Snapshot Story #23: Louvre copyists learn by painting the masterpieces

In SNAPSHOT STORIES by Janice and George6 Comments

This award-winning photo of one of the copyists at the Louvre, taken by Rose Palmer at Quiltripping, kicks off a new direction for our “Snapshot Stories.”

We’re suckers for great travel photos. They excite us, pull us in.

If we’ve visited the destination, they bring back wonderful memories. If we haven’t been, we quickly bookmark the place, putting it on our travel wish list (needless to say, our wish list is very long).

And there are so many brilliant travel photos out there!

So we’ve opened up our “Snapshot Stories” to feature travel photos by some of the many talented photographers (both hobbyists and pros) whose work has caught our eye. In our series of “Snapshot Stories,” they’ll also share the tale behind the photo they snapped – taking you deeper into the photo and making it more meaningful.

We start with Rose’s photo of one of the Louvre Museum copyists who learn to paint by being copycat artists – and the story that goes with it. Rose won a Finalist award for this in the “Photography: Overall Excellence, Online Publication” category in the recent 2017 North American Travel Journalists Association awards competition.

Rose’s story of the creative copyists at the Louvre

“The Louvre Museum in Paris is known for its great collection of masterpiece paintings.

Since it became a museum for the people during the French Revolution, it has also been open to the public as an art classroom. Professional and amateur artists alike can set up an easel and paint one of the classics. These copyists at the Louvre follow in the footsteps of artists like Picasso, Cezanne and Degas, who also learned by painting other great works of art. To ensure that the final painting cannot be passed off as a forgery, the copy (or pastiche) needs to be larger or smaller than the original, and it cannot include the original artist’s signature.

If you’re visiting the Louvre Museum in the mornings from September through June, you’re likely to see these budding artists at work.

I my case, I encountered this a few years ago when I was chaperoning my daughter’s senior high school girl scout trip to Europe. For most of the girls, this was their first time abroad, and Paris was the climax to a memorable two-week trip. A visit to the Louvre was, of course, a necessity.

I think in some cases, the girls were more entertained by watching the many copyists at the Louvre working away than by looking at yet another large canvas of an artist who was long dead!

As I watched my daughter and a friend take a short break, I was struck by the imagery of the moment.

The girls’ body posture mimicked the posture of the subject the artist was copying (the painting is “Alexander in Babylon” by Charles LeBrun). The photo composition leads the eye from the girls sitting on the bench to the artist to the girl in the painting on the wall. By turning this into a black and white photo, the composition and the contrast of light and dark take center stage.”

READ MORE:  Visiting the Louvre Museum Guide: Skip the Line, Louvre Artwork and Best Louvre Tips

About Rose Palmer

Rose Palmer’s first trip was a one way ticket from Romania when she emigrated with her parents to Chicago. She was exposed to photography as a young girl, watching her father and uncle develop black-and-white family photos. Throughout college, graduate school and raising a family, photography was a common denominator as she took volumes of photos of family travels and of her own children growing up.

Now, she combines her love of travel and photography on her blog Quiltripping because “life is a patchwork of experiences.” She’s particularly drawn to photographing colorful scenery and arresting architecture.

When she’s not traveling or taking photos, she uses her travel destinations as inspiration for unique quilt designs, which have been displayed in national quilt shows.

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Louvre copyists

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