The Viewpoint of the River by César Manrique

The Viewpoint of the River by César Manrique
The Viewpoint of the River by César Manrique

This is one of the most attractive works that the Canarian artistCésar Manriqueleft in his native land: the island ofLanzarote. And as throughout his entire career he shows us as a local artist capable of working disciplines such as architecture, sculpture or painting, all put at the service of extolling and valuing the Lanzarote landscape and its inhabitants, as can also be seen in other works of his such as the Monumento al Campesino or the Jameos del Agua.

Cesar Manrique River Viewpoint

César Manrique River Viewpoint

In the case of the Mirador del Río we are talking about a semi-underground construction installed in the north of the island, in the foothills of the Risco de Famaraand practically 500 meters high. A work that has become the ideal panoramic point to contemplate the coastline of the area, with some old s alt flats as the main protagonists. Of course, you can also appreciate the vastness of the Atlantic Ocean. And you can also see the islets of the nearby Chinijo Archipelago, separated from Lanzarote by a narrow strip of sea that they call “river” here, hence the name of the viewpoint.

The great success of Manrique is that he designed this enclave, so that you can see all that, but the viewpoint itself is not visible until you practically reach it. That is, it integrates perfectlyin the landscape, building into the interior of the earth, excavating, and what he raises as new construction, he covers it completely with the volcanic stone of the area.

When we arrive at Mirador del Río, we are welcomed by an iron sculpture. It represents a bird and a fish, animals with which Manrique wanted to capture that both air and water play an important role in this landscape.

After that you can access the interior, which is done through a winding corridor where there are different ornamental elements such as niches decorated with ceramics. This walk takes us to the Ojos de Mirador, two large windows that are concave in a horizontal direction and placed a little obliquely in the vertical. An arrangement that provokes even more the idea of ​​contemplation.

Those windows are located in the largest internal space, where there are also two monumental sculptures made of metallic materials and suspended from the vaulted ceiling. In this way they adorn, but they also serve as elements that alleviate the echo that could be caused in a closed and diaphanous space.

But the viewpoint has an upper floor, which is accessed by a spiral staircase. This access leads to a smaller window, with a different orientation, which makes it possible to distinguish the Volcán de la Corona in the distance. And to all this we must add the outdoor terraces, which seem to be hanging from the abyss, especially the front one. However, it is not dangerous to look out on it, since there is a perimeter railing that reminds one of the boats.intentionally.

In short, this is one of the great works of César Manrique, which was built between 1969 and 1971, for which he had a large team of engineers, architects and artists, since it was a work large-scale due to its location and the type of excavation and earthmoving work that had to be done.

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