He was born on November 25, 1870 in Granville. In 1882, Maurice entered the Lyceum Condorcet. Here he meets Orellan Lune-Po, Kerr-Xavier Russell, Eduard Vuillard. The atmosphere here itself had to do with art, and Deni began to engage in drawing. He takes painting lessons, copies the works of other masters.
In 1888, Denis begins training at the Julien Academy in Paris. Later he moved to the School of Fine Arts. The great influence on the beginning artist during this period is rendered by Gauguin, Puvi de Chavanne, Cezanne. Denis becomes a member of the "Nabi" group. Members of this organization aspired to revive the principles of monumental painting. The generality of ideas for a while brought together artists who are members of this group. Creative principles of the "Nabi" Denis formulate in the article "Art and Criticism". The ideas of this trend were reflected in the pictures of Denis. They are distinguished by poverty of colors, soft lines, simplicity of forms.
In 1883, Denis married Martha Merye. Together with her, he travels through Brittany. This trip had a significant impact on the artist's work. Many of his works appear during the honeymoon. The hero of most of these works will be Martha herself.
A new stage in the work of Denis begins in the late 90's, when he travels to Italy. From this moment the artist's works acquire a more traditional character. The intimate charm inherent in his early paintings is gradually disappearing. There is a desire for harmony, monumental forms. The canvases are imbued with religious-mystical moods. During this period, Denis is engaged in the painting of buildings, the creation of theatrical scenery. He takes part in the painting of the church in Vezin, the plafond of the Theater of the Champs Elysees.
In 1908, Denis bought in Brittany villa "Silencio", where he spends several months. In 1919, the artist takes part in the organization of "Workshops of religious art", becomes the head of the "non-traditionalist" trend in painting.
The late period of Denis's work was not very fruitful. Mostly at this time, the artist is working on the design of churches, works on art theory.
He travels a lot, giving lectures. If earlier the basis of the painting Denis considered the composition, then in the later works he pays more and more attention to the plot, working on religious canvases.
Maurice Denis died on November 13, 1943 in Paris, getting under the car.