapelle du Rosaire project
Henri Matisse inside La Chapelle du Rosaire, Life Magazine, 1951. Photo: Life/Dmitri Kesse