dimanche 12 juin 2011

Paradise and Chaos and Paris I

This is my very last mural. I was there on Friday evening to check out the way my ( studio made) varnish had dried and how the mural was lit by newly installed spotlights.

It is located in the very nice rue Madame , in the heart of Paris, quariter Latin ( the prestigious schools and colleges area) between the Jardin du Luxembourg and Place St Sulpice.

My clients have owned an appartment in this street for years and they just bought another one in order to have a direct access from street level.
They totally remodeled the whole space and as part of the lower level had been used and redesigned for offices they needed a strong decorative solution for the stairwell.

They have a passion for XVIIth century flemsih and dutch painters and asked me to work from compositions like this one , from Brueghel.

I did researches, sketches and came up with a pretty big oil sketch. Here it is with superimposed composition geomatrical pattern.

In this part of the composition I chose to represent a "Paradise" scenery similar to the Brueghel's with all sorts of animals, predators and prays "living in harmony".
But as there is a second wall I could not see me apinting the same thing on it.
I took time to meditate about it and had the idea of representing "Paradise" or an appolonian vision of the world on one side and "chaos" or a dyonisian vision of the world on the other .
Here is the sketch for the second wall :

At that point my clients aked me to introduce a statue of Pan (  located in the nearby Jardin du Luxembourg)  in the mural , .
Here is the picture they sent me...

...and here is my version of it, integrated into the landscape:

It was a perfect fit for my concept fot the whole !!

Everything made sense now. As you walk up the stairs, the first thing you see is "Chaos", with a wild nature , a dense view stuffed with trees and bathed in a golden light, animals hidden in bushes and forest and a mythological god who seems to celebrate the wilderness.
On the other side, "Paradise", in a much more opened landscape, a soothing evening light , flowers and animals resting together by a cascading stream...
I do not have very good pictures of the whole thing yet but here are few that I took right before and after installation... "Paradise" side first:

I swear this one is for real. WE really had quite a few air bubbles to fix and there really was one by the butt of the lion that Malek is shown here filling it up with diluted glue in the seringe :-)

Detail of the parrots in "Paradise"

"Chaos" before...

...and right after isntallation as we were painting the two medallions we added on the crown molding.

This was, again, a typical "decorative painter's work". Indeed, I had to study and understand a style (Brueghel's), connect it to the work of painters of the same period  ( from Rubens and Carraci to Poussin, Lorrain and the likes) , adapt the composition and technique to a pretty big scale ( this was totally painted in oils) and use specialized craftsmanship to install it seamlessly in strong raking light.
I was glad when it was over, even more so as my clients were really happy , I think I can say that I realized one of  their dreams for this new home.

3 commentaires:

  1. A beautiful — no, stunning — solution. Your architectural elements transform the architecture of the stairwell, I really like the expanse of distance that you've achieved, and the waterfall that cascades next to the stairs is especially delightful. Beautiful!

  2. Thank you very much Mark. I also think it dramatically changes the feel of this rather severe stairwell. It was avery hard commission, I had to navigate between some of the archaisms of this XVIIth century landscape style and the necessity to make it work on a grand scale,... very tough.
    It is so easy to drift away and start painting like XVIIIth or XIXth century painters ...I always had to control my brushwork and was surrounded by books on Rubens, Tiziano,some flemish painters...opened up on the floor of the studio!

  3. Oh yes, I love your work. the owners of the apartment are so fortunate to have you paint for them.