of Christophe Mourthé
The Casanovas, is really based on a rendez-vous between a photographer and a make-up artist who are both struggling to be creative. Both of them attempting to develop a real sense of emotion and magic at their shoot.
At the start of the 1980’s, I was working between Paris and Venice and I get to meet Denis Menendez, a real genius of both make-up and hairstyling.
From our natural bond was born the now famous «Casanovas», androgynous personalities of the 17/18th centuries, who were to be photographed in Venetian palaces in twilight. The «Casanovas», imposed a style innovative as well as audacious. Unreal images, very close to those the old masters and great painters of the period.
For my part, I was always fascinated by this world of decadent splendor of this period. The Italian theatre that my father Claude Mourthé had helped me to discover, had lead to the fabulous appreciation of Fellini ad Zeffirelli, reading studiously the works of Goldoni, La Commedia Dell Arte, Arlequin, the masks, the mystery, then the hidden seduction, the ambiguity of this period amongst other lovers of this period.
I was so impassioned that it was essential that I photograph something that would touch this period of frivolity and romantic adventures.
I had in my head Le Casanova of Fellini, and the particular version of Casanova by Comencini (The youth of Casanova in Venice) and above the ideas of Barry Lindon and Stanley Kubrick, and their marvelous storytelling of the rise of decadence and a, adventure taking place amongst this world of the 17/18th century.
With of course Venice...
This seemed to me to be obvious, because of everything that Venice époques in terms of the theatre, with its’ opulence, full of references to the past.
This city is outside of all time and which lives in an atmosphere of illusion, like some enormous work of scenery.
It seemed to me that it would cause a level of desire and deep fantasy in everyone and anyone. I love this city and I will love it forever. Venice is in the imagination of everyone.
We were both 20 years old, and were in a period of our lives that allowed the shooting of these pictures that have become acclaimed through-out the world.
Since then, we have been able to shoot many more picture, following our desires and wishes.
Denis unfortunately passed away in 1994, leaving me alone to pass on the passion that we created during our time together.
Whish is that of Venice the theatre. The magic will never die.