What is the best art of copying

Copying in the name of art

Michel Marchand got up very early and has already traveled two hours by train from Normandy to stand here in front of Georges de la Tours "Adoration of the Shepherds". His copy in pastel colors, clearly lighter in tones than the original, is almost finished. Around the enlightened Baby Jesus Mary, Joseph and the three shepherds, with peasant faces, as de la Tour knew them in his home town in Lorraine in the 17th century:

"I had an appointment with de la Tour this morning and discussed things with him. I don't always agree with him. But it's fantastic. I realized very early on that copying is the best school of all for painting."

For 6 years, Michel Marchand has repeatedly submitted requests to be allowed to copy in the Louvre. The permit is printed on the back of his canvas, identified as an approved copy of the Louvre. The museum even provides the easel and stool:

"Maybe I have the easel and the stool from Monet, Boudin or Ingres. Ingres copied here in the Louvre when he was already 80. He was still looking for the little things, wanted to know how or why one or the other did it that way and nothing else. It's unbelievable when you know where Ingres is today. "

Michel Marchand rolls up the sleeves of his sweater and rubs his thumb over Maria's dress on his copy to correct the tint in the folds:

"The light, the mood, are extraordinary in the painting. Now, after almost three months, I am almost finished with my copy, but one thing bothers me enormously: I have the impression that De la Tour did not like women. Of course this is my very personal impression. But, hand on heart: is this look from the mother really a maternal look? Not for me. I've been a grandfather for seven months now and it was a pleasure for me to paint the face of little Jesus. And Joseph also seems to have normal contact, while the mother seems far away. Yes, snooty. "

Michel Marchand, in his mid-50s, with a mottled gray beard and silver-rimmed glasses, didn't have it easy as a painter. Only for the last 15 years can he live from his work:

"I started doing all kinds of jobs because my father always forbade me to go to art academy. For him it was a place full of crooks and lazy people. He wanted me to do a 'decent' job. He never did me even paid for a brush or a pen. I learned everything secretly. But I was lucky that the doctor who gave birth to me also painted and always encouraged me to keep going. "

He was a painter, but he didn't know whether he was also an artist. He leaves that judgment to the others, says Michel Marchand, who works on his own contemporary pictures at home in Normandy:

"I'm currently working a lot on jazz. I have a pretty impressive contemporary production. It may seem paradoxical, but the Louvre brings me a lot for my contemporary work. A kind of freedom for my creations. Here I am forced to copy, to make what the artist did three centuries ago. When I stand in front of my white canvas at home the next day, I say to myself: Come on, why not! Since I've been working at the Louvre, I've been much more creative. "

He wants to sell the copy of de la Tours "Adoration of the Shepherds" to a nunnery in Normandy. Otherwise, however, he also has customers among the Louvre:

"There are an enormous number of people who approach me. The other day I was in contact with a gallerist from Beirut, who saw this picture and wanted it. But given the situation in Beirut, it will probably not work Americans sold, a copy of me hangs somewhere in Ohio. It's funny. I have my business card all over the world. Last week Chinese people were interested. "

Even if some copies of oil paintings sell for up to 10,000 euros, Michel Marchand says - and you can believe him - he doesn't come here just for the money.