the Carmel

Paint job

Buckets for diluting the paint used by Thérèse - height 5,5 and 7 cm.

The job of paint job is basically anything that is painted in the house with a view to stimulating piety. He occupied several sisters throughout the Carmelite life of Thérèse, and initially Thérèse herself, who was in this job from the summer of 1892, when she painted the Oratory fresco. From that moment, she carried out several painting works until March 1896.

The main activities of painters of the monastery can be described as follows:

Illuminate purchased black and white images

illumination of images

The sisters buy images printed on parchment. They paste an engraving in the location provided for this purpose and they color the ornamentation surrounding the engraving, as seen on the left. The sales of images at the reception of the monastery are however weak, but the impact of this work of piety is important for the sisters, the images filling their breviaries and personal books.

The same type of coloring work was carried out by the sisters of the painting workshop for the Abbot Youf's missal, with the contribution of Thérèse. This is watercolor and the technique requires a lot of training so as not to overflow the coloring section.

Sometimes the images are illuminated with gold leaf, it is also possible to use gold powder. We see below some sachets of powder of the time. The preparation technique is longer, as we can see one preview here. It is necessary to dilute the powder, then to apply it and once dried, to make it shine with a burnisher. We see in the foreground one of these burnishers used by Thérèse to make the golden area shine.


he nuns skilled in illuminating images also made altar cannons. These are three paintings, one large and two small, which were placed on the altar as a memorandum in large print for the priest. They had sections to be said during each Mass, in a low voice or out loud. The sisters sold them for 250 francs, with all the illumination work. Below is a detail of an altar cannon executed by Agnès de Jesus, an excellent miniaturist. By clicking on it you can see the whole room.

isolated barrel detail AJ LT

Paint purchased plaster statues white.

home industry statues

A good part of the statues of the house were bought in white plaster (notably from the Raffl house), which is more economical. The sisters of the paint job were in charge of their coloring, with varying results.

If the statue is quite successful (like the head of the Virgin on the left), it is because it comes from a specialized workshop! In general, the sisters apply the ground color from one end to the other of the area to be painted. For example on the right, the veil is entirely of the same shade, just like the skin of the face and neck, except for the red applications.

Sometimes creativity comes from the repeated insertion of patterns on a surface that is evenly covered with the same color. This technique is recognized in painted angels by Therese.

Painting or retouching the paintings of the monastery

It is within this framework of the painting produced to stimulate devotion that we can insert the work of the fresco of the oratory carried out by Thérèse. She also contributed to adding floral elements to painted pictures by Agnes of Jesus. But it was above all Céline who outdid herself to nourish the devotion of the sisters, at the request of the community, before and after her entry. For example, his Saint John of the Cross (1894) opposite.

Make cartridges containing sentences

What is a sentence? it is a maxim of wisdom painted on the walls to strike the spirit of the person who often passes by and help him to become better. In the Carmel, it is the tradition to adorn the walls of the cloisters, the refectory, the chapter and the novitiate. They are also found in parlors. These sentences come from the Bible and from the texts of the saints of Carmel.

Most of the sayings are painted directly on the walls, as can be seen below, with this saying near the chapter, in the Dormitory St Elijah. They were also drawn on cartridges of rigid cardboard, for example in the visiting room. Thérèse participated in this work.

award chapter

Let us add that Thérèse was fulfilled by this task carried out for a few years, because she was able to fulfill her very old desires - Manuscript A 81 r.

Equipment used by Thérèse for painting
illumination AJ