Jacques Stella - Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon

There are two manners to introduce Jacques Stella (1596-1657), Lyons painter who was one of Poussin's friends: one is historical and sure, the other subjective one and more intrigante. 196 paintings, drawings and engravings joined together for the first retrospective which is finally devoted to him, leave a feeling of uncertainty indeed, as if the artist did not cease concealing himself. The history is however simple: wire of a painter, born and undoubtedly formed in Lyon, Jacques Stella leaves his city for Italy about 1619 and remains there until 1634. After four years with Florence, it is established in Rome and made there a speciality of the religious subjects painted on stone: slates, marbles, onyx. They are images of devotion, invaluable by material and the technical difficulty, but with the not very original composition and the agreed expressions. The great families buy them for their private cabinets and the diplomatic gifts. In 1634, Stella leaves Rome for Spain, where finally it will never go. After a family stay in Lyon, it is destined for Paris to put itself at the service of Louis XIII and Richelieu. It starts to carry out orders for Parisian and Lyons churches, for the royal castle of Saint-Germain-in-Bush hammer, the oratory of Anne of Austria to the Palais Royal. To the appearances, biblical assumptions and baptisms are added some ancient and mythological scenes, occasions for Stella to represent architectures in prospect thoroughly. All that is painted carefully, in average formats, with the concern of being complete in the exhibition of the subject and respectful of the traditions. Each figure is characterized by an attitude, an expression and the color of draped which wraps it. The inevitable comparison with Poussin, met in Rome in 1624 and with which Stella exchanges a considerable correspondence, is disastrous. With the inventiveness of Poussin constructions, with their chromatic orchestrations rougeoyantes, with their cold violence, Stella does not have anything to oppose. He seeks remainder only seldom to compete with his friend, as if he knew the vanity of such a fight. One cannot indeed prevent oneself from seeing in him disillusioned, a melancholic person who, often, painted without really believing in it, by practice and trade more than by pleasure. When it draws, it is anything else: its naked female deadened, its card players, its carriers raising a block of stone, his old woman reading are very beautiful drawings, right in the observation, elliptic in the feature, splendid of clearness. The feather and the washing are employed with a fast and effective lightness. These qualities are found in its series of pastoral intended to be engraved, but they are already weakened there by the will to be correct and clear. In the series devoted to the lives of the Virgin and Christ, they disappeared and Stella becomes again what it is publicly: scrupulous and tedious imagier. From time to time, one would even suspect it of ignoring his work. It produces what one awaits from him, it is all. How to understand if not that the ironic inventor of the Skeleton astrologer - a drawing - could be also the author of fabrics as disastrous as the Death of Joseph saint or the Embalming of Christ? Wouldn't the main thing in the work of Stella be precisely this discordance?

Until 19 february 2007

event of the month in ParisInternet cable unlimited high speed connection included.paris mapMap of the Metro- Parisian SubwayWeather and Temperature in Paris10 excellent reasons to discover le Marais in your lifeguide of saint-germain des presGetting to paris from the aiport roissy charles de gaulle