French-German artist finds inspiration in Indian miniature art for his paintings

Updated on Sep 10, 2016 08:46 AM IST

East meets west in French-German artist Edouard Baribeaud’s works. He combines the intricate detailing of Indian miniature with European Renaissance art

Hindustan Times | By, Mumbai

In 2014, French-German artist Edouard Baribeaud (31) visited Rajasthan to research a film project about Kathputli art (puppetry). While the project didn’t take off, Baribeaud was inspired by Indian miniature art that he had spotted in city museums. This year, the artist returns to India with The Nocturnal Vault, an exhibition of 11 ink and watercolour on paper art. The works combine Indian miniature art with elements of European Renaissance art, and explore the theme of the night. Featuring women characters, the works are dream-like and feature mysterious scenery framed by moonlight.

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“I imagined the works as a journey from dusk to dawn, where mundane and modern everyday elements contrast with mythical elements. I wanted to create a dialogue between Indian and western art on an imaginary stage,” says the Berlin-based artist. The title is a reference to a poem by French poet Charles Baudelaire: More than Night’s Vault, it’s You that I Adore.

The Passage, ink and watercolour on paper
The Passage, ink and watercolour on paper

Baribeaud studied at the École National Supérieur des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. While he graduated in illustration and printmaking, he developed a more artistic approach to his work towards the end of his studies.

The artworks feature intricate detailing — a characteristic of miniature art. The influence of Renaissance art is also visible with the depiction of nudes, and of nature. “There are a lot of visual parallels between Indian miniatures and early Italian Renaissance paintings. For instance: the way in which Italian painters represented vegetation and rocks in gardens, and nature. I wanted to underline the similarities, and show that art is universal,” he says.

A Deep Conversation, Edouard Baribeaud, Ink and watercolour on paper
A Deep Conversation, Edouard Baribeaud, Ink and watercolour on paper

The works were made over a year, and feature cameras and lights as part of the composition, imparting a theatrical aspect. “I drew the artworks as if I could look through the eye of a camera. I like the idea of not hiding what is behind the stage and to show all the lighting equipment. The paintings act as a projection surface (a space where images are projected) and allow the spectator’s imagination to come into play,” says Baribeaud.

Baribeaud’s art is also influenced by the illustrated adventure tales he read in his childhood. “I really liked the French classic, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne, and the illustrated book, Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. As a child, I wanted to become an illustrator of children’s books. Twenty years later, I tell stories through my paintings and drawings,” he says.

The Last Act, Edouard Baribeaud, Ink and watercolour on paper
The Last Act, Edouard Baribeaud, Ink and watercolour on paper

The Nocturnal Vault is on display till November 22
Where: Galerie Isa, Great Western Building, opp Lion Gate, Fort
Call: 6637 3432


    Soma is an Assistant Editor for the weekend supplement HT 48 Hours. She writes on lifestyle, art and culture.

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