The splendor of the Baroque

Maurício Pessoa

 

Imagine, with his sharp mind and glowing knowledge, the proud contractor, João Rodrigues de Macedo climbing the steps of the Casa dos Contos, in the old Vila Rica, where history enacted part of the Inconfidência Mineira. This is not a hard exercise thanks to the strong, and yet soft, lines admirably drawn by Elias Layon in a sophisticated and rich work of art composed of 103 paintings registering several different moments of light and shadow.

Layon, a painter with great sensitiviy, sees the world with eyes of mist that are part of his collection, admired and coveted all around the country. His brushes unveil the dawn of Mariana and Ouro Preto as unassumingly as the swallow flies in the two oldest cities in Minas, where History lives alongside tradition, always demanding from its painter’s aesthetic resolution and rigorous knowledge.

Elias Layon loves the easel and, while he works, he gives the impression that the act of painting is always more important than what is being painted. Naturally, he knows the integrity and historical importance of this manor, built between 1782 and 1784, especially because, since he was a child, he repeated the creative geture of master painters somewhere in São José Street, where he often saw Estevão looking for the same angle.

Painting the inner parts of the Casa dos Sonhos was a new experience for Layon. Its exterior, a baroque monument restore by the Ministry of Finance in 1973, is one of the strongest symbols of the Baroque from Minas, a constant challenge to this artist who, in my opinião, does not paint what is seen, but rather what will be seen. The interior of this manor instigates and invites the artist to portrayone of the most important historical buildings in Minas Gerais. Being used to great challenge, the artist, like a poet, expresses his craft as the art of portraying the invisible through the visible.

Huge rooms, windows that open to the enigma that is Minas, porches framed by vases, high ceilings, steps of solid wood, solid walls that are part of the History of a Country that, to most its children, gave only, apparently, an Anthem and a Flag. Layon shows us that this is not true. The painting that emerges from his hands protects surfaces agains time and always draw admiration from being so similar to originals that are not always that admired.

After seeing Elias Layon’s painting, one can imagine that the art of painting has been for a long time a lost secret and taht the masters that practice it keep it locked within themselves. Layon has an extremely sensitive copy of this key that can only be touched by the great masters. What and admirable thing these spots of color, these lines that seem to fuse to the imaginary, though their model is right there, close enough to touch. In face of this near transcendence, one cannot stop believing in the existence of beings that can do nothing else but continuously create beauty to save themselves from the horror of emptiness and nothingness.

Considering where it moves, a canvas by Layon is almost a miracle. Made to feed the restlessness of its author and to awe those who see it, it slowly loses its human warmth and still retains its impression of imediate reality. Elias Layon is a great artist. And a great artist is a great man in a great child. Of all the crafts in he world, Layon chose to creat art. An artist’s day cannot be the same as the one who went by. The painter, like Layon, is condemned and gifted with never being able to let their hands, their taste, their eyes, their brushes become automatic. When they stop discovering, suffering doubt, walking in the mists… then they are in pain. To be rid of pain, this angel of painting flaps its luminous wings in the void.