Thursday, January 27, 2011

Love, Joy and Tragedy : Séraphine Louis de Senlis

The story is about Séraphine Louis, a housekeeper working in Senlis, France in the early 1900's.  Her days were consumed by hard and tedious work as a housekeeper and at night she would paint by candlelight, which was her love and passion.  She spent every free moment doing what she truly loved.  She was self-taught and created her own paints with secret ingredients, which to this day have maintained their original brilliance, as seen in her paintings.  

While staying at one of the homes she worked at, Séraphine's paintings were discovered  by Wilhem Unde, a German art collector.  Their collaboration was short lived due to the war between France and Germany in 1914, when Wilhem had to leave France.  

In the late 1920's, although Wilhem thought that Séraphine had died during the war, he decided to go back to Senlis and did indeed find her again.  During his absence she continued to paint and her newest work was being displayed in a town exhibit for local artists. 

The story continues on through her death.  Her life was full of love, joy and tragedy.  Love and joy when she was painting, as she would also sing joyous hymns while she created her art.  While I was was watching, I felt that she was in the presence of God and the angels themselves, truly Divine.   Tragedy, yes sadly in life there is tragedy.  In the end her tragedy was created because she couldn't paint any longer, whether imposed by others or Séraphine herself.     

Her paintings can now be found in museums in Paris, Nice, Senlis and Villeneuve d'Ascq.  The movie Séraphine was directed by Martin Provost in 2008.  I really enjoyed the movie, it is in French with subtitles.  If you don't mind that, you will love it too!

Despite work and other daily obligations how many minutes in a day do we actually use to do what we love?  What is our excuse?

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