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Work In Progress

Work in Progress

The 150 page workbook contains hundreds of sketches and historical facts necessary as preparatory work for the painting.

Work in Progress

The layout is selected with Napoleon’s head at the centre of things, embodied by a blank musical five bar score structure. Moscow is lightly pencilled in on the right.

Work in Progress

The top bar will have a green theme and record the progress of the Russian end of the invasion as mirrored by the overture. The bar below will record the French in blue. France will be based on the left and Russia the right.

Musical instruments used in the orchestra and those playing are below the two countries and the musical score will appear at the bottom reflecting the action in summary form.

Half of Tchaikovsky’s head has been incorporated within the treble clef. Tsar Alexander can be seen on the right next to the Russian flag.

Work in Progress

Here, Ian has introduced the realism element of the painting by drafting the scenes of Paris on the left and Moscow on the right as they appeared in 1812. Other tableau pieces have now been completed at a preliminary level and some basic work covering Napoleon’s retreat has been sketched at the bottom right hand side.

Work in Progress

Here we see the realism colouring taking hold on the outside of the main core in a muted almost fantasy like form and the top left has been changed to include the background to the invasion itself.

British and Polish flags are symbolic to reflect Napoleon’s manipulations in engineering a war. The Russian bear being fought by the Emperor is again symbolic.

Work in Progress

The head of Napoleon has now been changed to cope with a more animated look and capture the view back to Paris. The colours elsewhere are building more strongly and more detailed work is now taking place on the retreat.

Work in Progress

Still not happy with the head of Napoleon, Ian has changed this once again. Work is still needed to finesse the image but he is now happy with the result. The remainder of the content has now been completed though be it in some cases at a preliminary level. The musical score has now been inserted and the finalisation of the glazings and top coats will begin shortly.

The concept of the 1812 was first developed in 2014 with a notion of combining an historical narrative and a classical music piece within an abstract art framework. Since that time the unthinkable has occurred in that realism has been grafted into the mix to sit next to the abstract. All four of ingredients make for a totally unique outcome in artistic terms.

The painting charts Napoleon’s invasion of Russia in 1812. In the end It was a disaster for the Emperor, starting with 650,000 troops and returning with 10,000. On the other hand It was a triumph for Russia, the underdog who were outnumbered, ill equipped and unprepared at the outset.

Tchaikovsky’s 1812 overture traces the event cumulating in the grand finale of bells and canons. The abstract centre piece plots, in a tableau formed timeline, both the Russian and French activities. Musical instruments and orchestra players are also charted and layer above excerpts of the actual corresponding Overture score.

A philosophical looking Napoleon head and shoulder image is at the centre of the work. Outside the abstract core there sits historical representations of Paris and Moscow in 1812, painted in realism but muted in restrictive colours to signify a contrasting dream like state.

As usual in Ian’s unique Rubistic Expressionist style of painting there lie many hidden gems which await discovery and more will be woven into this artistic tapestry before it’s anticipated completion in November. A full explanatory booklet will be released with the issue of each limited edition print which due to the demand of advanced orders and the desire to be pertinent, there will be 1812 available.

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