Tag Archives: Pere Lachaise cemetery

The Tomb Of Victor Noir

2 Sep

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As Husb and I were wandering around Pere Lachaise cemetery in Paris last week, we passed by this very unusual and beautiful grave, a bronze slab supporting the realistic, corpse-like bronze statue of the young journalist Victor Noir, murdered by a cousin of Napoleon III,  whose death contributed to the overthrow of the Emperor’s regime. The monument by Jules Dalou is beautiful. Dating from the 1890s and stylistically influenced by Art Nouveau, the bronze has weathered to a rich greenish-grey verdigris, except for the areas around the mouth, toes and crotch, which all gleam with the shiny golden yellow of polished bronze.

At some time a myth grew up that the statue confers fertility on those who kiss it – or perform lewd acts upon it! Hence the shiny bits! The local authority erected a fence around it in 2004, but this was removed because of protests from the women of Paris. Rest In peace? I think not.

Drawn into my A5 clothbound sketchbook, prepared with brown wrapping paper, in Faber Castell Pitt drawing pens sizes S, F, M and B; with watercolour washes and a touch of white gouache.

Oscar’s Pink Kisses

29 Aug

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While we were at the Pere Lachaise cemetery in Paris last week, Husb and I visited Oscar Wilde’s grave. It’s very different from the typical ‘little houses’ marking other graves. It was made by Jacob Epstein, inspired by Assyrian carvings, and it’s nudity attracted a lot of controvery, culminating in the testicles being smashed off in the early 1960’s.  Poor thing! There’s a protective glass barrier around it now. A tradition has grown up of planting a pink lipstick kiss on the monument and there were several fresh kisses; some agile visitor had planted one on the statue’s lips.

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Drawn with a Faber Castell Pitt pen, size S and watercolour into my A5 clothbound sketchbook, prepared with ripped brown wrapping paper stuck in with a Pritt stick.

Necropolis And The Linguist

23 Aug

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Husb and I just went away for a few days to Paris and in our last few hours we visited the Pere Lachaise Cemetery. I knew there were famous graves there and we wanted to visit some dead artists but I had no idea what to expect or how amazing the place is. It’s a necropolis; a city of the dead. The area is packed with incredible tombs and monuments, most of them like tiny houses with pointed roofs, doors and stained glass windows, laid out in streets. It’s like walking around a city from a Tim Burton film.

One grave I desperately wanted to visit was the tomb of Jean-Francois Champollion, the French linguist who translated the Rosetta Stone and unlocked the meaning of Egyptian hieroglyphics. The monument is in an older part of the necropolis, rather rundown and ramshackle, but his simple and minimalist memorial obelisk stands out from the strange, ornate little houses surrounding it. It was a very hot day and the place was full of tourists and mourners attending funerals but there was a strange silence underlying it all.

I sat on the ground opposite and worked up this sketch into my A5 clothbound sketchbook that I’d previously prepared with some ripped up brown package paper. I used Faber Castell Pitt pens, sizes S, F, M and B in sepia along with some water colour in black and emerald green and a touch of white conte crayon.

The BBC has a documentary about Champollion and the Rosetta Stone on You Tube.

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