In the lovely Maria Luisa Park in Seville is a monument to the Spanish poet Gustavo Adolfo Becquer and his poem Amor Eterno (Eternal Love). The statue depicts three women symbolizing the three states of love, excited love, possessed love and love lost. Behind them are two bronze pieces, ‘wounded love’ and ‘love hurts’ and a lifesize statue of the poet Becquer. The group of female figures is sculpted from a single piece of marble.
The Cypress tree around which the monument is located was planted in 1850, according to some, and in 1870 according to others, and it is one of the individual trees of the Parque de Maria Luisa. The monument can be found along the Avenue de Becquer at the roundabout of the same name.
View from the other side with statue of the poet Becquer and the two bronze figures with the seated females.
Hundreds of trees line the avenues with exotic touches provided by colourful tiled benches and Moorish fountains and pools and there are numerous seats around the park and the famous monument from which to enjoy this beautiful green space close to the River Guadalquivir..
The park was the site of the Expo 29, which had the Plaza de Espana as its centrepiece. My favourite way to see the park is to take a carriage ride through it – and yes, I know it’s a bit touristy and kitschy but nevertheless, it is a magical way to view this park. Large enough never to feel crowded, it is also a delightful place for a quiet stroll, a kids’ runabout, or a boat ride. A more energetic option is a bike for four with sunshade – the front seats have belts to strap wriggly young children in safely. They are for hire in the road opposite Plaza de España.
It was in the small Spanish fishing villages of Lloret de Mar and Tossa de Mar that the torrid romance of Ava Gardner and Frank Sinatra played out in the 1950s. More than a romance between singer and actress, this was a passion of operatic proportions played out between the singer, the actress and the matador, because Ava was also having an affair with Catalan matador, Mario Cabré.
In 1950 Sinatra came to Spain to be with Ava who was living in Tossa de Mar while shooting Pandora and the Flying Dutchman. They tried to be discreet about their affair but as the Matador publicly dedicated every bull he killed to Ava, this proved impossible. Sinatra divorced his wife in 1951 and married Ava the same year.
In 1953, the pair split up, but Sinatra came back looking for her at Christmas of that year by which time, Gardner was having an affair with another bullfighter, the famous Luis Miguel Dominguín. Sinatra and Ava made up and moved to Madrid where their life was lived out in public in night-clubs and restaurants, their frequent booze-fuelled fights ensuring the affair remained front-page news. They divorced in 1957.
Gardner became an alcoholic. She had a stroke which left her unable to speak properly and the only person she would speak to in her last years was Frank Sinatra who telephoned her regularly. She said he had always been the love of her life.
Ava’s charm and friendliness won over the people of the two villages and both towns erected a statue to her. The one below is in Tossa de Mar, the one above from Lloret de Mar taken on a visit I made in the early days of this century. I think the Tossa one is more beautiful but the Lloret one was meant to symbolise her role in The Barefoot Contessa.
This should have gone up on Christmas Day but I didn’t schedule it for the correct date. Better late than never, this iconic statue surely needs no explanation. Not my photograph, unfortunately, but it’s one most people will understand.
“Sound II” stands like a gently glowing sentry beneath the nearly 1,000-year-old stone mass of Chichester Cathederal. It was installed sometime in the late 1980’s, part of an effort by the cathedral to introduce contemporary art into the Gothic masterpiece.
This life-size statue of a man contemplating the water held in his cupped hands is fashioned from lead out of a plaster cast of the artist’s own body and stands in the crypt of Winchester Cathedral. During the rainy months, the crypt floods and as the water level rises gradually to his knees, the statue acquires an even more moody air as it stands in silent contemplation of its cupped hands. There is a tube mechanism through the body, so as the water rises it fills his cupped hands
This statue to the great French playwright Moliėre, one of the great comic-writers of all time and described by Stendahl as “Molière, the great painter of man”, is to be found in the town of Pézenas in the Langudoc-Rousillon area of France, where he lived for many years. He had an acting troupe which worked in both Paris and Pézenas and had as patron, the brother of the King, the Duke of Orleans.
He led an extraordinary life and his death became legend; he died on stage, while performing his final play, Le Malade Imaginaire, or rather, he collapsed on stage, and died a few hours later at his home. At that time, the Catholic church in France condemned the theatre as a school for scandal, held all actors to be ipso facto excommunicated, and forbade their burial in consecrated ground – which included every cemetery in Paris. Two priests refused to visit him to administer the sacraments and the third arrived too late.
The white marble statue was sculpted by Jean-Antoine Injalbert in 1897 and it shows the maid Lucette from Moliere’s play Monsieur de Pourceaugnac paying tribute to the master playwright with a goat-footed satyr representing Satire sitting at the bottom of the statue. Masks of the actors Coquelin Cadet and Jeanne Ludwig are on the back of the monument
In 1792 his remains were brought to the Museum of French monuments and in 1817 transferred to Le Père Lachaise Cemetery, Paris.
It definitely was a silent Sunday when we came across this deserted Byzantine church which we later found to be the oldest in Crete. Overgrown with grasses and weeds, it still has charm and I remember well the smell of the herbs underfoot as we explored the near-ruined building.
This striking Merchant Seaman’s Memorial in Cardiff Bay is in the form of a sleeping face fused with a ship’s hull. This was made by riveting plates of metal together, a traditional technique used in early iron and steel ship building. The sculptor Brian Fell, whose own father had been a merchant seaman, was commissioned to create the work in 1994 by Cardiff Bay Arts Trust, Cardiff Bay Development Corporation, Merchant Navy Memorial Committee and Cardiff County Council and it sits in Tiger Bay, Cardiff.
The ports of South Wales played a vital role in supplying coal from Welsh mines to fuel the world’s ships, especially warships and the allies were dependent on merchant vessels to transport troops, food, ammunition, raw materials and equipment. Shipping lanes ran around Pembrokeshire and around the island of Anglesey to get to and from the port of Liverpool and to access the Atlantic; within these lanes German U-boats targeted ships, sinking them with torpedoes and sea mines.
Over 150 vessels were sunk off the coast of Wales during the first World War alone.