Friday, October 19, 2012

People Posing in the Park

Maria Luísa Park sprawls with paths for pedestrians, bicyclists, and horse-drawn carriages. Once you get off those main paths, it's easy to forget you're in the middle of a big city. Some days, I share the park with lots of other people — although it never feels crowded. Other days, especially in summer when the temperatures climb, I don't have much company.

The park formerly made up the larger part of the gardens of the Palace of San Telmo (now the Presidential Palace). The grounds soon became an important part of the 1920 Ibero-American Exposition. The Infanta Luísa Fernanda (aka, Maria Luisa, 1832–1897) donated the park to the city of Sevilla in 1893. Maria Luisa was the heir-apparent to the Spanish throne until her sister, Queen Isabella II (obviously not the Isabella who sent Christopher Columbus to America to find Ray Charles), had a daughter in 1848.

MEMORIAL TO MARIA LUISA (1832–1897), THE PARK'S NAMESAKE.

In the past, I've shared photos of some of the gardens, pavilions, museums, ponds, and fountains. This time, I thought I'd introduce you to some of the people — of sorts. The park is filled with memorials (glorietas) and ornamental statues. I've included some of my favorites. Unfortunately, it's between seasonal plantings right now, so the gardens around the monuments were dug up and the gardens were being watered. I've therefore also included some mud along with the marble and bronze. I was tempted to do some cleaning before I took my photos. But then I reminded myself of the adage: "Clean your own house first." I've been doodling in the dust on my desk. So, although I don't think the advice was meant to be taken literally, I restrained myself.

MONUMENT TO THE POET GUSTAVO ADOLFO BÉCQUER WRAPS AROUND A TREE.
INSPIRED BY HIS BOOK, "RIMAS" ("RHYMES") — WITH NEXT THREE PHOTOS.
THE ADULT CUPID LYING STABBED AND DYING.
ANOTHER VIEW OF THE DYING CUPID.
SOMEONE LEFT FLOWERS (FOR BECQUER, NOT FOR POOR CUPID).
THREE YOUNG WOMEN WITH CUPID, AS A CHILD, HURLING ARROWS AT THEM.

The glorietas are dedicated to great and/or famous Spaniards (and an Italian and German or two). I've only shared a small sampling here. Improvements and restorations are always in progress and I hope that continues despite the economic crisis. Not all statues have signage. So, I don't know who a number of these "people" are. But, I figure they must be important. They got solos.

MONUMENT TO LUIS MONTOTO (1851–1929), OFFICIAL CHRONICLER OF THE CITY OF SEVILLA.
I HAVE NO IDEA WHY THEY GAVE HIM A NAKED LADY.



THE DIVINE DANTE ALIGHIERI.
HE WROTE A S0-CALLED COMEDY, BUT I DIDN'T FIND IT VERY FUNNY.

THE ONE ATOP THE HEAD ON THE LEFT IS A MOURNING DOVE (LIVE). THE OTHERS?

CHIEF ARCHITECT OF IBERO-AMERICAN EXPOSITION,
ANÍBAL CONZÁLEZ ALVAREZ-OSSORIO (1876–1929).
HE WOULD HAVE TO HAVE A GRAND NAME TO GO WITH THAT GRAND PROFILE.

A Name to Remember
Following that last photo of the architect, whose grand name so impressed me, I thought I'd end with Maria Luísa's official name (after her marriage to Antoine, Duke of Montpensier). Apparently, she went by Su Alteza Real la Serenísima y Egregia Señora Infanta Doña Luisa Fernanda de Borbón y Borbón, Duquesa de Montepensier (or more simply, Her Royal Highness the Most Serene and Egregious Lady Infanta Doña Luisa Fernanda de Bourbon, Duchess of Montpensier). No wonder they called her Maria Luísa.

18 comments:

  1. what an amazing park. It reminds me of scenes from in the garden of good and evil...thanks so much for taking me along.

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    1. Monkey:
      Interesting comparison. I've never been to that cemetery, but would love to check it out. I do love this park.

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  2. You met some great "people"! Thanks for sharing. Can you imagine introducing Maria Luisa with her formal name? It would take hours just to get past the introductions.

    I really appreciate your blogs. It takes me to a place that I will probably never be able to visit, but can see through your eyes. Thank you!

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    1. Jo:
      And if you think Maria Luísa's name is a mouthful, the current Duchess of Alba has more than 40 titles! I was going to give you HER full official name, but then realized I didn't have the space. The SHORT VERSION is Doña María del Rosario Cayetana Fitz-James Stuart y Silva, 18th Duchess of Alba de Tormes, Grandee of Spain!

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  3. European royalty do have a lot of names, no doubt from all those royal families intermingling.

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    1. Stephen:
      Do you suppose the Duchess of Alba can actually list her entire 40+ titles?

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  4. Of course I could sum up all the titles of the Duchess of Alba, but people can Google it too.

    I mailed you a map with all the statues and their names of the park. That way you can give the ones without a name.

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    1. Peter:
      Yep, I thought of listing the Duchess of Alba's titles, but decided that would have everyone yawning pretty quickly. Thanks for the map!

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  5. When I saw the title to your blog I thought "mimes"... you know, those folks who are totally painted and stand absolutely still... while you stare at them and dare them to blink... Your statues are much better... Hey... are ALL those statues in the SAME park?

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    1. Odd Essay:
      You know, I've never seen a mime here. I guess they're out of style. But, lots of people pretending to be statues And, yes, all these statues (and many more) are in Maria Luísa Park!

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  6. I find these monuments to be a bit spooky.
    Like these people from long ago are watching me.

    The longer your name, the more important you must be.

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    1. Stew:
      San Geraldo's aunt always said, the SHORTER your name, the more important you are... like "God."

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  7. The statuary is really beautiful Mitch! I was struck by Dante's.....and I thought I was serious! lol

    Oh the royals...always thinking so much of themselves.

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    1. Jim:
      I love that bust of Dante. All this art makes me really yearn for a sculpture class/studio!

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  8. The dying cupid is rather shocking. Who/why thought this one up I wonder?

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    1. Spo:
      I've never read Becquer's book "Rimas," but apparently all the sculptures in this glorieta are inspired by that.

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  9. I thought they were all lovely, but actually got tears in my eyes looking at the dying Cupid. I mean, it was the arm. The arm, reaching up to hold on to...anything. It just got to me. The human condition.

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    1. Maria:
      The dying Cupid is a very powerful work of art. It took my breath away the first time I saw it. My photos don't do it justice.

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