LOOKING FOR INSPIRATION: The French Riviera, 100 years ago was a paradise for many artists.
RIGA - People have always liked beautiful things. Although there are personal opinions which define ‘beauty,’ there are also common characteristics which make one element, may it be human, thing or place, more attractive than others. Thus, people are constantly seeking processes trying to find their ideal place – their paradise on Earth. Obviously, this paradise is what creative people are looking for too, and at the turn of the 20th century the French Riviera was determined as one. To understand its magnificence, the Museum of Aleksandra Belcova and Romans Suta offers an exhibition which shows the French Riviera through the eyes of the painter Aleksandra Belcova.
The end of the 19th century and the beginning of the next had probably seen the most rapid development of cities, hence artists needed to find new sources of inspiration which would be free of the rush and technical progress. Many painters chose the French Riviera as their destination, painters such as Claude Monet, Paul Signac, Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso. The so-called Cote d’Azur had also enchanted Aleksandra Belcova, who visited it many times for different reasons, one of which was for medical treatment at the sanatorium. This place became the main painting ground for Aleksandra. “Portraits were of interest to Belcova ever since the early 1920s,” the exhibition curator Natalja Jevsejeva notes. “In France, where there was no shortage of interesting landscapes, she nevertheless wanted to portray individuals.”
Still, there was a place for everything in Aleksandra’s sketchbook, which was filled with her energy, spirit, belief and never-ending impulse onwards. It all helped to fight the disease, create artistic masterpieces and secure the French Riviera in her memory, remembering the entertainment, people and environment, which gladdened the soul with a mix of sea, sky and wonderful climate. Although only one part of her works is displayed at the exhibition, it gives an interesting view on the French sense, which is often associated with creativity.
Their creativity is probably one of the crucial factors in why many artists decide not to be attached to one place, and why they are ready to travel wherever the eyes or mind wants just to be sure that their muse will appear anywhere they go. Some might think that every place on Earth is paradise, and no seeking it is needed, simply the eyes must be wide open to see the beauty around us. Yet, others might oppose this, as the creative heart is of another sort, hence wandering or seeking is part of the job to find the correct muse. Probably France, which has been the cradle of art for many acknowledged individuals, owns this “other sort” which has served as a magnet for those who want to experience the most unpredictable journey of their lives. This exhibition shows the path which Belcova walked, and it is worth seeing. There is no guarantee that visitors will feel like they are in the French Riviera; nonetheless they will be convinced that it is an original spot, and that it differs from the environment in Latvia.
Beauty is what attracts people. With art, we only have to understand it to enjoy it! The exhibition “Aleksandra Belcova and the French Riviera” teaches an important lesson – to take life as it is and make it beautiful and useful no matter where you are, who you are and where you will be in the end! Life is only then worth living, when you let your paradise live inside yourself!
The exhibition is open till Sept. 2.