Sunday, 24 June 2012

LIGHTHOUSE POSTCARD FROM FRANCE

The French Mediterranean city of Sète is located in the in the Hérault department, in the Languedoc-Roussillon region, in southern France. The port of Sète was built by Colbert in 1666, as the Mediterranean entrance of the Canal du Midi. The Môle Saint Louis, built in 1669, is the historic breakwater mole sheltering the port and the canal entrance. 
The first light station in Sète was constructed by Vauban in 1684. In February 1861, a taller lighthouse was built in the breakwater and guided ships until August 19, 1944 when it was destroyed during World War II. The present 31m (101 ft) round masonry tower with lantern painted red was built in 1948. It is a copy of the 1861 lighthouse and can be seen in the foreground of the postcard.
Another lighthouse can be seen on the hill in the background: it is the Mont Saint-Clair Lighthouse, a 23 m (75 ft) octagonal masonry tower with a lantern painted green. Built by the engineer Hermann-Guiche during three years, the lighthouse was first lit on April 23, 1903. The lantern is located at 93 m (305 ft) above sea level and its light reaches 29 nautical miles. 
The French Post issued on November 7, 2011 an art souvenir sheet celebrating the 150th anniversary of the birth of French sculptors Antoine Bourdelle (1861-1929) and Aristide Maillol (1861-1944). The philatelic piece presents two stamps reproducing two of their works: the 0,89 € “Centaure Mourant” by Bourdelle and the 1,45 € “Les Trois Nymphes” by Maillol. The “Dying Centaur” is a bronze sculpture from 1914 exposed in the garden of the Bourdelle Museum in Paris.
Born in Montauban in 1861, Émile Antoine Bourdelle entered the prestigious Ecole des Beaux-Arts de Paris in 1884. He became Rodin’s assistant and went on to teach many prominent artists such as Giacometti and Maillol. He was one of the pioneers of 20th century monumental sculpture and gained international success for his work Hercules the Archer. Bourdelle died at Le Vésinet, near Paris, on October 1, 1929 and was interred in the Cimetière du Montparnasse, Paris, France.

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