France through the Eyes of Russian Artists

In September, 2015 artists − participants of the Creative World Project made a journey around France.

Having arrived in Nice, St Petersburg artists went to Sanary-sur-Mer, a small cozy town on the Mediterranean coast.

Sanary preserved the house in which the known explorer of the World Ocean Jacques Yves Cousteau once lived. In this house the scientist kept the deep-sea respiratory apparatus, which he created, in secret from the occupants during the Second World War.

In the morning the local market opens on the Sanary embankment with lots of white yachts. An amazing sight! Fresh fish of different kinds, ripe vegetables, mellow fruit and, certainly, famous pink wine of Provence. At this time the center of the town life is here. However, in several hours at some moment the market is quickly folded. And by midday there is no even a trace of counters as they have never been there. And the embankment turns into the exquisite promenade for citizens.

The artists visited Arles, where in 1888 Van Gogh painted his famous The Night Café; made some sketches in a picturesque village Lourmarin with the 15-century castle, a park and ponds.

Lyon, the administrative center of the Rhône-Alpes region brought some unforgettable impressions to the artists. Founded in the 3rd -1st centuries BC, today Lyon is a large scientific, cultural and industrial center of France.

One of the artists was so charmed by the city that after an afternoon plain-air he went to paint the night landscape late at night. Lyon was shining with lights. However, at 1 a.m. all architectural lighting went out at once. In a moment the city was plunged in darkness. The embankment and the cathedral that the artist was painting suddenly disappeared. As it turned out, there is a ban for night-time illumination of shop windows and external building sides in the majority of cities in France. The artist had to finish his sketch in his hotel room.

The plain-air participants depicted in their canvases Beaune, the city that is a wine capital of Burgundy and is famous for its own wine production; they made some sketches in Bourges, the city known all over the world with its magnificent Cathedral Saint Stephen of Bourges in Gothic style.

After that the artists went to castles Château at Amboise and Château du Clos Lucé rising above the Loire.

In the Renaissance era Château at Amboise was the center of royal power: all Kings of the House of Valois and Bourbon came here. Many political events of that time took place within the walls of the castle fortress. But the greatest fame to the place is brought by the fact that Leonardo da Vinci lived and worked here for three years.

Leonardo da Vinci who already was a known Italian artist moved to France by invitation of Francis I. Since 1516 Leonardo lived in Château du Clos Lucé not far from Château at Amboise. Here in the official title of the First Royal Artist, engineer and Architect Leonardo was working on his numerous projects and painting. Here he finished The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne and as researchers suppose he worked on La Gioconda, which he brought from Florence. And here he was buried in 1519 in the Chapel of Saint-Hubert. The Museum of Leonardo da Vinci is organized in Château du Clos Lucé with reconstructed interiors of the Renaissance era.

Artists also visited French commune Giverny, where Oscar-Claude Monet lived and worked for a long time. After exposure to the manor St Petersburg artists had an opportunity to stay in the museum’s gardens where Monet created his famous Water Lilies for some hours and made some sketches.

The creative expedition finished in Paris with the picture exhibition “France through the Eyes of Russian Artists”.

Evgeny Antipov, Andrey and Elena Bazanovs, Dmitry Egupov, Andrey Kavrizhkin, Olga Krasnoperova, Victor Tikhomirov and Vladimir Shinkarev presented their works in halls of Paris Galerie Jozeph.