7 islands that have inspired artists

From Hemingway to Bergman, to Houellebecq, everyone draws from this oasis and tranquility masterpiece paradise that we enjoy rediscovering.

Fårö, the sanctuary of Ingmar Bergman

Ingmar Bergman discovered the Faroe Islands in the center of the Baltic Sea in 1960 while scouting locations for his film “Through the Looking Glass”. She will shoot on this rocky island, populated by sheep, her six films including “Persona” in 1966 and “Scenes of Married Life” in 1973. He settled there after taking refuge and died there in 2007. Currently, the small island of only 500 inhabitants each year is a pilgrimage site for movie lovers. Each year, a Bergman week covers an area of ​​111 dry square kilometers of the Faroe Islands, where all kinds of events are held at the conference and program of honored guests.

Pharaoh beach and its lighthouseGetty Images / iStockPhoto

The cradle of cinephilia, Fårö has become almost in spite of being himself. Ingmar originally wanted to shoot his film in Scottish Arkansas before seeing these lands on the advice of his producer who thought the island was more affordable. Well he took it. More than a decade after his death, Mia Hansen-Love pays homage to the filmmaker’s magic by featuring a couple in search of inspiration in the director’s footsteps of “Bergman Island” (2021). The film thus immerses viewers in the wild and solemn environment of the island when the couple discovers the Bergman Center, established in 2009 that welcomes thousands of visitors, sleeps in its home, works together and participates in the very tourist safari that returns. Swedish filming location.

Ernest Hemingway at Key West

The town on the island of Florida has it all: a postcard of the tropical landscape, the sunset like a few others, and above all the impression of the writer Ernest Hemingway. The Nobel Prize for Literature settled there with his second wife in 1927, first on Simonton Street where he wrote “A Farewell to Arms”, now considered Ernest Hemingway’s “Home”: a great and huge property there. Franco-Spanish colonial style.

Florida's Key West City, its colorful home and its harbor.

Florida’s Key West City, its colorful home and its harbor.Getty Images

Transformed into a museum, home to literary geniuses and for budding writers, it is possible to reserve an evening there to write in a setting where the ghost of a man known to himself as his father and his mythical typewriter. The house has 60 cats, of which about thirty are descendants of Hemingway, recognized by a specialty, with six of their fingers. On an island like the Keys Islands, congenital anomalies have not failed to continue. Like the influence of the intellectual.

The idyllic setting was especially suitable for the hobby of the writer who was a great lover of fishing, but also had his habit of bars in the area. It was common to see him sitting in Sloppy Joe’s with other local artists, such as author John dos Pasos or painter Waldo Pierce. The place inspired him in the famous Freddie’s novel Key West, “To Have It or Not” which he published in 1937. And, even if the establishment relocates the same year and there is a dispute with the ownership of that bar since its inception. The walls, Captain Tony’s saloon, the legend is permanently established and the citizens return it well: every year a meeting of the Hemingway look-alikes is held in the lair.

Marquess, the retreat of Jack Braille

“Time still stands in Marquess” Jack Braille sang under the same title, the last of which was recorded in 1977. It is in this earthly paradise, one of the five islands that French Polynesia has created, the artist who chooses to establish his last refuge and the ultimate source of inspiration for what it will become.

He discovered the Marquess from his sailing boat in 1975 after an eight-month voyage with actress Madley Bami, with whom he left his native Belgium for a world tour. The latter ends with the discovery of this magical place that will be the land of refuge for the rest of his life, three years after lung cancer.

Hiva Wa, the island of Marquess where Jack Braille and Paul Goguin rest.

Hiva Wa, the island of Marquess where Jack Braille and Paul Goguin rest.Getty Images

The islands he surveyed on the plains marked a return to a simple existence Away from his exposed Parisian life, the singer, in honor of his faithful “Jojo” friend Georges Pasquare, makes weekly connections to the islands to deliver food, medicine and letters to residents. Combined with this lifestyle, Jack Braille developed a fondness for locals and sisters living on the island and returned to France only to record his final album, a message to Marquez, and to try to cure his tumor.

From Jack Braille to Marquez, there is not much left according to the singer’s last will and testament, who did not want to invade the islands and especially Hiva Oa where he is buried. His home was demolished and rebuilt, his grave being as prudent as that of other adopted artists on the island, Paul Goguin. However, we find in the square, where Jack Braille hosted the outdoor screening, provided by Claude Lelauch, equipped with a sheet and a projector. Lonely and green, the Marxists still stand as the singer wishes: almost time is up.

Le Clezio in search of Rodriguez

A “Strange in the world of men”This is how Le Clézio described the island of Rodriguez in his 1986 novel “Voyages à Rodrigues”, nicknamed the second volume of Cinderella of the Mascarenhas exploring the lands. Following in the footsteps of his grandfather Leon and the looting for which he sacrificed his life, Le Clegio looks closely at this volcanic and little-known place.

The beach of Anne Ox Angles, a village in Rodriguez where the action of Le Clegio's novel takes place.

The beach of Anne Ox Angles, a village in Rodriguez where the action of Le Clegio’s novel takes place.Getty Images

Wild beaches and secluded coves popularize his story as the author reflects on the obsession that led his grandfather into solitary life and imposed exile. The protagonist of his fiction, Alexis, has been searching for the “treasure of the cursor” for several years, especially in the village of Anse Aux Anglis. “There is so much silence, so much solitude! The passage of the wind between the rocks and the brush, brought the distant murmur of the sea on the wall, but it is the noise of the world without people “, he raves in the” gold digger “.

The Boromanian Islands, an earthly paradise for Flubert

Heaven on earth… or rather on water. Contrary to the snow-capped peaks of the Penine Alps, Maggiore is a deep blue lake that dominates. Stresa sleeps on its shores, a seaside resort with its sandy epoch palace. A necklace of about ten islands stretches along this lake boundary between Piedmont, Lombardy and Ticino Canton. At its center are three of its most beautiful gems: the Isola Bella, the Isola Madre, and the Isola de Pescatori. They formed the Boromanian archipelago named after the royal family of which they were the castle.

Isola Madre, in the Boromanian Islands, is a bucolic place that inspired Flubert.

Isola Madre, in the Boromanian Islands, is a bucolic place that inspired Flubert.Pitamitz / Sipa

Orange trees, lemon trees and pomegranate trees rumble the hills standing on the horizon. “Isola Madre, earthly paradise”, Wrote Gustave Flaubert in 1845, when he discovered the island. A surprise shared by all who came to one of the first stages of the “Grand Tour” conducted by European golden youth in Italy since the 18th century. It attracts the greatest artists and writers from Dickens to Hemingway, Montesquieu to Standhall, William Turner to Goethe …

Canary Islands, setting of Michelle Howlebeck’s novel

Throughout her work, Michelle was inspired by the Haulebeck Island region. In “The Possibility of an Island”, he anchors his science fiction novel on the volcanic landscape of the Canary Islands. A source of inspiration that already served as a background, five years ago, was his story “Lanzarote”, along with a photo album of the island.

“We have overlooked an entire mineral desert, He writes, speaking of the province of Las Palmas. A huge flaw in front of us, a few tens of meters wide, the snake up to the horizon, cut through the gray surface of the earth’s crust. The silence was absolute. That’s what I told myself, what the world would be like after he died. A The one who was born in reunion loved the silence, the serenity of the islands, like the island of Beer in Ireland, where he kept his suitcases for years.

Landscape of the Lanzarote Desert in the Canary Islands.

Landscape of the Lanzarote Desert in the Canary Islands.© Getty Images / Istock

Corfu Island, the birthplace of Albert Cohen

Between steep hills and seaside resorts, the Greek island of Corfu is the birthplace of author Albert Cohen, born in 1895 on this land. The last voyage for Ulysses before returning to Ithaca, in this timeless corner, in the center of the Ionian Sea, never ceased to nurture him, significantly inspiring the description of Cephalonia in his novel “The Valiant”.

“I think it’s the most beautiful country in the world. I remember the orange grove, the lemon grove, and the huge silver olive groves by the sea, not like the stagnant, dusty Cote d’Azur. These are giant olive trees. And then there’s the sea, there’s something. There, he is very transparent. A huge barely moving crystal. And then there’s something even more remarkable: it’s the smell, the smell of camphor, the sea air that mixes with jasmine and honeysuckle.He made his debut in 1954 in an interview on Radio Lausanne.

The crystal clear waters of Corfu Island in the center of the Ionian Sea.

The crystal clear waters of Corfu Island in the center of the Ionian Sea.Getty Images / Istock

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