Originally Published in Washington Post on 4/15/2019
Written By: Sebastian Smee
The fire that raged through Notre Dame has made us all look at this great cathedral differently. There’s no getting around it. If you have ever been to Paris, chances are you’re furiously ransacking your memories, digging back into past sensations and worrying about what lies ahead.
In 1914, months before the outbreak of a catastrophic war, Henri Matisse was doing the same.
That year, the artist and his wife, Amélie, abandoned plans to go to Morocco and moved instead into a modest apartment with a view of Notre Dame, on the Quai Saint-Michel in Paris.
Matisse was 44. He had lived in the same building, one floor up, for years, beginning in 1899. In fact, apart from seven years of family life, he had spent his whole adult life living with this same view over the River Seine toward Paris’s most famous cathedral.
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