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  • Writer's pictureEleanor Crook

A picture story about our Wax Modelling workshop at the Fragonard Museum Paris

You may remember a few weeks ago in October we were about to go to Paris with Morbid Anatomy and the Vesalius Trust to sculpt from the extraordinary écorchés of Honoré Fragonard (cousin of the more famous French painter of nostalgic aristocratic prerevolutionary scenes.) Thanks to all who signed up to join me for this adventure, I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did!

I thought you might like to see what transpired - firstly some closeup photos I took of the real-body anatomical preparations in the museum. It was a long time since I'd visited but they'd lost none of their power to astonish and inspire.

The work room the museum graciously allowed us to use was once the living quarters of the museum's director - a kind of pavilion house from the 19th century complete with chandeliers. A sculptor could get used to such lavish surroundings. I felt very unwilling to leave.

We modelled versions of the Fragonards over some simple plaster skull armatures I'd made, using images taken in the museum close by for reference. The wax was a rosiny mix, very sticky and having a natural colour world of old master colours very harmonious with the historic exhibits. The results were delightfully animate, horrid and humorous by turns, as full of personality as Fragonard's own morbid preparations and made of materials very closely related - but no human remains involved, I promise. Thanks to all the group for your creativity, improvisation skills, willingness to try this mad scheme and close focus for a fast and furious session.

Great to see so many old friends and make so many new ones - an eccentric way to spend the afternoon but the company made it seem entirely natural and proper. Keep in touch for more such art moments when we next pop up with wax in the anatomical and morbid world somewhere.

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