When Napoleon III, self-acclaimed emperor of France, ascended the throne in 1852, he took residence in the Louvre where his royal apartments offered him a view on the small and chaotic medieval streets that was 19th century Paris. Like his nephew Napoleon I, Napoleon III followed an energetic foreign policy that did not only influenced the world at that time, but also brought modernization to France and Paris in particular. Not only was his reign a major period of industrialization for the French economy, he also ordered a dramatic renovation of the capital city that didn’t see much change ever since the Middle Ages.
Already during the 1830’s Paris prefect Rambuteau realized that, under the claim that air and men needed to circulate, the old city of Paris was overcrowded and a serious cause for concern. Inspired by Rambuteau’s thinking, Napoleon III assigned Baron Georges-Eugène Haussmann with the ambitious plan to not only renovate the city of Paris, but to completely rebuild it. And so, in a period of barely 20 years, Baron Hausmann transformed medieval Paris into the modern city we know today with glorious house blocks, large green boulevards with splendid angles that offered breath taking views on monuments such as the Arc de Triomphe and the Notre-Dame, and wide open squares, surrounded by ornamental buildings and plane trees.
When Romanian photographer and artist Mircius Aecrim recently visited Paris, it was his goal and objective to capture the beauty of the French capital in all its glory. But instead of spending his days on the streets and taking shots of the numerous famous monuments, Mircius took a completely different angle in bringing that beauty to life. We had not expected anything less from the talented artist from Bucharest. And so Mircius focused his skillful eye on the details that, through modern history, have become so characteristic for Paris. He took residence in a real Hausmann building bordering the Place de la Republique, and used the original wooden floors and fireplaces, the ornamented ceilings, walls and doorstyles and the empire-styled mirrors to create a poetic vision of Parisian charm. But the picture only became complete when he placed a small selection of handsome men in this frame. Men who are through their origin and looks, the personification of Parisian elegance and charm.
Though of foreign descent, Claude is as French as it comes. In this first Parisien series by Mircius Aecrim, Claude is the manifestation of what French elegance and – yes – male sexiness stands for. Set against this impressive Haussmanian decor Claude offers us a sneak peek in the life of a modern day French man. Alone at home, lost in thoughts, enjoying the first rays of sun while sitting on his bed in the morning, or simply indulging in a homemade café au lait. Mircius captured Claude in all his natural beauty and casualness, as if he and his camera were simply embedded in the house’s decorative architecture. And Claude? Claude is just Claude. Pure. Simple. Handsome. Sexy. And dreamy. Maybe looking out from his balcony trying to imagine the rich past in which history was made. –BM-
MIRCIUS AECRIM | BEAUTIFULMAG