Painting office



 Jars used to dilute the paint, used by Thérèse - height 5,5 and 7 cm.

The work of the painting position concerns roughly everything painted in the house to stimulate piety. It occupied several sisters throughout the Carmelite life of Thérèse, and initially Thérèse herself, who had this job from the summer of 1892, where she painted the fresco of the Oratory. From that moment, she made several paintings through March 1896. 

The main activities of the painters of the monastery can be described as follows:

enluminure dimagesIlluminate holy cards purchased in black and white

The sisters buy images printed on parchment (left). They stick an engraving in the slot provided for this purpose and they color the ornamentation surrounding the etching, as shown on the left. Sales of holy cards at the front desk of the monastery were low, but the impact of this work of piety is important for the sisters, holy cards filling their breviary and personal books.

The same type of coloring work was done by the sisters of the painting workshop for the missal of Father Youf, with the contribution of Thérèse. This is watercolor and a lot of training is required to not overflow the coloring section. Sometimes the images are illuminated with gold leaf; it is also possible to use gold dust. Below we see a few sachets of powder of the time. The preparation technique is longer, as we can see here. We must dilute the powder, then apply and once dried, polish with a burnisher. We see in the foreground one of those burnishers used by Thérèse to properly shine the golden zone.




Sisters skilled in the illumination of holy cards also made carteglorias. These three paintings, one large and two small, were placed on the altar as a reminder in large print for the priest. They included sections during each Mass, spoken softly or out loud. The sisters sold them for 250 francs, given all the illumination work. Below is a detail of a cartegloria executed by Agnès of Jesus, excellent miniaturist. By clicking on it you can see the entire piece.

canon detail isole AJ LT


Painting statues purchased in white plaster

statues maison industrie

Many of the statues in the house were purchased in white plaster (notably from the Raffl company, and Verrebout /Delin Brothers), which is more economical. The sisters employed in painting were responsible for adding color to them, with varying results.

If the statue is quite successful (as the head of the Virgin on the left) it is because it comes from a specialized workshop! Generally the sisters apply the background color from one end to the other of the area to be painted. For example on the right, the veil is full of the same hue, like the skin of the face and neck apart from the red applications.

Sometimes that creativity comes from the repeated insertion of patterns on a surface uniformly covered with the same color. We recognize this technique in the angels painted by Thérèse.


Painting or retouching the monasterys's paintings

It is in this setting of painting done to stimulate devotion that we can place the work of the oratory fresco realized by Thérèse. She also contributed by adding floral elements to paintings by Agnès of Jesus. But it is especially Céline who surpassed herself nourishing the devotion of the sisters by request of the community before and after entrance. For example, St. John of the Cross (1894) and St. Elijah below.



Making cartouches which contain sayings

What is a saying? It is a maxim of wisdom painted on the walls to strike the mind of the person who passes by often and help her to become better. Carmel, it is tradition to adorn the walls of the cloister, the refectory, chapter and the novitiate. They are also found in the parlors. These sayings come from the Bible and the texts of the Carmelite saints.

Most of the sayings are painted directly on the walls, as can be seen below, with this saying that is close to the chapter room in the dormitory St Elijah: Open to me, my sister, my spouse, for my head is full of dew and my hair drenched with the damp of night. They also drew on cartouches of rigid cardboard, for example in the parlor. Thérèse participated in this work.

sentence chapitre

Let us add that Thérèse was fulfilled by this task performed for a few years because she was able to realize her very old desires - Manuscript A 81 r.


Equipment used by Thérèse for painting.

 enluminure AJ



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