Eurydice by Maurice Denis at the Alte Nationalgalerie Berlin, Germany

Welcome to “Art, Culture & Books” with me Anthony King. Today I’ll be taking you on a photographic tour of Eurydice by Maurice Denis, 1903-1904, Oil on canvas at the Alte Nationalgalerie in Berlin, Germany.

As always, I take all the photos and videos myself on location, ensuring you get an up-close and personal view of the fascinating world of art and culture. I’ll be popping in and out with commentary as this video progresses but for now let’s take a close up look.

Maurice Denis, a French painter, decorative artist, and writer, was born on 25 November 1870 and died on 13 November 1943. His father, of humble peasant origins, served four years in the army before finding employment at the railroad station. Meanwhile, his mother, the daughter of a miller, pursued a career as a seamstress. Denis played a pivotal role in the transition from impressionism to modern art, aligning himself with symbolism and later embracing neo-classicism. His theories laid the groundwork for cubism, fauvism, and abstract art. By the early 1890s, Denis had formulated an artistic philosophy that remained largely unchanged throughout his career — the belief that the essence of art lies in expressing love and faith, concepts he saw as synonymous.

The recognition of Maurice Denis’s name should be more widespread, given the diversity of his work, ranging from Church designs to captivating book illustrations and other forms of design.

Eurydice, a painting by Denis, delves into mythology, depicting a character from Greek mythology — the nymph wife of Orpheus. Orpheus, a legendary hero with extraordinary musical abilities, attempted to bring Eurydice back from the dead through his enchanting music. Although not necessarily part of a series, Denis created multiple canvases featuring Eurydice and Orpheus.

On 24 March 1895 he wrote in his journal:

“Art remains a sure refuge, the hope of a reason in life from now on, and the consoling thought that little beauty manifests itself in our lives, and that we are continuing the work of Creation….Therefore the work of art has merit, inscribed in the marvellous beauty of flowers, of light, in the proportion of trees and shape of waves, and the perfection of faces; to inscribe our poor and lamentable life of suffering, of hope and of thought.”

By Anthony King (c)