Xavier Mellery, After Evening Prayers

Musée d'Ixelles, Brussels

Date: c. 1910
Technique: Charcoal and pastel on paper, 101 x 70 cm

This drawing shows a scene bathed in twilight, its source seemingly emanating simultaneously from an unseen skylight above and from a dully glowing lamp. These in turn illuminate the high veils of the nuns, which thus become supplementary sources of illumination within the space. The nuns evoke the idea of a mystical existence oriented towards the inner world, a denial of self and the contemplation of the supernatural: these nuns appear to have no solid corporeal form; even their faces cannot be seen. They can be seen as interchangeable apparitions which merge into the shadows and are only included as components of a particular, strongly felt mood.

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