The beautiful Bellini Chapel
In the heights of Cannes lies this incredibly beautiful chapel, which formerly belonged to the neighboring property, Villa Fiorentina, an Italian-inspired Baroque villa from 1880.
It was a rich period in which English winter holiday interests resulted in a construction boom of magnificent mansions along the entire Riviera.
For the Cannes area, it was especially the English Chancellor Lord Brougham who was the catalyst for Cannes to begin a rapid development from a small fishing village to the fashionable world city we know today. Read more about Lord Brougham here.
In 1953, Villa Fiorentina and the chapel are parceled out and sold. The artist Emmanuel Bellini took advantage of this and bought the chapel, which he then arranged for his studio.
When Bellini dies in 1989, his daughter, Lucette Bellini, takes over the chapel and she continues her father’s work with her own studio. The chapel, simultaneously, becomes a museum for Emmanuel Bellini and his works.
Lucette Bellini, having no children and to make sure her father’s legacy lives on in the future, bequeaths the chapel to Cannes.
However, she has two conditions that come with the gift. Firstly, the chapel must be open to the public and secondly, Bellini must be the only artist on display. The municipality accepted both conditions.
The artist Emmanuel Bellini
Bellini (1904-1989) was born in Monaco in the “Belle-Epoque” era into a working class family of Italian descent.
The idyllic surroundings with all its colors and moods became a fundamental inspiration in the young artist’s mind.
He begins his education by apprenticing as an architect with the famous architect Charles Dalmas in Nice. The work with the purity of the lines has undoubtedly influenced his artistic work.
This inspired him to create the iconic posters for the Automobile Club of Monaco.
His first exhibition came in 1949 in Paris at the Gallerie Lambert and soon after many other exhibitions followed around Europe.
Bellini’s style is inspired by Impressionism, but with accents of Fauvism.
The growing success enabled him to buy the chapel at Cannes.
In addition to being his studio, he entertained a number of famous people – including Mireille Mathieu, Miro and Prince Rainer III.
His works hang in museums around the world and, by visiting the Bellini Chapel, you will get an insight into this unique artist’s works and work.
Briefly about Villa Fiorentina
This stunning Italian-Baroque villa was built by Lord Julian Goldsmith and taken over in 1894 by Phillippe Comte Vitali. And it is precisely Vitali who built the chapel in 1894.
The opulent property overlooks the entire Bay of Cannes, is on 2 floors with originally 12 bedrooms.
Villa Fiorentina is then taken over by Princess Daria Karageorgevich of Serbia, before the property is subdivided in 1953 and Bellini buys the chapel. The villa is currently not available to the public.
By Tommy Sverre / 2021