The living art of Zadkine
RUSSIAN born sculptor Ossip Zadkine made his home in the small village of Les Arques, in the Lot region of France.
And today you can visit the museum that has three large rooms showing his work, as well as other sculptures in the village and the Église St Laurant.
Zadkine was born in 1890 in the same Russian village as Chagall, and went on to become one of the most respected artists of his generation.
His work drew influences from Christianity, Greek mythology and even ancient Egypt – and it is produced in wood, bronze, stone and clay.
In the museum there are three large pieces Orphée, Diane and Daphné which were made from dead tress, as Zadkine refused to cut down a living tree.
All three posses a force and power as well as incredible character, with each still in an unfinished state that gives them a living, breathing quality.
Zadkine bought a house in Les Arques in 1934 and became an influential part of the village community.
The Église St Laurant is opposite the museum and in here are two of the largest pieces of work that he produced.
The first is that of Christ on the cross on the back of the church that was again produced from a dead tree with a large branch as one of the arms.
In the crypt is Pietà, simply lit this is a mournful piece that has a mesmerising effect on you.
The church, dating back to the 11C, also has many architectural interests including Moorish columns and Islamic style arches.
A short drive away is the Église St Andre from the late 15C, discovered by Zadkine in 1954, and featuring remarkable frescoes – you collect the key from the museum.
I had never seen Zadkine’s work but this museum will ensure that I seek out more on the man.
It almost feels as if the pieces will walk straight out of the museum, through the quiet village and back to the surrounding forests where they originally came from.
Les Arques is a beautiful and special place that should be on everybody’s “must visit” list.
Directions: 5km off the D673 to the north west of Cahors.