The birth of the artist

Lorjou sharing a meal with his parents

Lorjou sharing a meal with his parents

Lorjou was born at dawn on this day in 1908.  He was named after the midwife who delivered him, Madame Bernard.

At thirty nine, impoverished, and nutrient deprived, Lorjou's mother could not feed her infant child.  Bernard's grandmother Rose owned a cow so the infant was brought to her steps. Unfortunately, Rose was attending a military parade in the next village.  Lorjou was left alone.

Rose returned to find Lorjou near death.  She believed the only thing that could save the child was a miracle and according to the Christian custom of those days, left coins on the window seal for some vagabond to intercede in her grandchild's favor.  The coins disappeared. Bernard survived.

More than four decades later, in 1949,  Lorjou would describe the elements of his birth through a painting titled "La Naisance du Peintre" (The Birth of the Artist).  In the background, the grandmother Rose with the military horsemen she had gone to watch, the city of Blois on a canvas, the midwife holding the baby, Lorjou's parents to the right, siblings to the left, and an angel above performing the miracle.

In another of several studies recounting the event, Lorjou simplified the painting, leaving only the midwife holding the infant, the vagabond who collected the alms, the grandmother in the distance, and his sister in blue.