Monaco Mon Amour
The Principality of Monaco and the Riviera is, after Paris, the region where artists have traditionally chosen to live and work. It has attracted major painters from early in the nineteenth century thanks to its mild climate and accessibility to major European capitals. Matthew's paintings of the Principality of Monaco show the Monegasque landscape with its red-tiled houses, the Rock set against the clear blue of the Mediterranean sea and the sculptural forms of the medieval fortifications. The Monaco paintings presented in the collection began life as a sequence of drawings. The paintings in the Monaco Mon Amour series show the spontaneity of canvases painted outdoors directly in front of the subject.
The large and magnificent canvas Monaco Mon Amour was the centerpiece of Matthew Moss' landmark exhibition of the same name held in Monte-Carlo in the Fall of 2003.
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.