French religious painter and theoretician of modern art. Maurice Denis was born in Granville and belonged to the Nabis, painters who were influenced by Odilon Redon and Paul Gauguin, and were interested in symbolism and the distortion of shapes and colors to produce a decorative surface rather than a naturalistic representation. Maurice Denis, influenced by Georges Seurat, also experimented with pointillism. In addition to religious murals, he designed tapestries and stained glass windows. 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.
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