LES CADRANS SOLAIRES: THE CERAMIC TILE SUNDIALS OF COARAZE, PROVENCE
The nine sundials shown below are in Coaraze, a small medieval ‘village perché’ (650m) in the Alpes-Maritimes, Provence, north of Nice. They include sundials by artistic polymath Jean Cocteau (poet, novelist, dramatist, designer, artist and filmmaker); Ponce de Leon; and Henri Goetz, among others. They are located in two places in the village (1) on the front and side walls of the Marie (2) at the top of the village on a south-facing walls in the square in front of the church. They need no interpretation by me: everyone who views these wonderful sundials will experience their own personal response to each one.
MONA CRISTIE – LA CHEVAUCHÉE DU TEMPS
GEORGES DOUKING – LES ANIMAUX FABULEUX
JEAN COCTEAU – LES LÉZARDS
Lizards are the historic symbol of the village
GILBERT VALENTIN – LES TOURNESOLS
FABIENNE BARRE (2008)
On the side wall of the Marie, with a view of the village
ANGEL PONCE DE LÉON – BLUE TIME (1961)
HENRI GOETZ – LE PYTHON ET SA COURONNE EN VERT ET OR (1961)
Céret lies south of Perpignan, in the foothills of the Pyrenees quite close to the Spanish border. The Hermitage is a short distance to the north. The modern art museum in Céret has many works by Picasso, including sculpture and ceramics; and by other famous artists of the period.
This enjoyably rustic sundial is painted directly onto the facade of the C13 chapel (restoration C18). It is intriguing for the way in which the radials are moored, carefully graduated, on the diagonal of the dial face. The arrow gnomon forms part of the opposite diagonal. As an amateur, to me the design of the dial looks quite complicated, especially the calculation of the angle and distance between 11 & noon.
I am still trying to work out the inscription at the top. It seems to be ‘Ultimum’, which could be a neat Latin way of saying something like ‘To the end of Time / Jusqu’ à la fin du temps’