Anna Belleforte

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Fouquet's Chateau

Posted by Anna Belleforte on June 15, 2017 at 4:30 PM

A final tourist stop at Vaux-le-Vicomte, the precursor to Versailles, built by Louis XIV’s finance minister. I’m of two minds. The ridiculous opulence of it all. It’s what happens when someone has too much money, or rather, access to too much money since it was embezzled from taxpayers (for which he was fortunately jailed). But then, how amazing that creativity was funded and given free reign; architect, artist and landscaper working from scratch to create a kind of perfection in their time. Inside I was most drawn to the furniture and its total outmodedness: daybeds, skinny-legged writing desks, cabinets with a hundred tiny drawers. One such cabinet had splices of polished rock, framed as special features, which had the look of tonal landscapes. It’s interesting that in the 17th century, an age of realistic painting and portraiture, they recognized a sort of abstract art in these.

It is the tangible aspects of making art that appeal to me most: lines (clean or broken), creating tonal contrasts, making marks, mixing colours and seeing what happens… while I struggle most with the intangible: deriving purpose out of these actions and injecting or uncovering ‘meaning’ in the art, which seems to be what the art world deems necessary. (Though I do believe the meaning is often attached by others in that art world after the making.) But these 17th century designers weren’t at all concerned with this. They just put the materials they worked with out there, in the best possible light. Purely for the visual pleasure of it. If there is such a thing as universal beauty, then I believe it is what results from human hands crafting materials from their surroundings, which can take any number of forms but will never fail to be visually appealing to the human eye.


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Reply Sheryl
10:30 AM on June 17, 2017 
I love craft work too. Am currently very taken with beaten copper work. I saw some beautiful examples in a National Trust property last year and was so taken with the way that they catch the light. especially in the room where they were displayed which had the extremely low watt bulbs in the lamps to denote candle light. I cannot afford to buy much - not being in the same purchasing league as Louis XIV?s finance minister! ;-) - but have treated myself to a large copper water jug which catches the light in the hall. The jug was not made as a work of art but as a practical object and yet it has attained value as a work of art since it was produced. I also enjoy looking at (and touching/handling, as they are very tactile) objects made from wood and from other natural materials.
Perhaps it is unnecessary to inject or uncover meaning in the art works that you make - just enjoy the making of them and the feelings that it gives to you. Other people will interpret them in their own way whatever your original intentions. I suppose it comes back to the question "Who are you creating your art works for and why?" Does it matter what the art world thinks - and who are the art world exactly? Other artists, art critics, people who look at your art, people who appreciate it, the people who buy it? You are also part of the art world - you hold your own unique place within it. That is of great value to yourself and to other people too.
Reply Anna Belleforte
3:33 PM on June 18, 2017 
Yes - I love copper too. Well I love silver, marquetry, ceramuic, enamel, filigree works too...! Great that you've actually purchased something you love and supported the artist.
Thanks for the kind words of encouragement, you're right, each artist has his/her own unique place, and ultimately we make art because we feel the strong need to and enjoy the process. So do what you want!