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Image 3. Portfolio: Le Troisième Oeil (The Third Eye) by Marcel Marceau

Image 6. Portfolio: Le Troisième Oeil (The Third Eye) by Marcel Marceau



Marceau is a multi-talented artist, and he extends his visual expression beyond the stage to include the art of painting.  The following highlighted passage refers to a group of ten of his paintings that make up a collection called Le Troisième Oeil (The Third Eye), and which was accompanied by a poem of the same name written by Marceau.  The collection was published in 1982.

Marcel Marceau has been held in awe by his public as a pantomime artist for nearly forty years. He is now leaving his mark on the world as an equally talented painter.

From childhood, Marceau dreamed of becoming a painter. He began to paint at the age of seven, and was educated in an art school in Limoges, France. When referring to the time before he entered the professional stage, he has intimated that at the age of nineteen he felt his profession was painting and mime his hobby. His career as a mime may have taken over, but he did not forget his dream.

Marceau's dual creative outlets compliment one another. He feels his miming carries over into his painting and visa versa. Painting is a medium which enables him to translate the invisible world which Bip deals with in the theatre into a visible world. In fact, his famous character Bip, created for the stage in 1947, has had a major influence on the subject matter of many of Marceau's watercolors and lithographs. He has also worked in ink, pencil, and tempera paint. 

Marceau's first lithograph, Bip's Dreams, portrays Bip, larger than life, with a crowded background of Parisian buildings under an ominous night sky. He uses lithography as a means of reproducing his original paintings in limited amounts. Lithography is the process of printing from a plane surface (such as a smooth stone or sheet of metal) on which the image to be printed is ink-receptive and the blank area ink-repellent. 

In his artistic endeavor, The Third Eye, Marceau combines his writings and lithographs. In this suite of ten lithographs, he portrays the experiences he has had with the public through Bip.

Marceau's works are expressionistic with a mystical quality. He is influenced greatly by the poet William Blake who also had a mystical style. Marceau prides himself on his use of color, and his palette is comprised mostly of vivid tones of blue, rose, and mauve.

Image 10. Portfolio: Le Troisième Oeil (The Third Eye) by Marcel Marceau


The third eye open in the light,

Ephemeral continents outside time,

Silent witness of the life of beings engendered in pangs of permanent creation.

Cosmos giving birth to spirit's Fire.

Skies, seas and lands, winds, tides,

Hurricanes of space on space,

The spirit sweeps into the midst of lightning's volleys and the thunder's snarl.

Space is rent.

Live force of the Beyond and the divine, the world makes itself in our own image.

Beauty and ugliness embrace through visions of the universe where life and death map out their frontiers.

Here breath all-powerful, yet frail before eternity.

Man fought death's angel with his naked hands, killed Cain, his brother, with a stone, and as of old, in time of original sin, he bowed his bloody head beneath the skies there where Adam and Eve, God-driven, fled their Eden.

Against the firmaments, two thousand years of history walked in.

Time past, time present, cataclysms response upon the threshold of eternity, there where astronauts, men satellites stole the wings of that anachronistic and forgotten angel.

Men earthy, earthy men of flesh of blood survivors of great slaughters, sure to find happiness through light and shade, we are alone, yet all one with the many million faces.

Saltimbancos, wandering Jews, forgotten brothers who return from the long voyage.

Here are the crowds, the witness of their eyes.

Barefoot bohemians who unhook the stars, our nights provoke reality of dreams.

Flamboyant suns, and haggard livid moons which cast into salt seas the flash that blues skies of foam on foam.

We shall scale mountains without craters, and like Sisyphus re-ascending once again to the summit of those stones which fall and fall into the abyss, we'll fling our clamor to the desert's muffled heart.

Time flies like immobility.

The torrents of our life flow drop by drop.

Before the door of bronze erected on quick sands.

My fist bleeds through too much battering.

Thus our prayers are rent in gusts of history.

The soul steps out and stops before the seven seals affixed by the four horsemen of the Apocalypse.

Oh! Incessant combats of humanity.

Discoveries, blessings, griefs, cries of love and hate,

Thirst for liberty, you are but thoughts that brave becoming.

In the fraction of a second, I saw Christ crucified, the Christians thrown to lions, the first crusades, the Inquisition and the Holocaust.

Oh century of enlightenment!

The Renaissance, Revolutions: 1789, and 1917, famine in the Indies, China's wall, disasters glimpsed through all the wars where ashes of the dead and living mingle, those of Hiroshima.

Nuclear era, now the neutron bomb.

But man still lives amid his metamorphoses.

Here you have us, masters, slaves, the victors and the vanquished, the great, the humbled, thye mighty and the mean, but still vulnerable among our blind and seeing brothers.

The time of silences and clamors melts in the timelessness. Where is this third eye which sensed each instant is a combat without end?

Where are you humankind who dream of love eyes open in the light?

A while ago the angel smiled at the wing-torn devil halting in his flight, his laughter not Homeric as he hoped, for conscience shattered it.

My soul has hugged a secret just as yours, that of tomorrow in an intangible world.

Lands of the future, flamboyant suns,

Stars of sapphire,

There will be more bright battles where the cries and tears are those of love emerging from the shades.

The ground-swell breaks,

Space topples,

All things converge in vast creative thought.

This is the dawn of a new world, reality and dream are of the selfsame brotherhood.

Now enter the new age.

The sovereign spirit is in the firmament of stars.

Being is lit . . . . . . .

Love and liberty hold out their arms to us.

My dream, assure me that the third eye is.

I more than need the time to love and live.

A silent, fragile hand has drawn in space a white flower emptied of its blood.

Soon it will open, blossom out,

Soon, thought faded, bloom again.

Time is the great healer.

Too quick the question nags: where is the third eye, where?

The near-forgotten angel brushed my shoulder with his wing,

Accomplice, gave a flicker of his lids and breather in silence, sounds that I heard echoing . . . . .

One thing I ask: know that we always bear this third eye deep within our inmost selves.
Marcel Marceau (Courtasy
The Genesis Gallery, Ltd.)

Commenter cet article

Aurélien 03/08/2009 02:46

Merci pour ces informations et cette mise en scène sur Marceau le peintre. J'ai vu les tableaux en passant devant la vitrine. Est-ce que ce sont des lithographies signées voire "réhaussées" au crayon ou des huiles ? Merci d'avance de votre réponse, Salutations cordiales, AL