To capture the essence of master painters, Dan Bannino shot outside the lines. The Italian photographer pilgrimaged to 22 European cities and towns for his Eye of the Artist series, a collection of photos from the perspective of ten famous artists, from Pablo Picasso to Paul Cezanne. “I wanted to eat their food, smell the air, see the same colours that they had in their eyes,” says Bannino.
In Albi, France, Bannino visited the church French painter Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec was baptized in and met with the artist’s last living relative at the family castle, Chateau du Bose. He based his Toulouse-Lautrec photo on a story about how the French painter filled water glasses with fish so guests would be forced to drink wine at his parties. Other stops included Dali’s favourite restaurant and impromptu performance space in Spain’s Costa Brava region, and Renoir’s retirement home in Cagnes-sur-Mer, France, where he continued to paint despite crippling rheumatism.
Els Quatre Gats, Picasso’s Barcelona cafe hangout in the late 19th century, still uses the menu cover that the surrealist designed. This inspired the backdrop of Bannino’s Picasso-themed image, which also features another museum name—Mark Rothko; it’s also the name of Bannino’s canine travel companion. Photographer and National Geographic Traveler (U.S.) contributor Juijen Drenth travelled around France and Holland for similar projects on Vermeer, Rembrandt, and van Gogh. He recreated Van Gogh’s gritty “Potato Eaters” with a Dutch family in their kitchen.