The starting point for Girl (2012) was a portrait by the Dutch painter Aelbert Cuyp (1620-1691): Portrait of a girl with peaches (1650-1660 oil on wood panel, Mauritshuis, The Hague, Netherlands). Out of a deep frustration of not being there in the fifties of the 17th century to take her photograph, I decided to recreate the portrait in the studio, copying the chiaroscuro, the set and the costume as exactly as possible. The only thing I changed is the model’s age: the young girl is now an old woman. As if she has been sitting there for ages, waiting for the invention of photography. 
When creating a photographic version of a painting, one cannot deny the problematic relation between both imageries. The debate over photography’s intrinsic artistic value is as old as the medium itself. That’s why I have chosen to add a quote by Charles Baudelaire who took a dim view of the rise of Photography. In 1859 he wrote “"As the photographic industry was the refuge of all failed painters with too little talent, or too lazy to complete their studies, this universal craze bore not only the mark of a blind imbecility, but also carried a hint of revenge." (Lettre à Monsieur le Directeur de la Revue française sur le Salon de 1859, Juin-Juillet 1859, in Œuvres Complètes, Ed. Gallimard, Bibliothèque de La Pléiade, 1968, pp. 1033-1036.)

 

1. Reproduction. 130 x 175 mm. Printed on Hahnemühle Photo Rag Baryta. 
2. Quote. 130 x 175 mm. Printed on Hahnemühle Photo Rag Baryta. 
3. Photograph. 311 x 396 mm. Printed on Hahnemühle Photo Rag Baryta.

 

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