This summer, the city of Cannes is presenting two major exhibitions to its visitors. One is the Lycklama exhibition, which retraces the life and travels of Tinco Lycklama à Nijeholt (1837-1900), founder of the Musée de la Castre and benefactor of the City of Cannes. The other one is “Le patrimoine mondial vu du ciel“, with a selection of works by world-reknowned photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand. These exhibitions have something in common – and you can call it synchronicity.
In 1877, the Dutchman Tinco Lycklama – a well-respected resident of Cannes – donated his personal museum to the city. The collection was the built from art, souvenirs and artefacts bought during his exceptional three-an-a-half year tour through Persia, Mesopotamia and the Levant, between 1865-68.
Tinco Lycklama, a friend of Claude Arthus-Bertrand.
Upon his return from the Near East, Lycklama published a monumental travel account – over 2,200 pages in four volumes. His editor was Claude Arthus-Bertrand, located at 21 rue Hautefeuille, in Paris.
Tinco Lycklama was a member of the French Société de Géographie, which was presided by his friend Victor Malte-Brun. The Société de Géographie was closely associated with the house of Arthus-Bertrand, the official publishers of the Société. Claude Arthus-Bertrand was the obvious publisher-of-choice for Tinco Lycklama. Victor Malte-Brun was highly supportive of Tinco and recommended his books through articles and speeches.
It is interesting to note that Claude Arthus-Bertrand – the third generation of editors and medallion manufacturers in Paris – was the great-great-grandfather of Yann Arthus-Bertrand.
Yann Arthus-Bertrand (born 1942, see Wikipedia…), photographer and film-producer, known worldwide for his recognisable aerial photography and film, is also a United Nations ‘goodwill ambassador’ for environmental issues. With his GoodPlanet Foundation, Yann Arthus-Bertrand actively encourages the public’s consciousness about ecology and the preservation of nature.
His exhibition in Cannes is sponsored by the French Committee for UNESCO. Through a selection of 35 aerial photographs, it showcases exceptional sites protected by UNESCO as world heritage sites. Cannes, with its Ile Sainte Marguerite and the famous Croisette, is a candidate for UNESCO recognition as World Heritage.
Yann Arthus-Bertrand captures what Tinco Lyckama saw
Beyond the unsuspected connection between Yann Arthus-Bertrand and Tinco Lycklama through the photographer’s ancestry, there is more that links the two exhibitions.
Tinco Lycklama made an exceptional voyage through the Near East, in 1865-1868. He visited places as a ‘simple tourist’, at a time when the only travellers in the region came with official government missions. Lycklama explored the Near East as a citizen, as someone who wanted to see things for himself, observe people and monuments, learn from other cultures and customs – without judging.
He also visited places that are currently destroyed or in danger of unreparable damage. Places like Mosul, Aleppo, Homs, Palmyra… Unfortunately, Tinco Lycklama didn’t make any photographs.
Amongst the 35 photographies at the Yann Arthus-Bertrand exhibition, there are a few spots visited by Tinco Lycklama. We let you discover two of these places through the exceptional photographs by Yann Arthus-Bertrand, with quotes from Tinco Lycklama’s books…
“J’avais vu les ruines de Persépolis, grandioses et superbes sur leur terrasse de granit, piédestal gigantesque qui en augmente l’effet; celles de Palmyre offrent un grandiose d’un autre genre, mais dont l’aspect n’est pas moins saisissant… Je consacrai trois journées entières, à explorer en détail ce magnifique cercueil d’une puissance un moment si brillante et si soudainement éteinte.” – Tinco Lycklama at Palmyra, July 16, 1868
“De tant de monuments, d’édifices, de temples contenus dans l’enceinte de Constantinople, obligé de faire un choix, je ne veux parler que de ce qui m’a frappé le plus, Sainte-Sophie… Sainte-Sophie (Aga-Sophia) était jadis la cathédrale de Constantinople; elle en est aujourd’hui la principale mosquée. Bâtie par Justinien sur les ruines de l’église de Constantin, les matériaux les plus précieux, arrachés à des monuments plus antiques, furent employés à sa construction. Transformée en mosquée par les premiers sultans, cette basilique en reçut l’adjonction de quatre minarets, qui sont les plus élevés de la ville ; mais sa disposition extérieure se trouve noyée dans les contreforts massifs et les autres constructions dont elle a été successivement entourée.” – Tinco Lycklama at Constantinople, September 12, 1868