We had a very well attended talk last night as not just one but four speakers presented an appreciation of sculptor, Camille Claudel
The main presentation was provided by Philip with Hélène and Claudine voicing the text of letters and other writings from Camille, mostly to Auguste Rodin. John who had recently arrived from Paris for a stay in his native Belfast provided the voice of Rodin. Translations of the French were provided in English on screen.
The talk was longer than usual since as Camille herself wrote, "the events of my life would fill more than a novel". It covered the early years of the Claudel family, Camille's formative years and relationship with Rodin. Her creativity was explored through pictures of her sculptures and several reference works had been assembled for browsing. Quite a few participants had brought their own books and DVDs to recommend to colleagues.
The talk also charted Camille's troubled times, during which she destroyed many of her works, and her eventual confinement and death in an asylum. However, not wishing to end on such a sad note, Philip talked about growing efforts over the years and particularly in recent times to share her work, noting, for example, a recent exhibition at the Rodin museum.
While acknowledging the sadness and isolation of her final years it was comforting to know that her legacy endures and reaches out to new audiences.
Thanks Philip, Hélène, Claudine and John for a memorable evening.