"The greatest intelligence cannot make art happen " - James A McNeill Whistler (1834 – 1903)
The Rock
 

Sea, rocks and Trees


The wild coastline of Monaco, her multicoloured cliffs gleaming in the brilliant sunlight of the Riviera.

The Oceanographic Museum


The imposing 19th century building emerging from the romantic rock face of Fontvieille, the port of Monaco.

Moon over Fort Antoine


Watercolour done by the artist early on a spring morning with the moon still visible over the ramparts of the fortifications of Monaco.

Boats in Port


Fishing boats and yachts mingling together in the old port of Monaco. the yachts' tall masts pointing in the direction of the cliff face's rich pink surface.

Trees on the Fortifications of Monaco


Trees, flowers and old red-brick footpaths emerging from the ancient battlements surrounding the Principality.

the Palace of Monaco


An elegant 19th building (the prince?s palace), perched over the multi-coloured craggy cliffs of Fontvieile.

Preliminary study for Monaco Mon Amour.


The spectator sees a mysterious hanging garden suspended in time and space. There is the hint of a brooding storm from the water vapour rising from the blue Mediterranean sea.See (1789-11).

Fortifications of Monaco


A dramatic and majestic rock formation supporting the massive bulwark of the town's defenses

The Rock


A dramatic painting showing the cliffs on which the medieval builders built the defenses of the Principality of Monaco more than 700 years ago

Final study for Monaco Mon Amour


See (1789-11). Imposing and massive defensive fortifications dominate this scene, guarding the boats below and the medieval town outlined against the blue sky above

The Walls of Old Monaco


Emerging from the fortified ?Rocher? the walls of old Monaco frame the rose, cream and light ochre coloured houses of the city's ancient buildings.

View of old Monte-Carlo


Shows its Bel ?poque buildings perched on the rock, adorned with balconies, terraces and green shuttered windows.

Monaco Mon Amour


Light cobalt blues, violets, deep ultramarines and cool greys are the dominant colours of the image. Behind a tree, is a boy flying a red and white kite

Large Fortifications of Monaco


Shows the massive cut stone bulwark of the ancient city walls. Surrounding trees and foliage, emphasize and frame the protective nature of the imposing structure.

The Gardens of Monaco


The rich colour of Monaco's cliffs and rocky promontories, four yachts ride the choppy waves while the playful shapes of Mediterranean pine trees are perched above.

Boy Flying a Kite


Draft winds guide the kite flown by the boy, standing below the rockface of the Principality, up into its fissured surface.

Old Monte-Carlo


The fortified walls of the Rock covered in foliage and crowned by majestic palms. It is the background to the old, fin-de-si?cle buildings of rue de la Turbie.

The Town of Monaco Ville


Embedded in the greenery that graces the crown of the Rock's defenses.

The Battlements


Detail showing the elaborate defense structure with which the medieval town of Monaco-Ville was defended

Boats sheltering off Monaco


Richly painted sailing and fishing boats lying in the shadow of the cliffs of Fontvieille. Some details of Monaco zoo are just visible above.

Panorama of the Principality of Monaco


The ancient town of Monaco, perched on its famous Rock; in the background the dark ultramarine blue of the sea is visible.

Palace of the Prince of Monaco


The fortifications of the medieval town of Monaco. Below the fortified citadel some 19th century buildings, show their red-tiled roofs.

Sailing Boats below the cliffs of Monaco


In Sailing boats below the cliffs of Monaco. the artist's use of calligraphy and the composition of this work of art evokes the ancient masters of classical Chinese painting.

Cliffs of Monaco


Watercolour showing the beautiful and multi-coloured facets of the cliffs overlooking the Mediterranean at Fontvieille, the port of the Principality.

The Port of Fontvieille


The ancient port of Monaco seen through a rainbow of Cobalts, Cerulean blues, Cadmiums, and Olive greens.

The Roofs of Old Monte-Carlo


Tiled roofs in a jumble of varied shapes and forms from which sprout numerous chimney pots resembling many roof-top Brancusis.

Fort Antoine (large version).


The final version of the painting is based on a number of sepia drawings and watercolours including 0704-001(above). This view of Fort Antoine was possible thanks to the construction of the new port of Monaco. It allowed the artist to view the battlements, for the first time, from a new perspective. See also the 'rollover' on the Artists Studio home page.

Artist painting at Pointe St.Martin, Monaco


This is the painting of a magic garden. In place of Alice in Wonderland we see, instead, an artist (maybe Matthew Moss himself?) seated and painting an enchanted garden, jagged forms and lines of sheer cliff faces covered with trees and bush and agitated Ligurian seas below the ancient citadel of old Monaco, in a place called Pointe St. Martin. The different preliminary watercolours* the artist made before creating the painting were done in-situ. The style of the painting evolved as, gradually, the artist translated the technique of watercolor into the medium of oil painting; this is a mechanism that scholars and his contemporary critics noted J.M.W.Turner used frequently.

As he began the final work on canvas Matthew adopted a more schematic style translating the cliff face's soft rose, ochre and grey watercolour tints into oil-based cadmium red and chinese vermilion pigments. As was inevitable, the soft naturalistic style of a work of art done outdoors mutated into a a different type of canvas, one that was stylised, more abstract albeit keeping some of the scene's realism. Matthew's painting is a fairly faithful rendering of the underlying rather precise and compete preliminary charcoal drawing that the artist composed directly on the canvas. Apart from some photographs taken during the creation of the painting* the underlying drawing is concealed for good, sadly, somewhat like the 'Sinopia' sketches you find beneath Italian Renaissance frescos. That is, unless some future forensic art scholars decide to bring it to light.

The influence of the 1960s paintings by the Chilean painter Roberto Sébastien Matta, who worked in Rome when Matthew Moss was a student there at the Istituto Centrale del Restauro and, in the course of his later years was a fellow resident in the Principality of Monaco, is visible in 'Artist painting at Pointe St. Martin'. This is particularly noticeable in the lower right of the canvas reflected in the composition of a mediterranean pine trees grove beneath which sits our artist painting at his easel. *Monaco Mon Amour, pps 58-9, ISBN 0-943884-01-2

Monaco Port - The lost image


This is a view of Monaco's old port where the local fisherman berthed their fishing vessels long before the yachts began to be a prominent part of the landscape. The watercolour is a lost image because the point from which Matthew Moss painted the scene, the boats nestling in safety below the cliff face and fortified walls of the old part of the Principality of Monaco, no longer exists.

The contemporary landscape painter has, today, much in common with the archaeologist; trying to record or save an image or a site before the builders move in to obliterate the scene forever. The old stone walls that marked the entrance to the port of Monaco on which Matthew sat one early Spring to record this image of the port and the old town was demolished shortly after the work of art was completed. If you go to http://artmontecarlo.com/studio_rembrandt.php you will see that this painting forms the landscape background to at least two of the 'Adventures of Rembrandt' paintings in the series.

Flora in Monaco Monte-Carlo Seascape


FLORA IN A MONACO MONTE-CARLO SEASCAPE is a delicate work of art that shows the human figure in a beautiful and nostalgic Mediterranean landscape. Two strong influences in the artist's conception of this composition are the theme of figures imbedded in a landscape inspired by the Nicolas Poussin’s, 'Landscape with Hercules' Puskin Museum, Moscow circa 1649-51* and the technique used by the Japanese ink and brush (sumi-e) painter Sesshu Tōyō who was working in the 2nd. half of the fifteenth century. His technique, developed from contemporary Chinese painting, tried to depict the actions of everyday life and people going about their business set against the background of majestic landscapes. Matthew Moss shadows both painters in this vertical shaped panorama.

 

The artist's view of Monaco Monte-Carlo shows, in the upper left background, the mist-covered hills overlooking Monaco Bay and Cap-Martin. The landscape is dominated by the majestic Tête de Chien rock formation overlooking Monaco with, below, the Prince’s palace and the impressive walls of the ancient city that the artist has painted in tints of rich red and yellow ochre. We can see the Oceanographic museum, built into the massive cliff face with the sea beneath.

 

To the left is the Plage des Pêcheurs (fishermen’s beach) hidden beneath the rocks and the prison of Monaco. The beach is dominated by a wrecked timber fishing boat beached on the pebble-stoned strand being examined by curious fishermen. The five figures owe their inspiration to a watercolour sketch Matthew had painted many years previously on a visit to the island of Madeira.


This section of the composition is detached from main body of the composition by the ragged white-foamed waves beating powerfully against rocks that cut the left part of the painting. However, on the bottom right, below the cliff-dominated medieval Monegasque city is the early eighteenth century Fort Antoine. The cut stone fortification completes the composition being the backdrop to the figure of Flora the flower-crowned goddess of Spring and abundance dominating the foreground.

Figure in a Monégasque landscape


This recent oil painting by the artist shows the fortified medieval walls of the Principality of Monaco. In the foreground is the boat in which the legendary S.Dévote, the patron of the Principality, was washed up on the coast of Monaco. S.Dévote is shown seated to the left of the City's walls, holding in her hands the palm of a martyr. The painting is a development of the artist's interest in creating the theme of a female figure in the landscape, a subject that had its origins in European Renaissance painting with Giorgione's 'La Tempesta.' The legendary figure of Saint Devote, associated with the landscape of Monaco proves an ideal theme for the artist.