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Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Urban Sketching Barcelona. Day 14: Articket - Picasso & more

Sketching on La Rambla

October 18, 2016

Feeling better, I decided to get out and explore places I had not yet been. At home I had purchased an "Articket BCN" a museum pass that would allow me to visit 6 museums, including the Picasso, Miro and the National Art Museum for a reduced price and to be able to enter without waiting in line - the best part! Ultimately I was able to visit 5 of the 6 and still saved money. It's a good deal if you plan on visiting these museums anyway and fun at the end to have a "passport" stamped at each museum as a kind of souvenir. My intention was to go to the Contemporary Art Museum first and take it from there. Except that  is closed on Tuesdays! No worries. Plenty of other things to see and do and found my way to the CCCB (The Centre de Cultura Contemporánia de Barcelona) and discovered a very fascinating, if hard to understand exhibition about the life and work of Raymond Lulli (c. 1232-1316), Spanish theologian, poet, and missionary. He developed a method of combining religious and philosophical attributes selected from a number of lists (Ars Magna) basically as a way of converting Muslims and Jews to Christianity by applying logic. I'm sure I don't "get it" - it all sounds like the work of a brilliant religious zealot but he was a very influential character.

A funny thing then happened on my way to the Picasso Museum - it's a bit difficult to find and as I turned a corner armed with maps and guide books a man came out of a nearby building and gestured that what I was looking for was just around the corner - without speaking a word of English! I looked startled and said "Picasso Museum??" To which he replied "Si!" and kept gesturing. I asked in English "How did you know??" And he looked at me with an expression that said "Lady, I don't speak your language but that's what everyone is looking for!" Funny.

The Picasso Museum occupies five large former Gothic palaces on Carrer de Montcada, the originals dating from the 13th - 15th centuries. The street was declared an artistic-historical heritage site in 1947. From the museum's website:

"The Picasso Museum was first opened in the Gothic Aguilar Palace, Palau Gòtic Aguilar (Montcada, 15) in 1963. The City Council extended the museum by annexing the Baró de Castellet Palace, Palau del Baró de Castellet (Montcada, 17) in 1970 and then with the Meca Palace, Palau Meca (Montcada, 19). A new museum extension was opened in 1999 at the Casa Mauri and the Finestres Palace, Palau Finestres with space for temporary exhibitions. These five palaces presently constitute the Barcelona Picasso Museum." 

I found the juxtaposition of Picasso's work with the medieval details of the building very exciting. The museum encompasses Picasso's formative years and his relationship with Barcelona. One of its major collections is Picasso's series "Las Meninas" based on the 1656 work by Diego Velazquez. I knew he was gifted from a young age, but to see paintings that he completed when he was only 14 or 15 years old simply boggles the mind. And with all the sketches on display you can imagine him working through his ideas as he turned from realism to cubism and modern art and the influences that helped shape his work.  Photography is not allowed in the museum but click here for the website.

And finally, I walked back to La Rambla for a little stroll and some sketching and when evening approached I made my way home.

Lulli's book

 Exhibit Inside the CCCB based on Lulli's ideas (I didn't get it!)

Chronology of his life using illustrated manuscript images

L to  R: CCCB, medieval Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar, Picasso Museum

By Barcelona design firm clase bcn, I loved Barcelona's banding system

Picasso Museum entrance courtyard

Beautiful shop facade on the Rambla 

So pretty!

Late afternoon on La Rambla

Always time for Gelato!

La Mare de Déu de Betlem (“Our Lady of Bethlehem Church”) on the Rambla

Flower markets and souvenir stands along the Rambla

Peeking into Plaça Reial off La Rambla

Gran Teatre del Liceu - on La Rambla


I found this shop that sold meats to be so beautiful!

More sweets!

Walking through Barcelona's streets as evening came on and the shops opened

Bakeries and Bread, Bread, Bread everywhere - on every street it seems

I like to call this one "Night Hawks, Barcelona style" 

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