Jean-Pierre Ruel’s masterful oil paintings thoughtfully and playfully examine the essence of French academic painting. Ruel draws inspiration from biblical and medieval legend, as well as scenes of an artist’s studio, to create works in the same spirit as the Old Masters while skilfully avoiding pastiche. Ruel renders his works accessible by taking a visceral, almost childlike joy in the materiality of painting. There is nothing chaste or austere here, however dark some of the narratives may seem. Hesitation marks, reconsidered strokes and spontaneous colour mixing are left for all to see, adding texture and demonstrating the confidence it takes for an artist to welcome the viewer into his process.