Fine Arts in the Principality of Monaco

The Principality of Monaco has had a long tradition, from the Renaissance, onwards, in encouraging and supporting artists.

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 Fine Arts in the Principality of Monaco

AN IMPORTANT EARLY RENAISSANCE PAINTER, LOUIS BRÉA, and his brother Antoine, were already engaged in important commissions in the Principality through 1500 to 1505. An important early Renaissance painter was engaged in important commissions in the Principality until 1500 and 1505. Louis Bréa’s altarpiece  depicting St. Nicholas in Monaco Cathedral, painted around 1550, is the oldest painting by an Old Master in the Principality. This work of art shows the influence of contemporary schools from Avignon and Catalonia, with some traces of Flemish art. It is an interesting example of how styles were so international at the time, with painters absorbing ideas from Italian and Gothic art.

The exhibition space has moved this year due to the Rainier III Auditorium conversion to the Covid epidemic Centre.


Death of Titus van Rijn 1668
Matthew Moss, detail of watercolour. The deceased Titus van Rijn, 1668 cradled in the arms of his wife, Magdalena van Loo. He was buried in the Westerkerk. His recent spouse died of the plague epidemic, the following year as the death of Rembrandt,

Stefano Grimaldi, guardian to the future heir to the Monaco throne of, Honoured I, converted the heavily fortified medieval castle  to the style adopted by contemporary Genoese nobility. Peter Paul Rubens made comprehensive drawings of these same buildings during his stay in Genoa. He published them on his return to Antwerp.

Orazio de Ferrari. Genoa 1606-57 was one of the painters of the Italian school appreciated by Prince Onorato of Monaco. Between 1651 and 1652 he commissioned him to paint a series of frescoes in the Palace, including Stories of Hercules. The palace of the Principality contains a small version of his The Capture of Samson, one of his most notable works. In 1652, as recognition of his skill,  the prince appointed him  a knight of the Order of St. Michael. He died in the same plague ridden periood as Rembrandt’s family members, September 1657

Crossing back and forth across the border to the Principality were Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Claude Monet. They loved the perpetual sun and the possibilities it created for developing Impressionist art.  Their raison d’être was always the possibility of composing canvases outdoors rather than creating them in a studio. Claude Monet, in particular, was aware of these advantages and returned to work in Monaco from January to March 1884.

It was a period that unleashed an explosion of energy and the artist became a veritable pictorial machine, creating such splendid paintings as, The sailing boat Aurore, Port of Monaco 1884, presently in Palazzo Ruspoli, Rome. Monet’s great production of 1884 on the Riviera creates a joy and a jolt of pleasure when we unexpectedly find these same paintings he completed in this region hanging various museums around the world.

Principality of Monaco Oceanographic Museum
Watercolour painting; Matthew Moss. Monaco’s Oceanographic Museum of marine science (Musée océanographique, where Matthew has exhibited his larger Monegasque landscapes.
MATTHEW MOSS, Artist with, Paesaggio monegasco.
LEFT :MATTHEW MOSS, Creating MONEGASQUE LANDSCAPE size 100 x 80 cm. Oil on canvas. The pigments used are, among others, Lapis Lazuli from Afghanistan and original Chinese Vermilion. The canvas is Irish ‘crash Linen’, an obsolete now lost artist’s canvas. RIGHT : final version, Monegasque landscape
History of Old Master paintings in the Principality of Monaco
Monaco Mon Amour is a limited edition, illustrated book printed on heavy Italian cartridge paper. The title of the monograph is inspired by the artist’s logo, showing Matthew’s commitment to interpreting the Principality of Monaco’s magical subtropical landscape. A French text accompanies the full coloured landscapes and sepia drawings. Conservation Press, Principality of Monaco 76 pages,hardcover with countersunk illustrated cloth binding. ‘ISBN 0-943884-01-2 . The chapter dedicated to the history of Old Master paintings in the Principality is, at present, the only source available on the subject.

If you need an appraisal of your old painting, contact Matthew Moss at, Free Paintings Evaluation.