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The Grain Artwork

Current Exhibition

ANDRE DURAND

DURAND DIANA DORSET ALLEGORIES
30 JUNE – 25 AUGUST 2018
Private View: Friday 29 June, 7.30 pm


The Grain Gallery is pleased to present André Durand’s allegories, DURAND DIANA DORSET ALLEGORIES. The allegories, painted in St James the Great, Longburton, are dedicated to the memory of Diana, Princess of Wales. By portraying the princess as the Greco-Roman goddess Diana, after whom she was named, the historical person is metamorphosed to one of myth. The esoteric and mythological dimensions of the allegories are further evoked by the Cerne Abbas Giant and its ancient alignment with the constellation Orion, together with the mysterious presence of the Cerne Abbas crop circle figure. A discussion with friend and sculptor, Ian Rank-Broadley, who was recently commissioned by the Duke of Cambridge and the Duke of Sussex to sculpt a statue of their mother, 20 years on from her death, led to Durand’s decision to use The Diana of Versailles in the Louvre as the basis for his pair of allegories. Durand has drawn and painted The Diana of Versailles since his student years, however, it was only in 2003 that he was struck by the similarities between the statue and Diana, Princess of Wales, who had been the artist’s neighbour during the many years he lived in Kensington, London.


DIANA OF THE CERNE GIANT AND ORION

“No matter how often I have looked at a work of art, it is only when I draw or paint it that the secret of its beauty fully reveals itself to me. At sunrise in the Church of Saint James the Great in Longburton, Dorset, I began to block in a new allegory, DIANA OF THE CERNE GIANT AND ORION. By mid-morning the composition was delineated, and I began to develop the central, almost life-sized figure of Diana, goddess of the hunt, based on The Diana of Versailles - a slightly over life-size marble statue of the Greek goddess Diana with a small deer in the Musée du Louvre. As I began to indicate the flowing, sensuous folds and creases in Diana’s tunic, the beauty I sought to emulate dumbfounded me. Every carved Fortuny pleat enhances the goddess’ assured, graceful movement in the most timelessly seductive way. Mesmerized, brush in hand, I thought I will do more than justice to Princess Diana of Althorp if in painting I can do justice to the Diana of Versailles, this breathing incarnation of the goddess so realistic that she had to be firmly fixed to her pedestal to stop her from racing off.’ – André Durand


TO THE CHASE

‘The second allegory, TO THE CHASE, depicts Princess Diana again as the goddess / Artemis Diana like a luminous apparition in the Cerne Abbas countryside, high above the prominent crop circle figure in the right foreground which immediately sparks curiosity. Unlike almost all such other crop circles, this one is not created in perfect symmetry. Interestingly, it appeared in a field in full view of the Cerne Giant above. It is also on the same latitude as The Long Man of Wilmington.’ Armando Alemdar, April 2018.


About André Durand

André Durand (born Ottawa, Canada 1947) is a painter working in the European Hermetic tradition. He is influenced by artists such as Rubens, Titian, Michelangelo and Velázquez. Although Durand is perhaps best known for his allegorical portraits, such as Princess Diana as Fortuna, he achieved international artistic acclaim for his official portraits of John Paul II (1983) and the Dalai Lama (1983, 1989). Durand’s portrait of the Irish novelist Elizabeth Bowen (1972) is one of the most popular portraits in London’s National Portrait Gallery. In 1970 Durand painted a series of pictures inspired by the dancers of the Royal Ballet. It is nevertheless Durand’s extraordinary mythological narratives that demonstrate his profound understanding of the myths and rituals of both Classical and Christian traditions. These are an ever-present undercurrent of his work. As Durand has said: ‘almost all the young people that inspire me to paint them have something in common. I am convinced that I have met them before in a painting. When I consider the teenage behaviour of the deities and saints in mythology or the Bible, not to mention heroes and heroines, the kids in my pictures are appropriate symbols of such protagonists.’ How suitable therefore, for Durand to have represented the bravery of Daniel confronting death amongst the lions as a tribute to Demelza’s dedication and sensitivity to the uniqueness of the physical, social, intellectual, emotional, cultural and spiritual needs of every child and their family.

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