Today we visited the neighboring seaside town of Banyuls-sur-Mer.
While many know this town as the namesake of a popular aperitif, it also was the birthplace, home, and final resting place of Aristide Maillol. Maillol was an artist of incredible talent who painted, sketched, and sculpted in the late 19th and first half of the 20th century. He was associated with Les Nabis, a post-impressionist group of artists who supported each other in their efforts to forge new forms of art for the 20th century. Maillol went his own way, specializing in sculpture. Maillol’s best known works may be his exquisite life sized sculptures of nude women. However, his paintings and drawings are fantastic and humbling to see.
Maillol is buried in the garden of his home. It is on a mountain side about 2 miles outside Banyuls, surrounded by terraced grape vineyard, olive orchards, and the southern most peaks of the Pyrennes. It is a rough landscape that challenges the eye with distant views, close up details, varied textures, scents that tweak the nose, and subtle color. A video of the artist in this environment shows his love for the mountains of his home.
Here are but a few sample of his work as seen in the open air. Three of these are on public display in the town of Banyuls sur Mer. The other one is the sculpture on his grave.
We enjoyed walking around the town as well as the short hike up a country lane to the museum.
Tomorrow is market day in Collioure!