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Cesar Manrique Cabrera

May 24, 2013

As this blog is mainly about Art I think I should finally tell you where and how I experienced Art during my holidays. To do this I’ll have to talk about Cesar Manrique Cabrera (1919 – 1992) – a famous artist and architect, who influenced the way Lanzarote looks even today.

I'd say Manrique is the key that opens up Lanzarote's beauty...

I’d say Cesar Manrique had found the key that unlocks Lanzarote’s beauty! (This key hangs on the door leading to his studio-house.)

It’s obvious that Manrique was in love with his island, as he put a lot of effort into preserving its beauty. That love stemmed from his childhood and can be illustrated with these words:

“My greatest happiness is to recall a happy childhood, five months summer vacations in the Caleta and the Famara beach, with its eight kilometers of clean and fine sand framed by cliffs of more than four hundred meters high that reflected on the beach like in a mirror. That image has been engraved in my soul as something of extraordinary beauty that I will never forget in all of my life.”

We are taking about a man who had seen the war, who had crossed the Atlantic and for a while lived in another continent, but always longed for his home. While staying in New York he wrote to one of his friends:

“…more than ever I feel true nostalgia for the real meaning of things. For the pureness of the people. For the bareness of my landscape, and for my friends…”

And after returning to his beloved island he said:

” When I returned from New York, I came with the intention of turning my native island into one of the more beautiful places in the planet, due to the endless possibilities that Lanzarote had to offer. ” 

He kept his promise in many ways, as he was a painter, sculptor, architect, ecologist, monument preserver, construction advisor, planner of urban developments, outliner of landscapes and gardens.

In order to experience Manrique’s greatness and witness his ideas you simply have to visit Cesar Manrique’s Foundation, a non profit private institution, which is located in the studio-home that the artist lived in.

Here’s some information provided on the official website dedicated to Cesar Manrique:

“Built in 1968 on top of a volcanic trail from a volcanic eruption that occurred in 1730-36. It uses, in the lower level, the natural formation of five volcanic bubbles to make an unusual and exemplary living space within a natural space. The outside of the house and upper level is an inspiration from the traditional architecture of Lanzarote.”

Below you will find some photographs I took while visiting that spectacular studio-home.

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I’ll leave you with Cesar Manrique’s words that I have read at his studio-home:

“As an artist, I feel I’ve been enormously and especially fortunate to have been born on a unique island where the obvious optical behavior induced by the powerful plasticity of its landscapes affords enormous advantage and a joyful predisposition to fall in love with it.

From that special biological perspective, I have rested my gaze, attentively and scrupulously, on every stone and stream of lava, the design and profile in the feel of its many volcanoes,  its seashores, black ash, special plant life and all those nooks and crannies where nature’s genius created works of art whose meaning I could only grasp with veritable astonishment.”

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For more information about Cesar Manrique please click here.

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