Beauty, beauty everywhere
At the end of Carrer Prat de la Creu in Andorra la Vella there is a beautiful nude on one of the traffic circles. Who is she – you might ask – and what is she doing there? She is none other than the beautiful Mari Carme. This glorious bronze sculpture lovingly crafted by Josep Viladomat is majestically centre stage on the traffic circle and displayed out in the open. But how many people notice her? She changes with the seasons: dark bronze in autumn and winter and brilliantly bronze in spring and summer. Have you noticed her? Next time you’re down near the basketball stadium, feast your eyes on this beauty. One wonders: how many people come to Andorra and actually notice these gems scattered all over the capital?
The nude, or Mari Carme, by Josep
Have you seen the young lace-maker near inlingua in Escaldes? All inlingua teachers teaching at Escaldes-Engordany are surely familiar with this quiet, industrious maiden who pays no heed to the hustle and bustle of traffic and pedestrians that pass her by. Her concentration is all-consuming on the task at hand. The young woman’s craft has been fastidiously and lovingly depicted by the same sculptor, Josep Viladomat, with every detail of her labour captured on bronze, not to mention the deep concentration on her face.
La Puntaire (The Lacemaker) by Josep Viladomat (1972).
And what about the youthful dancing couple outside the Casa de la Vall building? Just looking at them one feels the jubilation that they joyfully exude whilst dancing the traditional dance of Andorra, the Morisca. The two vivacious, happy, young people symbolise the happy event of the New Reform of 1866 in Andorra when the right to vote was granted to all eligible heads of the household and not only to the wealthy.
La Morisca, the work of Josep Viladomat, (1967).
Then there’s Arnalda de Caboet. This diminutive statuette, which can be found under a conifer in Escaldes, is barely visible. It is diminutive in stature but grand in status and of great importance to Andorra’s history. Arnalda married Arnau, Viscount de Castellbo, and this union produced one daughter, Ermeenda, who married Roger Bernat, Count of Foix. This is significant because their grandson signed the first Paréage of Andorra with Pere d’Urg, Bishop of Urgell, in 1278. In addition, the lineage went on to produce King Henry IV of France. But we digress…this is not intended to lead to a history lesson.
Arnalda de Caboet by Sergi Mas (2007).
It was common practice for countries to use statues to honour significant public figures by displaying statutes or sculptures of them in communal spaces. Once a year, in some countries, people paid homage to them; thereby reminding future generations of their great leaders, their values, and significant historical deeds thus making the population proud and patriotic.
It is a fact that today there is much worldwide debate about the value of statutes depicting events or stations in the history of a country. It is alleged that the heroes of yesteryear are viewed as the villains of today. That is, however, a debate for another day. For today, dance with the dancers seen on this sculpture displayed near Carrer del Piu in Andorra la Vella and think of WH Davies’ poem:
“What is this life, if full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare…”
Monumento al Contrapàs by Sergi Mas (1977).
and go out and enjoy the beauty of art and praise those who have the talent to create such marvels.
By: Amelia Soares