Cities of Lost memory is an artistic/historical project I worked on between January and July 2022. It is a series of 12 cities drawn in Indian ink, in wide format (42 x 59.4 cm).

I have always enjoyed sketching, (see my sketches), mostly in pencil and particularly statuary, given my scientific proclivities for the ancient world. But, until recently, I had never thought of using this skill creatively or to combine it with my deep interest for historical events. Indian ink has a crisp visual feel on white paper but I chose it for its permanence, just like the events I describe. Technically, there is no room for mistakes and many preparatory drawings were necessary. The style changes from one drawing to the next because each city has a different story. I like to merge ancient art and contemporary buildings, sometimes more recent pasts, or in the case of Berlin, pasts that might have happened.

As an historian–and this is the crux of the project–I am endlessly confronted to history’s absurd recycling of events and, worse still, to people’s growing disinterest in history’s warnings, as if they had less time to think. I decided to use my drawing skills to express the underside of twelve cities that speak to me, to shine a light on crucial events that might soon be forgotten or may already have.

Please click on the thumbnails below to go to each painting’s main page with a close-up view, some historical context and bibliography on each subject