Sunday, October 12, 2014

MySpot: I'll Sit in the Park and Feed the Pigeons for a While

"The Flutter of blue pigeon's wings
Under a river bridge
Hunting a clean dry arch,
A corner for a sleep --
This flutters here in a woman's hand."

Carl Sandburg

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Barcelona: Boats in Tequila Sunset

"Twenty years from now 
you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do 
than by the ones you did do. 
So throw off the bowlines. 
Sail away from the safe harbor. 
Catch the trade winds in your sails. 
Explore. Dream. Discover."

Mark Twain

Friday, October 10, 2014

Barcelona: El Desconsol

Desolation is a 1907 sculpture by Josep Llimona 
in the collection of the National Art Museum of Catalonia in Barcelona.

It represents a mysterious, delicate woman hiding her face in an attitude of despair 
and is one of the paradigmatic works of the Catalan Modernist movement. 

Llimona's masterful work arises from a block of stone, 
but the softness and roundness of its forms contrasts strongly 
with the roughness of the material. 
The female figure evokes contained melancholy that can be perceived subtly; 
her pose hides much of the inner world of the character. 
Her face, covered by a thick mass of hair, is unknown. 
Only the gesture of the hands, slightly touching, give life to the sculpture.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Barcelona: National Art Museum of Catalonia II

The Palau Nacional is a huge building which embodies the academic classical style. 
Its facade is crowned by a great dome inspired by 
St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican City in Rome, 
flanked by two smaller domes, 
while four towers modeled on Santiago de Compostela Cathedral 
stand at the corners of the so-called Sala Oval. 

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Barcelona: The Magic Fountain of Montjuïc

Initially designed as a centerpiece for the 1929 Universal Exhibition, 
the Magic Fountain was originally dismissed as being far too daring and unrealistic project. 
But architect Carles Buigas was determined 
and would not give up on his dream of an extravagant, outlandish design. 
Eventually he won his case and with the help of 3000 workers 
his grand vision began to take shape and was unveiled on the 19th of May that year. 

The masterpiece delighted and amazed the public and continues to do so even today.
Unfortunately, Buigas’s architectural gem was damaged during the Spanish Civil War, 
fell into disrepair and was out of use from 1955 until the 1970s. 
But luckily, and to the public’s delight, the fountain was meticulously restored 
and even awarded a special makeover for Barcelona’s 1992 Olympic Games.

The incorporation of music gave the Font Màgica de Montjuïc 
an even greater dramatic effect 
and today its 3,620 pirouetting jets of water and an endless array of ‘dancing’ movements work with the music, 
to culminate in a truly inspiring performance.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Barcelona: The Castle of the Three Dragons

This great building of unpainted brick, 
crowned with embattlements, 
known to most as the Three Dragons Castle, 
is an example of early Barcelona modernism. 

The building is was built by Domènech i Montaner in 1887
 as a café-restaurant for the 1888 Universal Exhibition
Since 1920 it has housed the Zoology Museum. 

It preceded the famous Amsterdam Stock Exchange by Berlage (1898) 
in its use of construction materials: 
exposed brick and undisguised iron structures. 
The building is also important for the history of art, 
because it is the site of the workshops where in the 19th century 
old artisan techniques in ceramics and iron-working were studied for the first time. 
This activity led to a resurgence in the decorative arts in Catalonia.

The coats of arms are all invented 
and the whole building exudes a teasing, playful air.

Barcelona: Port de Barcelona Building

At the base of the Rambla de Mar stands the Old Port Authority building, 
an ornate structure built in 1907 as a maritime station. 
Today it houses the Port Authority of Barcelona. 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Barcelona: Never Doubt

"Look not at the days gone by with a forlorn heart. 
They were simply the dots we can now connect with our present, 
to help us draw the outline of a beautiful tomorrow."


Barcelona: Beauty and Wholeness from the Broken Bits of Our Lives

"There are very few human beings who receive the truth, 
complete and staggering, 
by instant illumination. 
Most of them acquire it fragment by fragment, 
on a small scale, 
by successive developments, 
like a laborious mosaic."

 Anais Nin 

Barcelona: Straight Lines and Sharp Corners

"What I am building here will far outlive me. 
No one may know my name or what I did, 
but I know that I am participating in something far greater than me 
and the few stones that I have helped to shape."