michel platnic lucien freud michel platnic lucien freud Artist Michel Platnic preparing for his work “Three Studies for Portrait of Lucien Freud." (Photo: Michel Platnic)

Artist's living portraits give a new dimension to historic paintings

Michel Platnic brings pieces by Francis Bacon and others to life with amazing accuracy.

Michel Platnic is living proof that the road to finding one’s passion includes as much guesswork as soul-searching. The 44-year-old French-born artist, who moved to Tel Aviv at age 28, spent years exploring occupations such as electrical engineering, dance, music and theater before finally deciding to try his hand at art. In 2005, he entered a Fine Arts college program in Israel, discovering an instant connection to the raw, emotional paintings of the 20th-century artist Francis Bacon.

Platnic’s creative vision, which has earned him praise from around the world, brings to life some of Bacon’s most classic pieces. The subjects in his beautiful  – and somewhat unnerving  – “living paintings” stare back at you, occasionally blinking, twitching or shifting positions. Adamant about accuracy, Platnic spends anywhere from two weeks to several months recreating each piece. In addition to his re-staging of Bacon's paintings, he has brought to life historical works such as the portraits of Queen Victoria and King Charles II of England that hang in London's National Gallery. 

In an interview with From The Grapevine, Platnic says Israeli culture helped him to "invest everything in my passion about art and creation." 

"Israel is a very dynamic country," he said. "Here it is allowed to make mistakes, people forgive them. So people tend to try new things all the time. They learn by themselves and take risks all the time. I think this is my main influence that helped me go and realize my dream."

While Platnic's living paintings are painstakingly created and then filmed for exhibits, he has yet to stage a live performance of the works.

"The living painting works (and sets) are very intense to produce," he said. "I would like, though, to share more of the building process in the future. Let's see if I find the right way to do so."

Those interested in seeing Michel Platnic's work can view his next solo exhibition at the Museum of Photography in Israel in November. The artist says that he is also considering several proposals for future solo exhibits abroad. 

"I have a lot of new themes that I am working on now," he said. "They will for sure be influenced by what I did until now. Let's see what will come out."

Check out videos of Platnic's stunning Living Paintings series below: 


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