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Art inspired by the French Riviera

The Côte d’Azur area is an area enriched with artistic delights. It is an art lover’s paradise. From painting to architecture, classic art to modern…

The Côte d’Azur area is an area enriched with artistic delights. It is an art lover’s paradise. From painting to architecture, classic art to modern masterpieces, glassblowing to ceramics, the area has something for everyone. Certainly, there is no mistaking that artwork of all genres is inspired by this stunning part of southern France. For us at Parc du Cap, we are lucky it is right on our doorstep, waiting for discovery.

Impressionism and Post-Impressionism heaven

In the late 19th Century, the likes of Paul Cézanne, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso and Pierre-Auguste Renoir immersed themselves in the beauty of Provence. Escaping the smoke and bustle of Paris during this period, these artists retreated to the tranquillity of the coast. As a result, influences and depictions of Provence and the surrounding area can be seen throughout their work.

A source of joy for Picasso

Perhaps best known of all the artists who lived on the French Riviera is Pablo Picasso (1881-1973). His work can be enjoyed at Musée Picasso situated in Antibes – a stone’s throw from Parc du Cap. Amongst his work inspired by the area is Joie De Vivre, created in 1946. Escaping the hardships of war and occupation, the French Riviera gave Picasso an opporunity to relax. With colours representing the Mediterranean landscape, the painting vividly expresses the sense of joy he experienced by being in Antibes. In the piece, Picasso captures the Greek mythological story of Antipolis (the Greek name for Antibes). You’ll find a tambourine-playing nymph, wild horse-like creatures, fauns dancing and playing the duale, and a double-barrel flute.

Mountains that inspire Cézanne

Similarly, prolific and locally born Post-Impressionist, Paul Cézanne (1839-1906), escaped the city to paint in his place of birth, Aix-en-Provence. The rocky Mont Sainte-Victoire, near Aix, was known to be one of Cézanne’s favourite landscape motifs. The mountain soaring 1,000 metres above a vast plain of vineyards, with red tile-roofed villages and meandering streams, frequently captured Cézanne’s imagination. In more than eighty paintings, Cézanne illustrated his cherished mountain from different positions, times of year, and light conditions.

Modern art of the thriving south

More recently, contemporary artists have descended on the buzzing and enchanting South of France. Their work can be discovered all along the Riviera coast and towns, in public areas and museums. Public art such as the Nomade, by Catalan artist Jaume Plensa, appeared in 2007 on the historic ramparts of Antibes. The monumental sculpture of a squatting man looking out to sea, contemplating Mediterranean life, is eight metres high and five metres wide.

In nearby Cagnes-Sur-Mer, take a stroll along Le Promenade des Arts which is host to regular contemporary art installations. For example, La Foule, by Myrian Klein, is a conceptual work of reflective metal silhouettes. The Mediterranean sun and sea magically interact with these independent figures. Another piece positioned on the promenade is Dans les Filets du Vent, by local artist SETCH. This statue is an evocation of Cagnes-sur-Mer, representing local elements such as fishermen and Haut-de-Cagnes Castle placed between sea and sky.

If you’re looking to be inspired by a piece of Provincial architecture, the avant-garde Maeght Foundation is worth a visit. Created by Aimé and Marguerite Maeght, the Foundation was dedicated to bringing artists together as well as showcasing their art. The exterior and interior of the Foundation demonstrates modern and contemporary art in all its forms.

Come face-to-face with film stars in Cannes

The painted walls of Cannes are another fun place to explore local art. These murals of famous film stars and movie scenes capture the very heart of Cannes and its world-class Film Festival. Enjoy walking along avenues of the city to be greeted by these celebrated faces at various locations across the city.

If you would like to find out more about the art of the area, the Parc du Cap concierge is always willing to assist.  You can learn more about other artists who have been inspired by the Côte d’Azur by clicking here.

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