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In Graphite on Watercolour sprayed with vegetable oil. 250×360

Featured In CORE and Melbourne,Victoria

“The Hunchback of Notre Dame” is undoubtedly, Victor Hugo’s finest and most famous work. It has been adapted to cinema on numerous occasions, including movies, television shows and animated features. The story takes place in the opulent Notre Dame Cathedral, which is managed by Archdeacon Claude Frollo. Many years earlier, Frollo adopted an abandoned child, a grossly deformed Quasimodo. Quasimodo spent his life in the Cathedral performing menial tasks, including ringing the church bells. Other main characters include La Esmeralda, a beautiful Gypsy dancer; Sister Gudule, a recluse whose baby daughter was kidnapped 15 years earlier; Phoebus de Chateaupers, captain of a company of archers and Pierre Gringoire, a struggling poet.

The story begins during the 1482 Festival of Fools. Quasimodo, because of his deformities, is being mocked and is elected as “Pope of Fools”. Archdeacon Frollo arrives and puts an end to the distasteful ceremony. Quasimodo is sent back to his home in the Cathedral. It is at this point that both Frollo and Quasimodo notice the beautiful 16 year old La Esmeralda. Both become infatuated with La Esmeralda and Archdeacon Frollo orders Quasimodo to help him kidnap her. In the attempt, Gringoire is injured and Quasimodo is captured by Phoebus’ guards. Frollo escapes, but Quasimodo is put on trial and is tortured as punishment.

Some time later, Frollo observes La Esmeralda and Phoebus together and he becomes insanely jealous. In a fit of anger, Frollo kills Phoebus and escapes. La Esmeralda is blamed and is forced to confess to the murder of Phoebus. She also confesses to being a witch. On her way to execution, she is saved by Quasimodo, who takes her to the Cathedral for safety. In the Cathedral, she cannot be arrested because the laws of Sanctuary prevent any arrest on Church property. On orders from Frollo, the Cathedral is attacked by a group of criminals who attempt to take La Esmeralda. Quasimodo fiercely defends her and he kills several of the attackers.

Under the cover of the attack, Frollo takes La Esmeralda away from the Cathedral where he offers to save her from arrest if she would only marry him. She refuses and chooses execution instead. After the death of La Esmeralda, Quasimodo seeks revenge and throws Frollo off the top of the Cathedral. Quasimodo, who was never seen again, left the Cathedral and found the body of La Esmeralda. He laid down next to her and slowly died of sadness and starvation. His body was found several years later.

This work reflects Victor Hugo’s disillusionment with the Catholic Church. The Church is represented by Archdeacon Frollo who is depicted very negatively in this book. He commits murder, ignores the celibacy rules of the Church and performs experiments in black magic. He is also indirectly responsible for the death of La Esmeralda by allowing her execution on false charges.

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Comments

  • Lynnette Shelley
    Lynnette Shelleyover 4 years ago

    fantastic job john! I love this

  • One of my all time favourite novels and the 1939 film with Charles Laughton is by far the best version.

    – John Dicandia ( JinnDoW )

  • Anita Inverarity
    Anita Inverarityover 4 years ago

    Outstanding work John !! xx

  • Thank you Anita for your continued support and appreciation. JD XXOO

    – John Dicandia ( JinnDoW )

  • F.A. Moore
    F.A. Mooreover 4 years ago

    This is GREAT. Love this John. The angst is evident as he sits with one of the Gargoyles of the Notre Dame Cathedral. And your description is outstanding, as well.

    ( “Sprayed with vegetable oil”? )

  • I wanted an image which would sum up the angst and despair of Quasimodo’s sad existence. I’d run out of fixtative so I used Onnis vegetable oil from a spray can. Apparently it works just as well as gives the piece that eerie old world effect. Lol!

    – John Dicandia ( JinnDoW )

  • zoequixote
    zoequixoteover 4 years ago

    this is so, so beautiful!! i love it!
    i have to ask about the vegetable oil, too…?

  • Thank you Zoe! Yes I wanted an image which would sum up the angst and despair of Quasimodo’s sad existence. I’d run out of fixtative so I used vegetable oil from a spray can. Apparently it works just as well as gives the piece that eerie old world effect. Lol!

    – John Dicandia ( JinnDoW )

  • sandraharris10
    sandraharris10over 4 years ago

    It was a powerful film in it’s time, and this is a powerful image ;-)

  • Thank you Sandra! Yes, The 1939 version with Charles Laughton truly captured the essence of the story and the visuals were truly spectacular! :)

    – John Dicandia ( JinnDoW )

  • eoconnor
    eoconnorover 4 years ago

    well done filled wih passion and deep emotion .why veg.oil ??LIZ

  • Thank you so much Liz! :) I’d run out of fixtative so I used vegetable oil from a spray can. Apparently it works just as well as gives the piece that eerie old world effect.

    – John Dicandia ( JinnDoW )

  • helene ruiz
    helene ruizover 4 years ago

    wow! fantastic!

  • Thank you Helene! Much appreciated! :)

    – John Dicandia ( JinnDoW )

  • Ming  Myaskovsky
    Ming Myaskovskyover 4 years ago

    Visually dynamic and emotionally powerful creation ! ;))) XXOO
    I can see that you put a lot of time into this! The details are incredible!
    I love the original 1939 Quasimodo monochrome motion picture…YOU made them come alive! ;))) XXOO

  • Tante aguri e baci Mingei, as I was saying to you the 1939 film version with Charles Laughton is by far the best in it’s depiction and it is more visually dynamic! This is just a prequel, so stayed tuned. Mitsu Kuma XXOO

    – John Dicandia ( JinnDoW )

  • PS : I agree the 1939 version has that beautiful and eerie monochromatic look which is perfect for a Gothic tale! : ))

    – John Dicandia ( JinnDoW )

  • madvlad
    madvladover 4 years ago

    john you missed your calling-and are not never your potentual—this is wonderful and yes i have seen, most of the movies they made on this wonderful story—charles lorton? or some name like that was great-in it—as quasimoto—you are a secret master john hidden too long—but art is fickle and the best rest in unknown gaves of undiscovery-till- their gaves areopened by times insult to them alive-hugz master—i pay you have your day in the sun of humble fame one day

  • Hello my friend.  Yes I wanted an image which would sum up the angst and despair of Quasimodo’s sad existence.
     Yes, The 1939 version with Charles Laughton and Maureen O’Hara truly captured the essence of the story and the visuals were truly spectacular! :) 
    It was truly Gothic! Cheers from your Italo-Aussie Pal Giovanni….

    – John Dicandia ( JinnDoW )

  • eoconnor
    eoconnorover 4 years ago

    thanks for the info on this !LIZ

  • No problem Liz. Anytime! :)

    – John Dicandia ( JinnDoW )

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