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Cities of Lost memory is an artistic and historical project that I worked on between January and July 2022. It is a series of twelve cities drawn in Indian ink (brush and pen).

As an historian (and this is at the heart of the project), I witness every day the senseless recycling of historical events and, worse still, the growing disinterest of citizens for the warnings of historians, as if they had less time to think. That is why I decided to use my aptitude for drawing to express the underside of certain cities that resonate with me, to highlight crucial events that are in danger of soon being forgotten or that have already been forgotten.

I have always enjoyed sketching, (see my sketches), usually in pencil, especially statues, given my scientific interest in the ancient world. But, until the COVID lockdown, I had never thought of exploiting this skill creatively or combining it with my deep interest in history.

Indian ink offers a high-contrast visual effect on white paper, but I also chose it for its permanence, mirroring the events I depict. It also has a technical appeal: there is no room for error and a lot of preparatory sketches are needed for each drawing.

The style varies from one drawing to the next, because each city has a different history. I like to fuse ancient art with contemporary buildings, sometimes from more recent pasts, or, in some cases, almost imaginary pasts.

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