Sunday, September 27, 2015

Walking to the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya

Looking over the City of Barcelona from Montjuic
Today is the final day in Barcelona.  And like the final day of every long vacation, I am dog-tired.  But it's the last day to see the place, so taking an off-day is not an option.

But a low-key final day most certainly was an option.  So it was off to the Pablo Picasso museum.

The museum is housed in five separate but now connected mansion in the historic La Ribera district of Old Barcelona.  

The museum was founded by Picasso's long time friend and secretary Jaume Sabartes.  It opened before Picasso died.  Picasso was intimately involved in the planning of the museum.  But he never saw it.  He vowed never to step foot in Spain until Franco died.  Franco out-lived him.

The museum houses an extensive collection of Picasso's early years, including some amazing pieces done in his teen years, as well as an extensive collection from the World War I era "Blue Period."  The collection is largely chronological, but, strangely, from the late 1910's, the collection fast forwards to his work in the late 1950's.  We miss the time period when Picasso went completely off the rails with cubism and placing both eyeballs on the same side of the nose.  The day art died.  We miss all that and head into his major works post-Elvis, most specifically his studies on Velazquez's masterpiece, "La infanta doña Margarita de Austria."  We saw Dali's take on the same piece at his museum in Figueres.

Why am I saying and not showing?  Because the museum enforces a strict "no photography" policy.   It's like all the single artist museums are anti-recording.  Except Dali.  His museum is the art world equivalent of a Grateful Dead show.

So let's scoot away.

Speaking of Elvis, I never went to the Barba Rossa, as advertised in the Barcelona Metro, for one of their "Burgers of the Route 66," specifically the awesomely delicious looking "Fat Elvis Burger."  You have to save some things for your next trip to a city.

So after getting cut into the little cubes at the Picasso museum, it was off to the Plaça d'Espanya to check out the surrounding neighborhood and go to the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya.

This is Plaça d'Espanya, a.k.a. Plaza de España.  This was an area largely developed for the 1929 world's fair in Barcelona.

Also just north of Plaça d'Espanya is Parque de Joan Miró.

It's worth walking a block north of the Metro just to see this giant Joan Miró sculpture piece.

So I will stand in front of that giant Joan Miró sculpture in Parque de Joan Miró and take my final selfie of this trip.

But other than that, it's just a park.  With grass.  Some trees.  Dogs (even though a sign says "no dogs").  I was hoping there would be more Joan Miró stuff at the park, but it's more "parque" than it is "de Joan Miró."

Notice the red brick circular building in the background of the giant Joan Miró sculpture?  Here's a closer look.

I had a guess as to what that building would be, seeing as it was a round open air arena in Spain.

I asked what appeared to be a TV news crew what that building was.  The man in the suit was struggling with the English, so he switched to Spanish and said that was the "plaza de toros."  I was right.  It was the old bullfighting ring.  Bullfighting is not indigenous to Catalunya.  Apparently it was introduced into the region when Franco was trying to make Catalonia less Catalonian and more Spanish.  It has been re-purposed into a theater.

Plaça d'Espanya, as viewed from another angle.

And now walking into the old exposition area.

To get to the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya.

There are a lot of steps to climb from here to get up to the museum.  Fortunately, there are some escalators for some of the up journey.

The building is beautiful.  Here it is posing behind four columns that symbolize something,

Here is a view without symbolism.

So close, yet so many more stairs to climb.

Only to find out that the museum closes on Sunday at 3:00PM and it was 3:15PM by the time we climbed all those stairs.  But at least the views from the top were still viewable at that hour.

I am now sight-seed out.  Time to wash up for dinner.

No comments:

Post a Comment