The Guides of Chamonix Fresco

Wall Paintings by Graffiti Artists – some good, some not so good – are an increasingly common sight in cities across the world. But there are some wall paintings that are commissioned and stand out as extraordinary works of art and the Fresco celebrating the Mountain Guides of Chamonix is a huge Fresco and a truly magnificent creation.

Compagnie des Guides Fresco

Compagnie des Guides Fresco

It covers the entire end wall of a property on the Rue du Docteur Paccard close to the centre of Chamonix. This Fresco was conceived and created by Patrick Commecy of ‘A Fresco’ who previously painted another Fresco outside the Cinema Vox in Chamonix that I featured in ‘Lights, Camera, Action’.

The Mountain Guides Fresco was financed by the town’s Mayor and was inaugurated in July 2010. It features 20 of the outstanding pioneering Guides and Mountaineers associated with Chamonix and Mont Blanc including Michel-Gabriel Paccard and  Jacques Balmatwho were the first to climb Mont Blanc in 1786 (the two leftmost figures on the top left balcony).

It’s difficult to obtain a clear uninterrupted view of the entire Fresco and so the following three images concentrate on three segments of the Fresco. Remember that everything you see is painted – the balcony, the shadows. The wall is flat. It is an illusion: a trompe l’oeil on a grand scale.

From Lt: Louis Lachenal, Lionel Terray, Roger Frison-Roche, Rene Claret-Tournier, Armand Charlet. Below Balcony - Gaston Rebuffat

From Lt: Louis Lachenal, Lionel Terray, Roger Frison-Roche, Rene Claret-Tournier, Armand Charlet. Below Balcony – Gaston Rebuffat

Gaston Rebuffat

Gaston Rebuffat

From Lt: Edouard Cupelin, Francois Devouassoud, Joseph Ravanel, Michel Payot, Michel Croz

From Lt: Edouard Cupelin, Francois Devouassoud, Joseph Ravanel, Michel Payot, Michel Croz

Do please take a look at the ‘A Fresco’ website. Click on the link to go directly to ‘Les Guides de Chamonix Fresque’. Scroll down and you will find close-ups of every one of the 20 figures with individual information in French and English about each one. Finally if you are ever fortunate to visit this famous town, do not miss this Fresco. As they say in France: ‘c’est magnifique’.

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About LensScaper

Hi - I'm a UK-based photographer who started out 45+ years ago as a lover of landscapes, inspired by my love of outdoor pursuits: skiing, walking and climbing. Now retired, I seldom leave home without a camera and I find images in unexpected places and from different genres. I work on the premise that Photography is Art and that creativity is dependent on the cultivation of 'A Seeing Eye'. I'm not averse to manipulating images to produce derivatives that may sometimes be far removed from the original.
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25 Responses to The Guides of Chamonix Fresco

  1. Magnifique indeed Andy – I had to do a double take on first viewing. Remarkable!

  2. coast72 says:

    Wow, this made me look twice , that’s a real piece o art and credit to the artist! aswell as for you for capturing it so brilliantly!

  3. Jimmy Denham says:

    That’s pretty impressive artwork and well captured! Good stuff!

  4. ken bello says:

    This is really an extraordinary piece of work. Very impressive.

  5. This is outstanding fresco painting and what strikes me most is the love and care towards the subject that the painter, Patrick Commecy, has shown. I have never been to Chamonix but I can imagine it is full of mountaineering history and culture. Thank you for sharing this.

  6. These are fantastic Andy. I love how the artist has also detailed the shadows of each person. Great shots.

  7. seekraz says:

    Wonderful detail…what a pleasure to view…and interesting web-link, also…thanks, Andy. 🙂

  8. superb! Certainly doesn’t look like a painting at first glance.

  9. Alun Barrett says:

    Andy, I have passed this particular fresco for years as based in Chamonix in the winters, but never realised the relevance of the people. All names I know but never made the connection. Thank You
    Alun

    • LensScaper says:

      Hi Alun. Thanks very much for commenting. It wasn’t until they put up the information board the other side of the road near the bookshop that I had a crib sheet to identify everyone in the Fresco. I’m sure that wasn’t there from the outset. Lucky you being there right through the winter. Looks like winter will have a good start.

  10. rigmover says:

    Glad you captured this Andy, it’s so cool.

  11. janina says:

    Yes, I’m a fan of trompe l’oeil work and this example is quite magnificent, but, I wouldn’t call it graffiti…this is true Art, with a capital A! I really like the shadow of the bird, and all the others too of course. :O)

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks Janina. You are absolutely right. This is not graffiti, this is quality commissioned Art. It’s the small details that make it so special – the Bird’s shadow as you say is just one of those little extras

  12. ehpem says:

    Very well conceived and executed. Such a respectful treatment of local history and fantastic sense of depth of field.
    Nice photos too:)

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