Ochres in Burgundy by Jeannine Cook

Serendipity led to St. Peter’s Church in tiny Moutiers-en-Puisaye, in north-west Burgundy. There, 12th century (and later) frescoes in red and yellow ocre from nearby mines are a delight to enjoy in this cool, beautiful Romanesque church.

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Defining a "Chef d'Oeuvre" by Jeannine Cook

What is defined generally as an artistic chef d'oeuvre or masterpiece, why and when?

Recently I was listening to a radio interview in France with the actress, Catherine Deneuve, just before the launch of her new film, "Sage Femme/the Midwife".  The interviewer asked her if she though this film was a chef d'oeuvre.  Her reply interested me because it does not just apply to the "Seventh Art" of films.



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The Old and the New, Religion or Art by Jeannine Cook

Every time you step into a museum, something new and fascinating swims into your consciousness. The magic happened again yesterday as I was in the most interesting British Museum exhibition, Sunken Cities, Egypt's Lost Worlds. Presenting amazing artifacts recovered from on-going underwater archeological work in the re-located sunken ports of Thonis-Heracleion and Canopus at the mouth of the Nile, the exhibition tells of the new insights into life in Egypt during the last four hundred years or so BC.

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Art that Stands the Test of Time by Jeannine Cook

Every artist must at least occasionally have moments of doubt about whether work being created will stand the test of time or whether it will even be appreciated by other people. It is inevitable, I suppose, given that most creative ventures are fairly solitary. You work away at your desk, your potter's wheel, your easel, your sculpture table, your musical score, your ballet bar or whatever the work might require. Your vision and your passion, you hope, carry you forward to creating something that is good, worthwhile, meaningful to others. And something that will stand the test of time.

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Romanesque Frescoes by Jeannine Cook

One of the serendipitous bonuses of my explorations in winding Pyrenees valleys near Bordeneuve was a church not even listed clearly in the maps I was using: Notre Dame de Tramesaygues in Audressein. Two impetuous rivers join in their rush downstream, ultimately to swell the Garonne river, and the small village borders these tumbling waters. In fact,Tramesaygues means "between the waters' in patois. On the UNESCO world heritage site list, this 14th century Romanesque church is graced with some really wonderful frescoes in the entrance portico. Since they are roofed over by the bell tower, they are protected to an extent, and thus much more impressive.

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Romanesque Art in Ariège, France by Jeannine Cook

As so often happens, delicious coincidences have again come along to enhance life for me. When a fine day suddenly burst through from the clouds of rain and snow, I decided to give myself a break from silverpoint drawing at my wonderful artist's retreat perch at Bordeneuve, in Betchat in the French Pyrenees. My hostess, Noelle, extremely knowledgeable and a lover of all things natural, historic and beautiful in Ariège, confirmed that my plans for the day were good.

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