Sense Giving in the Art of Henri Matisse


  • Meerten B. ter Borg Emeritus Professor, Leiden University



Sense-giving, Modern Art, Implicit Religion, Spirituality


Both in face-to-face interactions and in indirect forms of communication, such as art, we are constantly involved with communicating our definition of reality, something which even holds for the ultimate meaning of life, death and suffering. Several works of Henri Matisse, most notably those in the Chapelle du Rosaire at Vence, shed light on aspects of this process of sense giving. Although grounded in everyday life, Matisse’s art rises to the realm of ultimate meaning, and thus provided him with a means of transcending his own suffering.


Elderfield, J. 1978. The Cut-Outs of Henry Matisse. London: Thames and Hudson.

——— 1992. Henri Matisse, A Retrospective. New York: Museum of Modern Art.

Néret, X.-G. Undated. Henri Matisse Cut Outs, Drawing with Scissors. Cologne etc.: Taschen.

Pulvenis de Seligny, M.-T. 2013. Matisse, the Chapel at Vence. London: The Royal Academy of Arts.

Spurling, H. 2006. Matisse the Master. London: Penguin 2006.

———. 1998. The Unknown Matisse. London: Penguin.




How to Cite

ter Borg, M. B. (2016). Sense Giving in the Art of Henri Matisse. Implicit Religion, 19(1), 55–60.