Originally this post was to be named “Following the steps of the Master of Cabestany: Le Boulou”.
Originally I just pretended to pay a short visit to the village of Le Boulou (Southern France), take some photos of the Sainte Marie Church portal, sculpted by the Master of Cabestany (12th century), and go back home the same morning.
But there was a problem: Céret.
Picasso came to Céret following the recommendation of his very good friend Manolo, and spent there long and productive seasons in 1911, 1912 and 1913. During those agreeable seasons in Céret, Picasso evolved towards the synthetic cubism, which included the invention of the now famous technique called “collage”. Thus, Picasso invented the collage in Céret. His first collage was created in May of 1912.
Let’s talk a little about Manolo now …
Manolo (Manuel Martínez Hugué, Barcelona 1872 – Caldes de Montbui 1945), was a great sculptor. He lived in Céret from 1910 to 1927. At the Reina Sofía Museum, Madrid, you can see Manolo’s “La Llobera” (Old Catalan Woman), sculpted by this maestro in Céret in 1910-1911.
If you are interested in the bohemian life of Manolo (or simply if you enjoy reading outstanding literature), and if you speak Spanish and/or Catalan (the book is available in both languages), I cannot but recommend to you the outstanding book “Vida de Manolo” (“Manolo’s Life”), written by another highly talented friend of him: Josep Pla.
So, if highly talented minds are strongly attracted by this wonderful village, how could a highly untalented mind like mine avoid its magical call? Impossible. I drove my little car to Céret. Le Boulou could wait. It was Saturday morning.
Saturday morning in Céret means open-air market …
Open-air market anywhere in France means lots of people wandering around:
Open-air market in these latitudes means lots of garlic:
Open-air market means fun:
You’ll need a bag to carry your garlic and your fun:
They sell other things, like bottles containing mysterious golden liquids:
They sell living things too:
I like France very much:
It is a nice country and it is full of people:
There are some tranquil corners in Céret too:
Céret has a barbershop:
Céret has a nice church:
Céret’s nice church has an outstanding organ:
This is a charcuterie:
Céret’s little streets are filled with big trees:
This is Céret’s Medieval bridge, a place surrounded by a myriad of legends:
The landscape that surrounds Céret inspired lots of beautiful paintings, like “Paisaje de Céret”, 1912, by Joaquim Sunyer.
As a matter of fact, the landscape that surrounds Céret is really magnifique …
Well, that’s ok for Céret.
It is time to follow the steps of the Master of Cabestany and complete this post.
Destination: Le Boulou
This is Le Boulou (above) and this is its Sainte Marie Church (below)
Master of Cabestany parvis …
It is a little difficult to take detailed photographs of the portal’s highest section from this little parvis (square).
You’ll find more info (in French) and detailed pictures (in the universal language of photography) in this pdf made by the Mairie (City Hall) of Le Boulou.
The pass of centuries has damaged the wonderful portal here and there.
Yes, taking good pictures of this portal was difficult. Moreover, I had a slight problem: it was almost lunchtime and I was very hungry. I was afraid that my empty stomach was about to produce some disturbing noises in this silent and little square if I didn’t feed it up soon.
French restaurants are superb, but I prefer those of Girona. So, I opted to cross the border (theoretical border, as within the European Community there are no physical borders) again. Urgent destination: Restaurant El Trull d’en Francesc, in the village of Boadella d’Empordà (Alt Empordà, province of Girona).
I wanted to test their new Spring Menu (3 courses and a dessert), for no other reason than adding a little more color to this post (www.trull-boadella.com):
1.- Cream of green asparagus with thin slices of sheep-cheese:
2.- Peas braised with small octopus:
3.- Pigs trotters with fresh morel cream:
4.- Sin of chocolate with lemon sorbet and orange cream:
No doubt, it is a wonderful spring …
This post is the result of a morning spent following the steps of that very mysterious Medieval artist known as the Master of Cabestany.
Thank you, Master!