Life imitates art for globetrotting Quebecer who dresses up like paintings

Quebec City museum worker Marie-Hélène Raymond has joined a 'micro-trend' of dressing up like works of art.

Museum worker and Instagrammer tries to take 1 picture per month with a work of art

This Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec employee poses with Jean Paul Lemieux's Tourné vers le cosmos. Marie-Hélène Raymond says in other museums, people aren't sure what she's doing and take photos of her. (Marie-Hélène Raymond/Instagram)

Marie-Hélène Raymond calls her hobby of dressing up like famous works of art, and then posing with them, a growing "micro-trend."

She credits an Instagrammer from California with pioneering the idea a few years ago. That woman, Michelle Satterlee, has since amassed 25,000 followers.

For Raymond, the practice of matching clothes to art adds another dimension to visiting her favourite paintings. 

"It's not only for the picture. It's an experience," she said.

Her first foray into the trend was with Rembrandt's The Night Watch at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.

She had arrived at the museum right when it opened but it was tourist season and already full of people, so she couldn't get a clear picture.

By the end of the day, a guard helped clear some space so she could get the shot.

Raymond's day job is in line with her hobby — she works as a member of the marketing team at the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec.

"In my museum with my colleagues, they are smiling and think it's fun," Raymond said. "In other museums people take pictures of me with the work."

Sometimes she'll find an outfit that mimics a painting, other times she'll paint its likeness onto an outfit herself, or she will dress as a character in a painting.

She aims to take one picture a month of herself with a work and post it to her personal Instagram account.

Raymond said part of the fun of the project is reinterpreting works and learning more about them along the way.

Whenever she plans to take a photo, she researches the artwork, makes sure it's currently on view, and that it hasn't been lent to another gallery or museum.

She said she's not sure what her next picture will be, but knowing that her museum is showing a Frida Kahlo exhibition in the winter has got her thinking.

Based on research from Quebec AM's Stephanie Mitchell


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?