Sunday, May 27, 2007


My Godmother and I went into Barcelona today, just the two of us. We had a fascinating time...we went to the Picasso museum, which I had had an opportunity to go to before, and it was again marvelous. They order it chronologically, and it is fascinating to watch his development as a painter...there is one room, relatively early on in the show, where there are a series of paintings that he executed shortly after his first arrival in Paris as a young man. You look at them and think, "Gee, that's a Cezanne, but it's not...and that's a Lautrec, but it's not....and Matisse, and and." Even at that time though he had the most courageous and bold willingness to handle colour. Not in all of his work, but now and then. There is one piece, he has piled on the most monstrously intimidating near electric blue. Opaque and thick and dominant, and he handles it. He manages to let the colour live and shine and glow but not take over; so that you have to concentrate to see that it is there, yet the painting beckons from across the room. No photos allowed, so you'll have to imagine that one.

They do have a reasonable website so you can see what you can find over there if you like.

One of the last pieces in the show were spread over two rooms. One is filled with seven or eight paintings that are so joyful, and bright and colourful, they are reminiscent of Matisse, but maintain Picasso's bold, wild aggressive brushwork and return to his earlier enjoyment of painting a view out of a window. They are paintings of a new pigeon or dovecote that he put up in his house.

The other amazing piece at the end of the show was a room in which he made 44 different versions of this painting:

Now this is P I C A S S O, so they don't much resemble the work here, but what fascinates me is why a man of such incredible talent got obsessed by this one painting that in one month he did 44 versions of it, took possession of it, created from his own imagination from it? Why? Strangely enough he didn't sign any of them, and this was a man who signed a napkin with a doodle on it, well aware of it's value.

This is a water spout for the courtyard of one of these old medieval buildings that make up the's a piggy!!!

And while walking around in the Barri Gothic, in old Barcelona, look at the graffiti I saw:

Free the Tofu!! Rise up! This may have some other meaning I cannot fathom, but I got a chuckle out of it anyway.

Yesterday we got about 5 kilos of artichokes for 2 Euros...look what we had for dinner, indeed we had almost nothing else:

It has been fantastic going to the museum with my Godmother, while I have a decent basic grounding in art history, her knowledge is enormously deeper and broader and it was fascinating what she could tell me about the background of some of the works and the people...

Election day today, tense and happy people in the placa, we'll have to wait and see...I couldn't vote in the end.

Oh, and those doors in the mountains? Mundane and mysterious. They were designed, and may still be used, as reservoirs for water for the Masia's, large ancient fortified farmhouses. They were also used to hide and store arms and ammunition.



Beth said...

44 different versions!
My obsessions pale in comparison. Of course, so does my talent.
Thanks for the art lesson!
Mountain walks, culture, great food, language skills and repaired shoes - life just doesn't get any sweeter...

oreneta said...

Beth: I agree, with such enormous talent, one could only expect enormous obsessions too. I wish I knew WHY he wanted to do it.