The calling of Frans Franciscus

Old entrance of the Central Museum, across the Dick Bruna House

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The calling of Frans Franciscus

‘The calling of Frans Franciscus’ shows the unpredictable dedication of a painter to terrorist scouts, blind prostitutes and female friends from Utrecht portrayed as pilgrims.

Frans Franciscus was raised in the Southern part of the citycentre of Utrecht, on the corner of the Smeestraat and the Springweg. The Central Museum was near and he often played there with his friends. The museum’s art collection was like furniture to him and just belonged to the environment. But after a while he paid more intention to the artworks displayed and became fascinated by the art of painting. He was particularly interested in the so-called caravaggists, the 16th century Dutch followers of Italian artist Caravaggio.

De roeping van Frans Franciscus2

Another artist that caught his attention was Pyke Koch, a 20th century Utrecht representative of ‘Magic Realism’.  He was not only interested in the theme of the paintings, but also in their technique, their way of painting: “how on earth had they done that?”

Franciscus left Utrecht after his education at the Art Academy because ‘he knew all the stones of the pavement’. Nowadays he paints in his art studio in Amsterdam. His fascination for Ter Bruggen, Van Baburen, Van Scorel and all those painters remained strong. In his work, Franciscus uses their compositions and creates variations of their themes.

In 2004, the Catherijne Convent Museum organized an exhibition of Franciscus’ paintings that were inspired by Biblical images, in particular on those of the Caravaggists.

In the short film, Franciscus returns to the Central Museum in search of the ‘fairytale garden’ of his youth. The paintings are still there, although they don’t seem as wonderful as they were when he was a boy. Yet the Museum itself has changed remarkably. The mural that he made has disappeared. All he can find is a piece of wreckage with an image of a political correct Pyke Koch.


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