"Allegory of Music" - a modern heart book, at the crossroads of medieval craftsmanship and Art Nouveau

16/03/2021

The design of our heart shaped books, as already mentioned in the article dedicated to them here, is initially the result of our collaboration with Papeterie Pasdeloup, which makes for us custom-made linen / hemp craft paper since June 2017 ... 

It is a reinterpretation as notebooks with removable pages, of a medieval poetic fashion (XV-XVIth century) relating to the collections of love songs or canticles, by which the interpreter opened his heart both literally and figuratively!

The idea of ​​this particular piece follows my participation in the regional competition of Ateliers d'Art de France 2020 to which I had presented my painting "People of the book"... 

Carried by the benevolent support and congratulations of the organizers and the jury, I wanted to reiterate my participation in this year 2021 with an emblematic creation produced and presented in duet with my friend Faustine Vincent, alias "the Pixie of the bookbinding"...

The theme, chosen according to our sources of inspiration common to both, is that of the "Allegory of Music" by Alphonse Mucha (1895), presented in a false mirror representing the black and the white of a musical stave, in order to pay tribute to the original destination of the heart shaped books.

But not only... 

Because Art Nouveau, which Mucha's work fully illustrates, gave pride of place to curved lines, in reaction to classical aesthetics, just like the cordiform book itself in its medieval time... a first resonance, a bridge, on the form, between these 2 eras. 

In addition, Art Nouveau stood up against the industrialization and massive production set up in the 19th century, by re-introducing the sensitive, the beautiful into everyday life, like the old guilds, while democratizing its access... 

It is always the prerogative of our artistic professions at the same time as the affirmation of their very identity ... It resonates, on substance, still directly with the current world. 


The techniques used on the body of the book are those of Fine Leather Goods: Carving on vegetable tanned leather (sculpture after chiseling), artistic coloring, assembly of the lining by saddle stitching, finishing of smooth and waxed edges ... 

The fancy stitching of the book in a triple row of crosses as well as the making of the case / display are the result of binding techniques: leather on cardboard core, interior shape lined with false marquetry, leather mosaic, pyrography, gilding by hand ... 

This original book, four handed made, offers a mix of aesthetics and arts of living responding to 3 different eras (Middle Ages, Belle Epoque, Today) and presents a large panel of leather work, resulting from traditional as well as modern pratices... 

It was selected for the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes 2021 regional competition in the Heritage category, and will be presented, as soon as sanitary conditions allow it, during an exhibition at the Ceramics Museum of Saint-Uze (26), official partner of Ateliers d' Art de France...