The Key - Study for the watercolour


Pen and ink drawing

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26.5 x 22.2 cm
Pen and ink on paper

In 1939 Norman saw the 1935 film La Kermessa Heroique (Carnival in Flanders) six times during its Sydney season. It was directed by Jacques Feyder and starred his wife Francoise Rosay and Jean Murat. The film was set in 1610 during the long ago Dutch-Spanish war in Flanders, specifically the Flemish village of Boom which is situated between Bruxelles and Antwerp in Belgium. This masterpiece of French cinema is a historical recreation of the world of Flemish painters, with Jan Breughel (son of Pieter Breughel and brother to the painter Pieter Breughel the Younger) having an important role in the plot.

Norman wrote a glowing review of the film for the July 1939 Continental Film Review which ended:
The real adventure of life is the adventure of art - the art of such works as La Kermessa Heroique.

The pen and ink drawing is a finished study of the watercolour showing the women of Boom presenting the key of the village to the Spanish.


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