Radiouitzending: Springvossen 7 mei

In deze aflevering gaat Robert van Altena in gesprek met Marc Mulders over zijn gebrandschilderde ramen met de titel De betoverende tuin in de doopkapel van de Sint-Petrusbasiliek in Oirschot

About Marc Mulders


Marc Mulders (Tilburg, 1958)

The art of Marc Mulders is like a garden: colorful and abundant, with soft and light hues predominating. He paints in daylight, in an open stable, standing at the threshold between the darkness of the stable and the surrounding meadows of flowers.

In his earlier work, from the 1980s, dark colors are the dominant tone; he paints religious motifs such as the Pieta and the Last Supper, along with still lifes of dead game, fish and flowers. During this period he is greatly influenced by the work of Chaïm Soutine. While drawn to painting abstractly, Mulders does need the materiality of animals and flowers to paint.

An important turning point is his move, in 2008, from the city (Tilburg) to a farm on the country estate Baest. The garden and the flower meadows around his studio develop into a key motif in his oeuvre. And because of this, his palette gradually becomes lighter. The fields of flowers inspire him to render flowers in a more abstract way, in which the interplay of sunlight on these fields becomes prominent.

Painters such as Willem de Kooning, Helen Frankenthaler and (the later work of) Claude Monet are his main source of inspiration. So it comes as no surprise that he calls his own gardens and flower meadows 'my own private Giverny', referring to the famous gardens of Claude Monet in Giverny.

In addition to his focus on the garden/flower meadow as a motif, Marc Mulders has, for years, been interested in Persian miniatures, in which gardens also play a significant role. Their design, color schemes and symbolism have profoundly influenced the paintings of Mulders, and as a result many of his paintings bear titles such as Persian Garden, Let the Desert Bloom and Persian Juno Iris. These Persian miniatures have a strong influence on the arrangement of areas of color and motifs in his work.

Dutch artist inspires jeweller’s latest collection

2022, Kate Youde interview from Financial Times

Dutch artist inspires jeweller’s latest collection

When Fleur Damman-van Gelder was recovering from a near-fatal head injury, she took comfort in the work of Marc Mulders. His colour palette can be seen in the Baoli range

Painting with the Third Eye

2022, Nanda Janssen, Paris Fa in Hunt for Paradise

As my eye roams across the paintings of Marc Mulders, it seems as though reality has melted and resulted in colors. For years now he has been painting the afterimage of his paradisal flower garden in the Brabant countryside. Just look at the series on the night garden, called Nocturnes, or at the daylight variants of this that have idyllic titles such as Forest Floor, The Enchanted Garden, Persian Garden, Walk Me Out in the Morning Dew, Flowering and Let the Desert Bloom. As is the case with a variety of other artists, flowers and plants are the prelude to existence for Marc Mulders. In the abstract patterns of the Nocturnes, for instance, there are also things other than flowers to be discerned: from atoms or cells to entire galaxies or the universe. From the infinitely small to the infinitely vast. The connection of man, nature and the cosmos – that’s the concern of this provider of light.

Hope. Tweede Biënnale Kunst in de Heilige Driehoek

10-07-2021 - 15-08-2021, Oosterhout

For Marc Mulders painting in oil is the basis of all his work, but in addition to this he does produce watercolors, collages and stained-glass windows. In the early part of his career he painted explicitly religious motifs, such as the Pietà and the crown of thorns. His palette at that time was heavy and dark. Gradually animals, flowers and gardens became his main motifs, and he began to work in an increasingly abstract way. Soft, light pastel hues took on a dominant role. He compares his work to a garden: an enclosed place of beauty, healing and harmony, a haven in the midst of this hectic world.


For years now Marc Mulders has been interested in Persian miniatures, where gardens play an important role. In this tradition the garden is a heavenly place with cooling water and delicious fruit where lovers have trysts, where music can be heard and relaxation is found. The design and color schemes of these miniatures have profoundly influenced the paintings of Marc Mulders. Into this recent series of works on paper he incorporates miniatures that involve images of gardens and paradise. About this he himself says:

“I’m constantly looking at depictions of Paradise in Persian miniatures and in early Christian art. With the visual memory of these gardens I talk to my brushes as I paint, telling them to behave as though they were garden tools... and I comb through the paint, delve into and clip it, and with broad brushes I make imaginary paths in this garden of oil paint.”

This is how he makes illuminations in oil paint. Rather than magnifying the differences between Islam and Christianity, as is often done in discussions about society, Mulders emphasizes the spiritual similarities. The ideal of paradise, the hope of a mystical union with the divine and the longing for light are, after all, universal.

Anneke van Wolfswinkel

There is Hope

2021, Marc Mulders in Hope

“A garden is as wide as the heavens and the earth.”

Quran 3:133

My Own Private Giverny – Impressionisme for ever!

2017, Marc Mulders, essay from Marc Mulders. My Own Private Giverny

What do you do when, as a painter, you want to get away from all the noise and issues of the day? All those raised voices, opinions and condemnations made by politicians and extreme believers. But also: away from your own sense of being right. It so happens that the painter can behave like a gardener, planting and tending meadows of flowers and then letting these resound as echoes on the painter's canvas. Painting after nature is a quiet process and does not involve loud recitation, but rather the whispering of a vocabulary in a range of hues, gradations and moods derived from nature.

Pulsating Vitality – On the early work of Marc Mulders

2013, Jaap Goedegebuure, essay in The Moonlight Garden

In the painter’s manual that he compiled during the second half of his life, Albrecht Dürer expresses the insights passed down to him from the ancient Greeks. Answers to the artist’s questions should be sought in nature, he says, since only nature can provide the ideal model. Indeed, divine reality is revealed in it. This is not only to be found in the human form of a suffering Christ, but also in the hare and the deer, in splinters and grass.[1]

Painting Toward the Light

Jurriaan Benschop, from catalog Noordbrabants Museum

When Marc Mulders moved, in 2008, from the center of Tilburg to the rural estate Baest,[1] twenty kilometers away, and set up his studio in a large barn, he assumed that some change would occur in his work. The day-to-day surroundings had, after all, changed radically. All at once Mulders had 'the outdoor studio', as he calls it. The garden, the woods, the meadows and birds, the fog and flowers were right at his door, alive and in constant flux, driven by the seasons. For an artist like Mulders, it would be strange if such a change would not affect his work. Yet several years passed before the work revealed any visible transformations. And that says something, in fact, about what takes place when painting is conceived on the basis of nature and about the specific course that Mulders steers in this respect.