Painter: Dominique Beauregard
Photographer: Robin Simard
Detail: Acrylic on canvas; 30 “x 48”
Painting by Dominique Beauregard from the exhibition « Les Stations du curé Labelle »
The canvas depicts a friendship that, at first glance, might seem improbable—between a priest and an enemy of the clergy, two men whose social positions destined them to lead contrasting lives, but whose paths crossed nonetheless. An encounter that, to begin with, was cool and professional, but soon developed into a deep, genuine friendship.
The title of the painting, Mon vicaire, is taken from a letter Labelle wrote to his anticlerical friend Arthur Buies, on December 6, 1882, in which he referred to him as “mon vicaire” (“my curate”). The darkness surrounding the two characters symbolizes the ignorance being dispelled by the combined light of their two lanterns. The maples in the background represent the French-Canadian people. The two men hold lanterns identical to the one that illustrated Buies’ controversial satirical newspaper. The artist’s intention was to underscore Labelle’s sound judgement. The priest known as Father Common Sense could recognize, most importantly, his friend’s passion for the advancement of ideas without getting too worked up about his literary excesses. As they say, what unites us is stronger than what divides us.