A Year in Normandie: David Hockney in Bayeux

A Year in Normandie: David Hockney in Bayeux

An exhibition showcasing David Hockney’s renowned piece “A Year in Normandie” is currently taking place at the Bayeux Tapestry Museum. The 90-meter long frieze, painted on an iPad, depicts the arrival of spring in Normandy and it was recently displayed at the Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris.

The artwork was influenced by the ancient narrative embroidery of the Bayeux Tapestry. Since September, the exhibition has brought Hockney’s frieze and the tapestry together through half-scale reproductions on the second floor of the museum, offering a unique side-by-side comparison.

David Hockney A Year in Normandie – 2020-2021 (detail) Composite iPad painting ©David Hockney

British artist David Hockney was inspired by the Bayeux Tapestry when he arrived in Normandy in 2019, leading him to create a large-scale narrative depicting the cycle of seasons. During the lockdowns, Hockney captured the light effects in the Norman skies and the arrival of spring while confined to his typical half-timbered house in the Pays d’Auge.

He painted the blooming of nature and arrival of spring in the style of the Impressionists through the medium of digital brushes on his iPad, a technology he has been using for the past twelve years.

David Hockney acts as a powerful ambassador for Normandy, showcasing his attachment to the region through the landscapes he creates on a digital canvas. He captures the variations of light and hues in the skies throughout the seasons.

The Bayeux Tapestry Museum has welcomed Hockney several times since 2019 and has established a great relationship of with him. During one conversation, the museum offered to host an exhibition of his work in Bayeux, a city close to his heart and near to his source of inspiration. Hockney accepted the invitation and suggested reducing the size of his frieze to half scale so that the exhibition space could accommodate both of the narratives that were created nearly 1000 years apart.

Bayeux Museum

This dialogue between the 11th-century Bayeux Tapestry and David Hockney’s striking frieze will allow visitors to immerse themselves in both narratives simultaneously. Visitors will be able to observe and compare the stylized tree depictions in the tapestry with the fruit trees in the artist’s orchard.

“If you look closely, the two masterpieces, using admittedly very different artistic techniques, immortalise a specific moment in time. Both freeze-frame a conquest: that of a Norman Duke in England in the 11th century for one, and that of nature in Normandy and its constant renewal regardless of human turmoil in the other,” explains Antoine Verney, curator of the Museums of Bayeux.


David Hockney A Year in Normandie – 2020-2021 (detail) Composite iPad painting ©David Hockney

See Hockney’s “A Year in Normandie” at the Bayeux Museum

The exhibition is included in the museum tour: Full price €11 (free for children under 10) and it will end on the 23rd April 2023
More info: www.bayeuxmuseum.com

Lead photo credit : Bayeux Museum

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