The Postman Who Built a Secret Palace of Tiny Stones
In one of the most unlikely and beautiful creative events, a postman built a surrealist palace from the rocks he collected on his delivery route.
“Everything you can see, dear passer-by, is the work of one peasant, who, out of a dream, created the queen of the world.”
To prove to himself that willpower can build kingdoms, a rural postman called Ferdinand Cheval, from 1879, spent 33 of his life modeling a palace of little stones, night after night and in secret.
In his autobiography, he recounts that one day, at the age of 43, he stumbled across a stone while walking on his postal route in the French countryside; the stone’s beauty inspired him so much that the next day he went back to the same place and picked up another… and he thus began to collect them in the pockets of his pants during his daily delivery rounds. And from that moment he became a silent collector and the creator of his personal kingdom.
With the same diligence of a collector that would last more than three decades, Cheval constructed his ideal palace, which he intricately built with figures of gods, temples and fountains. All of which he carried out in the dark nights of his free time.
A friend of Nature but of humble origin
without grumbling I went through all the things
that often make life so hard.
The structure is 78 feet long and 42 feet wide, with internal passageways covered with shells, long corridors, towers and external staircases. An inscription carved on one corner says, “10,000 days, 9300 hours, 33 years of toil.” Cheval said that the monument originated in a dream and that at the time he didn’t tell anybody for fear of appearing ridiculous. Today his palace is considered a magnificent example of naïve art architecture and was a source of inspiration for surrealists such as André Bretón and Pablo Picasso.
The ideal palace is located in Hauterives, in France’s Rhône valley. It is a true monument to pure fantasy and the most perseverant of willpower, and above all one of the most beautiful stories of apocryphal architecture that exists.
When ancient rituals became religion
The emergence of religions irreversibly changed the history of humanity. It’s therefore essential to ask when and how did ancient peoples’ rituals become organized systems of thought, each with their
Seven ancient maps of the Americas
A map is not the territory. —Alfred Korzybski Maps are never merely maps. They’re human projections, metaphors in which we find both the geographical and the imaginary. The cases of ghost islands
An artist crochets a perfect skeleton and internal organs
Shanell Papp is a skilled textile and crochet artist. She spent four long months crocheting a life-size skeleton in wool. She then filled it in with the organs of the human body in an act as patient
A musical tribute to maps
A sequence of sounds, rhythms, melodies and silences: music is a most primitive art, the most essential, and the most powerful of all languages. Its capacity is not limited to the (hardly trivial)
The enchantment of 17th-century optics
The sense of sight is perhaps one the imagination’s most prolific masters. That is why humankind has been fascinated and bewitched by optics and their possibilities for centuries. Like the heart, the
Would you found your own micro-nation? These eccentric examples show how easy it can be
Founding a country is, in some ways, a simple task. It is enough to manifest its existence and the motives for creating a new political entity. At least that is what has been demonstrated by the
Wondrous crossings: the galaxy caves of New Zealand
Often, the most extraordinary phenomena are “jealous of themselves” ––and they happen where the human eye cannot enjoy them. However, they can be discovered, and when we do find them we experience a
Think you have strange reading habits? Wait until you've seen how Mcluhan reads
We often forget or neglect to think about the infinite circumstances that are condensed in the acts that we consider habitual. Using a fork to eat, for example, or walking down the street and being
The sky is calling us, a love letter to the cosmos (video)
We once dreamt of open sails and Open seas We once dreamt of new frontiers and New lands Are we still a brave people? We must not forget that the very stars we see nowadays are the same stars and
The sister you always wanted (but made into a crystal chandelier)
Lucas Maassen always wanted to have a sister. And after 36 years he finally procured one, except, as strange as it may sound, in the shape of a chandelier. Maassen, a Dutch designer, asked the