Monday, November 11, 2013

In the Light of History and Classicism: Rome Now and Then

Celebrating the Artistry of French Photographer Jean-Pierre Loubat

This week, a newly created collection of Rome images, exclusive to THE STYLE SALONISTE. 

Jean-Pierre spent several weeks in Rome recently—exploring the mysteries and marvels and capturing the eternal grace of Roman architecture.

Jean-Pierre Loubat is a special favorite of mine. I met him last year in Morocco. He was in Tangier to present an exhibition of his photography at the Galerie Delacroix. I published the dramatic and magnificent black and white images of Tangier from that gallery show. You all admired the elegance of Jean-Pierre Loubat’s photography of the historic casbah, the ancient arches, the 11th-century fortifications and clusters of medina buildings with robed men gathered to converse.

This year, Jean-Pierre’s focus turns to Rome with a series of extraordinary new pictures.

None of these has been seen or published. I’m so honored to present them to you here first.

Come with Jean-Pierre and me and see the ancient and present-day Rome through his eyes. You’ll want to leap on a plane and go and see them immediately. I did! Calling Lufthansa.

Oh, and join us for a chat to hear Jean-Pierre’s concepts, his inspirations and his thrills.

Print out this Rome post—and take it with you when you travel there, optimistically, next spring. Set out with Jean-Pierre Loubat as your guide.

DDS: Jean-Pierre, it is such a pleasure to show your photography once more on THE STYLE SALONISTE. I’m so honored. The last time we were chatting, it was about Tangier. Now you’re immersed in the beauty of Italy.

Why did you conduct this Rome project?

J-PL: I embarked on this project in Rome because I only been there briefly before. I had been twice in this city for three or four days, transiting between Naples and France and between Sicily and France.

I wanted to go further and capture the eternal city's atmosphere. I was also fascinated by this city because I live in Nîmes, in the South of France. It is also a Roman city with archaeological remains and I have always been interested in history and how we look at patrimony. This summer I saw Paolo Sorrentino's film "La Grande Bellezza" (“The Great Beauty” in English) and that touched me a lot. It’s about Italy now, the state of affairs, the eternal stunning beauty. I thought that even if this city have been pictured millions of times it was possible to give my own vision 

“It is the footsteps of the not-so-distant past that I was exploring in this latest work. Photos of ruins are not sad, just a bit nostalgic. Inspiring, as well. These columns and villas and the absolute symmetry and perfection made me think that time was arrested.” — Jean-Pierre Loubat

DDS: You are an artist, and you always have a vision, a purpose for your photography. What was the focus of your work in Rome?

I focused on architecture and especially ruins and archaeological remains, classical villas, palaces, and of course the Pantheon. I also took also contemporary images (not selected here) from new architecture (Zaha Hadid's new museum (MAXXI), Renzo Piano's auditorium) because I wanted to show the city was still moving. 

DDS: Thanks to your extensive research, what are some of the sites you visited?

I visited a lot of sites that are very well known like the Forum, Coliseum, and Pantheon.

I also visited the marvelous Etruscan museum, Villa Gillian. So elegant even today.

I went to Cinnecita and to a beautiful park outside of Rome where people were running along an aqueduct.

I have also been to the Janiculum hill (in a sense, the eighth hill of Rome) and to see Donato Bramante's Tempietto (little temple), and the church San Pietro in Montorio near Trastevere (with beautiful paintings from Sebastiano del Piombo, Vasari....)

And of course I did a beautiful visit at Villa Medici, which is the most prestigious French residence for artists (they are invited for two years there and they have the chance to have time to create).


DDS: On your explorations and wanderings, what were you looking for?

For each location and image I was looking for a special atmosphere. I wanted to show the classicism, far from the madness of this city. When you wander away from the tourist spots, on every corner of a street and surrounded by the pines of Rome, you have a surprise and I don't think there is so many cities like that, maybe Venezia, Firenze perhaps.

In Paolo Sorrentino's new film, “The Great Beauty” which examines the eternal mystique and decline and glamour of Rome, at the very beginning a Japanese man with a camera dies of looking at so much beauty. (The film, critically acclaimed, will be released in Los Angeles and New York in November. –DDS).

DDS: Which images did you especially love?

I especially like the image of a statue in a fountain situated in the roman forum it is completely obscure and hidden. It is not in any guidebooks, and I didn’t know it. It was a surprise to discover it. I was so fortunate that it had been raining the night before, so there were puddles of water still on the ground.

I also love Marcellus Teatro (from the time of the Rome Republic) because it is a special place, there are flats (some people live there today) and at night there was a concert near they’re of the music of Satie and Albeniz. Music in this place was magical.

I also love the perfect symmetry and grace of the architecture of Villa Giullia. I admired the mosaic and the two statues on each side. It was also part of a beautiful moment everything was so quiet. I was so far from crowds it was as if this place was only for me at this moment.

Meet Jean-Pierre Loubat:

Jean Pierre Loubat is a photographer who lives in Nîmes, France.

His work focuses on the issues of space and time. The work carried out in "the footsteps of Marcel Proust" addresses the question of the place apprehended in connection with time and memory. He shows the link between time, a sense of place, and history that lives on among us offering a glimpse into the past today.

In recent work, he chose to explore Tangier, the mythical city that has attracted artists, painters, actors and writers. Recently he explored Rome after seeing Paolo Sorrentino's new film " la Grande Bellezza”. He wanted to capture his own vision and the beauty of the eternal city


Jean-Pierre Loubat 
Tel : 033 06 72 28 99 44
E-mail :

All images here are copyright Jean-Pierre Loubat, Nimes, France. © ADAGP Jean-Pierre Loubat 

Images are published here with express permission of the photographer. 


Karena said...

Diane thank you so much for featuring this superb photographer. Loubat is truly genius at capturing atmosphere!

Feature: "House Proud"

peggy braswell said...

loved this post + sent it to all of my Italian friends + what a talent!

*Chic Provence* said...

Hi Diane loved this post on so many levels... introducing us to Loubat's photography, Italy but most of all the classical ruins... I am inspired to hop on Lufthansa too! (where's my pashmina?:)...would love to see how he would photograph the Roman ruins at Glanum, in Provence...

a bientôt my friend!


Diane Dorrans Saeks said...

Peggy, Karena and Kit-

I'm so glad everyone likes this Rome post. I've heard from so many friends who said 'I forwarded it to my sister who's going to Rome' or 'that's what we want to see the next time we are in Rome' or 'love the photos--and we are taking them as our guide in Rome next summer'...
so happy. Jean-Pierre is so talented...and yes, Kit,...he would do such glorious shots of Roman ruins in the South of France...I must ask him.
cheers to all DIANE

Parisbreakfasts said...

Thank you DDS for sharing this artist and his vision