Robert Burns, a 63-year-old retired decorator from England, has turned the interior of his house into a modern-day Renaissance masterpiece.
After years of painting other people’s houses in boring, pastel colors, Burns got bored. He remembers thinking he had spent 15 years of his life applying the exact shade of magnolia with a paint roller, and was in desperate need of a creative outlet. One day, he bought two books about the Vatican at a car boot sale, and suddenly discovered the Italian Renaissance. Even though he had never been to Florence or Rome, he said to himself “How difficult can this be, I’m a decorator”, and that’s how it all started.
When he started working on his Renaissance interior, the self-taught artist redid his first painting three or four times because he thought it didn’t look good enough, but he soon got the hang of it and began to understand how great classics like Caravaggio or Michaelangelo did their works. While acrylics didn’t seem like the right kind of paint at the beginning, he soon learned they worked quite well if he got the technique right, and now his entire house is painted with acrylics.
Every inch of his sixties house, on the outskirts of East Sussex, is covered with elaborate paintings inspired by 15th century Renaissance works, but made sure he added his own personal touch. For example, his portrait of Jesus looks exactly like comedian Russel Bran, and it’s not by coincidence. Burns saw his photo in a newspaper and though he looked exactly like the Messiah. In Correggio’s fresco, which he used for his staircase, he painted his own eagle bevause he thought the original looked more like a turkey than a bird of prey.
The retired decorator admits his recreations are not as good as the original Renaissance works, but he is definitely pleased with what he has managed to achieve. And his not the only one; four years ago, when his stylish interior was only half finished, his work caught the eye of a billionaire who hired him to redo the ceiling of a crumbling ballroom. This job made him feel like he was really walking in the footsteps of artists like Rafael, who started out as talented decorators.
Robert’s wife Linda has always both his biggest fan and most serious art critic, and says she loves what he’s done with
the place. Her only regret is the artwork is all done on plaster so they won’t be able to take it with them if they ever have to move out. They can’t afford to buy the place so it all belongs to the town council. Their worst nightmare is that someone will come in with a roller and paint all the walls magnolia…