'The Repast of the Monks', gouache on fine art paper, by Yves Brayer (1946). It is the original artwork executed for a book adapted by Maurice Rat of the complete works of François Rabelais (1494 - 1543), French Renaissance writer, physician, Renaissance humanist, monk and Greek scholar. Rabelais has historically been regarded as a writer of satire, the grotesque, bawdy jokes and songs. Brayer created this artwork to bring to life in visual form the outlandish humour of the writer, Rabelais. In the depiction, a gaggle of Franciscan monks partake in their bizarre meal with only one of them seated at the table. He holds Satan's pitchfork while the rest of the brothers assume a kneeling position under the table. Many of the monks appear two-faced, wearing masks on the back of their heads while others kneel scantily clad revealing their undergarments. This satirical scene is in line with Rabelais' contempt for the Franciscan order. He petitioned Pope Clement VII (in office from 1523-1534) to be allowed to leave that order for the Benedictines. This wonderfully original work is listed in the archives of the Yves Brayer Museum in the South of France under number K0666. It is signed in the lower right hand by the artist and has been newly framed and glazed (with museum-quality glass which is anti-reflective and UV-protected) for purposes of presentation and preservation. The authenticity of this work has been confirmed by Mrs. Corinne Brayer and Mr. Olivier Brayer.
The edition of Rabelais' works adapted by Maurice Rat and illustrated by Yves Brayer is also a collector's piece and may be found at auction from time to time.
Dimensions of Artwork with Frame:
H 66 cm / 26.0"
W 59.5 cm / 23.4"
Dimensions of Artwork without Frame:
H 51.0 cm / 20.1"
W 45.0 cm / 17.7"
About the Artist: Yves Brayer (1907 - 1990) stands among the most celebrated modern French painters. Although he was faithful to the figurative tradition, his ample métier was enriched by his personal vision. His oeuvre proved to be very diverse, for besides his well-known landscapes, he also painted vast canvases, portraits and still lifes. A lover of Mediterranean landscapes, Yves Brayer sojourned in Morocco, Spain and Italy before settling down in Provence. There he was enchanted by the diverse and architectural forms of the Alpilles mountains, and by the vast expanse of the Camargue region with its ubiquitous white horses and black bulls. From then on he spent several months each year working in Provence. He also travelled internationally where he was quick to grasp the unique rhythm and light of each country. When he was in Paris in 1942, Jacques Rouché appointed Brayer costume-and-set designer for a ballet at the Opera de Paris.
Brayer passed away in Paris in 1990. A large collection of his paintings are on permanent display both at the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Cordes, France and at the Musée Yves Brayer in Les Baux de Provence, as well as many regional museums in his home country. In the United States, Yves Brayer's works form part of the collection of New York's Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art, among others.