VISIONARY REVUE

HOMAGE TO THE ISLE OF THE DEAD - Pierre Peyrolle

      Peyrolle's fascination with the history of art is most patently manifest in his 'Homage to Böcklin' series, where he has approached the notorious 'Isle of the Dead' no less than three times.
      His first 'homage' combines Böcklin's classic composition with a series of striking images found in photographic sources. The three men who desparately push their barque away from the Ile of the Dead are, in fact, three Italians from a 1966 photo of Florence innundated by flood waters. Meanwhile, the third (and final?) version is more 'painterly' in conception. Each evokes a different response to the imminent event of death.
       "In my first attempt," Peyrolle admitted, "the figures return from the red rocks more or less in a state of panic. That is to say - they want to live! In the last version, the waters are calm and the barque is totally immobile - it doesn't advance at all. The main figure stops because he's perplexed. What lies on the other side?" (46)



 
 
 


PARIS - FALL 2004

BASILEUS E PRINCIPESSA - Pierre Peyrolle

      In the last homage to Bocklin, entitled Basileus and Principessa, the mystery of death and the afterlife is evoked through the painting's atmosphere. The barque moves by its own volition towards the blackened hole in barren rocks. Even Böcklin's trademark cypress trees are missing. This sterile stone amid placid seas is illuminated by a stunning twilight. There are no obvious symbols of Heaven, Hell, or the afterlife journey. Instead, there is only the atmosphere of that twilight sky.
      "The sky is indeed important"
the artist says. "because it is immobile. Those fluffy clouds which we only see at twilight don't move at all. They create the impression of stillness, of time eternally stilled." (47)
      And so, that sense of timelessness, first mentioned by Sérane and also manifest in Henricot's and Di-maccio's Visionary works, re-appears here in Peyrolle's glorious but melancholic meditation on the afterworld.

 
 
 


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