Monday, April 08, 2019

Marseilles - L'Estaque - Cezanne's Paradise Lost

Last day in Marseilles. We had time for one last sight before driving back home. I voted for L'Estaque, the berceau of the impressionist movement in art. It was to this sleepy fishing village, just a stone's throw from Marseilles, that Cezanne had come for his holidays, been entranced, and had gone on to draw a series of paintings that had launched the impressionist movement. He was followed by a series of other painters:   Braque, Derain, Dufy, Marquet, Friesz, Macke, Renoir, Guigou and Monticelli... This village inspired three movements: impressionism, fauvism, cubism. Here is one of Cezannes paintings of this village:


Finding the village wasn't difficult. As you take the exit from Marseilles towards Lyon via A7, nice large signboards guide you to it. Once in the village, nice small signboards guide you to the "Artist's Walk", which includes the very spot on the port from which Cezanne painted his most famous painting of L'Estaque. There is a plaque commemorating the spot. 

UNFORTUNATELY, this is what you see...




Oh well... I guess it was stupid of me to imagine it would still be exactly as it was in Cezanne's time. The village itself is not so bad: it is no longer a quaint fishing village with quaint fishermen's cottages, but it isn't a concrete jungle either. It is like an upmarket, posh holiday resort with fancy bourgeois mansions. The bay is chock-a-block with pleasure yachts. So many boats you can barely see the water. I suppose this place is a victim to its fame. All the stinking rich business types want a piece of it.
Anyhow, it is still worth a visit if you are an aficionado of the arts. Just don't expect too much.

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