Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Patrick Poivre de la Freta, my sculpture teacher - mentor - coach

I committed to talk a little about him before year end, so here it is.

Male love was his oxygen, .............  A real artist, in many directions. As a painter he opened two galleries in France - Brittany and St Paul de Vence. He mastered silk painting, for Givenchy and others. Had several 'periods' in his painting career, such as abstract, onirism, surrealism, lyric expression, figurative. He was a student of Salvador Dali in Paris. Also active as a writer, as a sculptor, creating furniture design, numerous frescoes and trompe-l'œil, as well as a wall mosaic like the one below in a bathroom (private collection).



Patrick was my sculpture mentor and coach, and I will forever be grateful for the time spent with him, receiving his guidance and encouragements to pursue and develop my sculpture work.

I was regularly bringing to his studio my work in progress, to spend a few hours while he was painting or drawing or writing, and checking from time to time my clay or stone work, showing me how to better express a neck move, insisting on the tension to be shown to be more expressive, and even to dare do large cuts! As an example, below is one of my sculptures in his painting studio.

I would not sculpt during almost my full -available- time today if I had not met him.
So, thank you, Patrick !

The photo below shows Patrick in his home and studio, taken after lunch and some flavoured rhums... together with Eric, one of his models for the major sculpture project, the Ignudi


Below is one of Patrick's 20 Ignudi waterlocors, choosen for Pascal's pose.


The next 3 photos were taken during one of the photo shootings, showing Pascal then Eric, posing under Patrick guidance for 2 of the Ignudi planned sculptures (pictures of models are published with the models' approval - all rights reserved).


Patrick last project : to sculpt the 20 ignudi from the Sistine Chapel!

Michelangelo painted Chapel Sistine ceiling during four years (between 1508 & 1512) at the commission of Pope Julius II. Initially he refused to do it, as he considered himself more of a sculptor than painter (and we will see in future posts some sculpting masterpieces of nude male sculptures from him). But forced to do it, he negotiated to get a total freedom for this giant work.

"The Ignudi are the 20 athletic, nude males that Michelangelo painted as supporting figures at each corner of the five smaller narrative scenes that run along the centre of the ceiling. The figures hold or are draped with or lean on a variety of items which include pink ribbons, green bolsters and enormous garlands of acorns." ...        "Their painting demonstrates, more than any other figures on the ceiling, Michelangelo's mastery of anatomy and foreshortening and his enormous powers of invention." (source Wikipédia).

These 20 «ignudi» have been with Patrick for many years, as he started with a serie of watercolors called 'The Sistine Chapel revisited' from the early 90s.  Then he wanted to include them in his next adventure!

Indeed, aged 65, Patrick envisioned his latest artistic challenge, in sculpture. He felt that, maybe, Michelangelo would have loved to sculpt these 20 nude sitting men. Patrick's contemporary 'twist' was to take models living or visiting regularly St Martin, to add a contemporary item linked to the model, and a body pose matching fully the Michelangelo characters. Below one of the character in clay, and a detail of his first bronze.

Patrick planned to do all these sculptures in 2010-2011. But unfortunately a sudden unexpected cancer stopped him in March 2012.

                                                                                                               Photo Jean-Marc Riva.

Tropismes Gallery, and Art Lovers

Patrick was a co-founder of Tropismes Gallery, in Grand Case, together with Paul Elliot and Nathalie Lepine, gallery which displays contemporary art pieces from local and international artists.
During 3 years, he also acted as secretary of Art Lovers Association, founded by Denis Thuleau, which promotes the St Martin island's artists and organizes each year the Art Lovers weekend, during which most of artists' studios are open to the public.

Some highlights 

Born in Paris in 1944, he won a few prizes in poetry during his youth and started to paint. He spent 2 years in the French navy (theme which can be seen in many of his paintings), and opened his first gallery in Brittany at age 33. He was a student of Salvador Dali. Then opened his second gallery in St Paul de Vence. Many personal exhibitions in France, Los Angeles, Brussels, Munchen, Chiraz Persépolis Festival (Iran), Montréal, Ottawa, Chicago, Caribbean islands. Moved to St Martin in 1997. Patrick's legacy for all image rights from his paintings, drawings and works in general has been given to Yves Carteau, photographer.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Antinous (6) Contemporary versions!

 A superb contemporary large private wall mosaic, by the artist Shawn Postoff.

Another sculpture style by the Mexican artist Enrique Estrada.

And another version of contemporary art, this time a 'sculptured engraved glass'.
Copyright Othmar Rohm.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Antinous (5) Exhibitions & links

In 2012, the Villa Hadriana in Tivoli (Rome) organized the exhibition called 'Il Fascino della Bellezza' (Antinous, captivated by beauty). Catalogue available at IbsIt.

Previously, other exhibitions included :

In England, at the Henry Moore Foundation : 'Antinous: the Face of the Antique'
Exhibition 24th May 2006 - 26th August 2006. Catalogue available on Amazon.

In Berlin, in 2005, at the Pergamon Museum, 'Geliebter und Gott' (Lover and God).
Catalogue available at WorldCat.

Still in England, at the British Museum, 'Hadrian Empire & Conflict.
24 July - 26 October, 2008. Catalogue available on Amazon.

Some links :
Among the dozens of websites or blogs telling the love story between Antinoüs and Hadrien, or related to the arts and architecture projects from Hadrien era, here is a few:
Antinoos info and the virtual museum displays a comprehensive collection of Antinoüs portraits, paintings, sculptures etc. sorted by country and town.
The Farnèse collection from the Archeological Museum of Naples is well described here by Auror art & soul.
The online database of ancient art allows extensive search by artist or period.
The artist and designer John Coultart in his feuilleton listed some of the exhibitions about Antinoüs.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Antinous (4) in France

Among the various sculptures of Antinoüs in France, these are the ones I like a lot.
Below (in Diagonales du Temps blog).

Antinoüs from Capitole, in the Beaux Arts Museum garden in Lyon.

Ecouen bust in the Louvre Museum (Paris). This marble bust from the 18th century is a copy, and part of the French Royal Collections (diplomatic gifts often received from Italy).


Louvre Museum - Paris


Saturday, December 7, 2013

Antinous (3) in Rome

In Rome, two Antinoüs sculptures at least became famous. I would love to reach that level of quality.

Often we can see short and irregular hair, large eyes, well marked eyebrows. The face seems thinking, looking down. Full cheeks and neck from a young man.

The Castel San Angelo, within the Hadrien Villa, displays this one. Photo by Tagus.

                           Antinoo by TAGUS

And the one from Belvédère, found in the 16th century, one of the first sculptures of Antinous. Superb face and torso move. So well done, that this sculpture will be the example of right proportions for students. Even if 200 years later some experts do not attribute it to Antinoüs anymore.

Engraving / print from the Musée des Antiques. By Pierre Bouillon (French) 1790-1810



Saturday, November 23, 2013

Antinous (2) in Naples, and some contemporary versions

Other beautiful Antinoüs sculptures are displayed in the Archeological Museum of Naples, in the Farnèse collection.
This sculpture face has been used extensively in many media, being paintings, drawings, book covers.


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Antinous & Hadrien's love (1)

Currently working on another male couple sculpture, I will not post pictures of a new personal work before some time. So, lets discover other ones!

A tout seigneur tout honneur ! We will start with Antinoüs, probably the most sculpted young man ever, despite the fact he was neither a Statesman nor a philosopher, but simply who was loved.
(Marguerite Yourcenar, in Mémoires d'Hadrien : "alors que son visage, ne fut ni celui d'un homme d'Etat ni celui d'un philosophe, mais simplement qui fut aimé'''.

Everything is said. Antinoüs became in spite of himself a gay icon.

To make a short story : the Roman Emperor Hadrian fell in love with Antinous, who joined him on many trips (Italy, Greece, Egypt). Antinous drowned in the Nile at 20. Mad with grief , Hadrian founded Antinoopolis. And through the Roman Empire, many cities erected statues in honor of Antinous and a cult developed in favor of the 'god' Antinous, as well as the construction of temples in his honor. This cult was extremely developed, and the last one before Christianity.
From the hundreds of interpretations in stone, besides painting or drawings, we will only retain those that move us the most. And also those who are perhaps less known but important.

The one below is from the Vatican museum - The sculpture was reportedly found in Palestrina. White marble. First 3 photos by S. Sosnowskiy.



Marguerite Yourcenar's Mémoires d'Hadrien was very present in my mind while preparing this Antinoüs series, together with other sources that will be summarized at the end.

So I will dare to share a little family souvenir: surprisingly both my grandfathers have maintained a small correspondence with Marguerite Yourcenar (without colluding one suspects). One of them even had the privilege (?) of helping her to 'strip' at his home (and it took some time given the amount of buttons!) before she put on her official coat for her entrance at the 'Academie Française'. She was the first female member to be elected at the French Academy.

Next month we celebrate the 25th anniversary of her death, December 17, 1987.

Antinoüs B&W photo below from Animula Vagula Blandula blog.

                                                               Marguerite Yourcenar
                                 (Brussels Belgium June 8, 1903 - Maine USA, Dec 17, 1987)

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Thinking : the sculpture (2)

Other view of the sculpture.

It is such a sensual and powerful feeling to pass the hand on that muscular back, to feel the smoothness of patina together with the strength and weight of the bronze.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Thinking : the sculpture (1)

Here it is!
A few dozens of hours of hard work...
Made in bronze, numbered I/IV (Artist proof), dimensions 7 x 5 x 4 in.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Thinking : the start

One of my sculpture of a male nude man, who seems to rest and think, was inspired by my mentor Patrick Poivre de la Freta who draw me an outline that you can see below.

Patrick was an incredible artist, and I will write more about him and his work and fabulous life later this year.

I spent a fair amount of time thinking about the sculpture that I would create from that little drawing.
Should I start from the top ? From the face ?
I wanted to express some strength, still in a kind of sleeping or resting mode...