Maurice Denis (1870 -1943) was a French painter, decorative artist, and writer. An important figure in the transitional period between impressionism and modern art, he is associated with Les Nabis, symbolism, and later neo-classicism. His theories contributed to the foundations of cubism, fauvism, and abstract art. Following the First World War, he founded the Ateliers d'Art Sacré (Workshops of Sacred Art), decorated the interiors of churches, and worked for a revival of religious art.
Denis was accepted as a student at one of the most prestigious Paris schools, the Lycée Condorcet, where he excelled at philosophy. However, he decided to leave the school at the end of 1887 and in 1888 enrolled in Académie Julian to prepare for the entrance examination to the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. There he studied with the painter and theorist Jules Joseph Lefebvre.