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  • Writer's pictureWayne Sleeth

Projet 57.6 : JOUY-AUX-ARCHES

Updated: Feb 10


This small roman town on the very edge of Metz Metropole was of huge significance to my project, and a joy to discover. First tentative explorations before and after the Covid lockdowns, then a group exhbition for the Journées de la Culture at the Mairie ( Town Hall ) in the spring of 2022 invited by a friend, an event - along with another festival in the summer, 'Jouy-aux-Arts' - in which l would regularly participate with pleasure.

As the name suggests, the enormous arches of the roman aqueduct over the Moselle river pass here, directly over the main thoroughfare, an impressive sight. Sketched by none other than JMW Turner in 1824 on his hop over from the Meuse and north towards Luxembourg and the Rhine. Here, at least, his viewpoints for those sketches were not difficult to pinpoint, and although my intention was as ever to emulate and not 'compete' with Turner's work, certain sketches of mine, taking more time, are more studied.

JMW Turner

3 Sketches and photo 2022 & 2023 W.Sleeth

Views of the roman aqueduct would also become a primary subject in my etching work, a medium l had not practiced since 1993 but returned to with zeal following a couple of Tetrapacketching workshops with l'espace Clément Kieffer ( Varize ) at Courcelles-Chaussy in november 2022 ...

4 etching versions of the Arches, 2023.

3 are now in a private collection, Jouy-aux-Arches.

Installation in the meeting room, Mairie de Jouy-aux-Arches

Tetrapak etchings on 'toile de Jouy' paper

A suggestion that the municipality might acquire a painting of the Arches led me to work on a single large painting in acrylics on toile de jouy papers glued to the canvas.

The piece was eventually snapped up by a local art collector, owner of 3 of the above etchings ! Also a specialist in the history of the town, he showed me the single (reproduction) artwork by Turner of Jouy-aux-Arches acquired from the British Museum that was part of the Turner Bequest, undated but probably from 1834.

This year, l will return to Jouy-aux-Arches in april for the Journée de la Culture with new work on this site ; l now have at least one more painting of Jouy-aux-Arches to complete and present for acquisition by the town !

Also, on a second collective exhibition weekend at Jouy-aux-Arches , this time outdoors in the summer of 23, l was commissioned to draw the Château du Veau d'Or à Jouy, the imposing house nextdoor, by its owner. This 'maison-forte' on the banks of the Moselle once lodged Charles VII and René d'Anjou, the Duke of Lorraine, while they conspired to attack the nearby city of Metz...

Back underneath the Arches... The aqueduct of course used to bridge the wide span of the Moselle intact, and the central portion is now missing. There is the other end of it on the western bank to explore, at Ars-sur-Moselle, just past Noveant, Ancy and Dornot. All of this in the next blog, including drawing from the Ecluse, a modern river lock on a natural island in the middle of the Moselle, was completed on foot. And typically, under skies that were either a leaden grey or infinite blue, but always steeped in history.

Petit Matin sur la Moselle au Camping de Corny-sur-Moselle.

To follow : Ancy-Dornot and Ars-sur-Moselle




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