Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Barcelona: Plaça de Catalunya Area

Plaça de Catalunya is considered the centre of Barcelona 
and is where the old centre meets the new. 
It is the starting point for 
Passeig de Gràcia, Rambla de Catalunya, La Rambla and Portal de l'Àngel, 
streets always crowded with residents and visitors. 
Around the square you have some large department stores 
including El Corte Inglés, FNAC and Habitat, other shops, cafés, bars and banks.

The square's large central space holds one-off concerts, 
public celebrations and a variety of activities. 
The square is notable for its sculptures, which were created by important artists, 
such as Josep Clarà's Goddess; the Francesc Macià monument by Josep Maria Subirachs; Pau Gargallo's Shepherds, 
and other works by Josep Llimona and Enrique Casanovas.

The origin of Plaça de Catalunya was the 1859 Pla Rovira, 
although the city council did not get permission to build it until the end of 1889, 
after Pere Falqués won the competition for its construction, 
at the Universal Exhibition of 1888. 
The foundations, considered of great urban value, 
extended to the shopping galleries on Avinguda de la Llum, 
today the basement of the El Triangle shopping centre. 

Until the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), 
its cafés and restaurants (Maison Dorée, Colón, Lluna, Suís) 
were centres of literary and political discussion. 
It was also an area of theatres such as the Bon Retir, Circ Eqüestre Alegria, Eldorado Concert and Teatre Barcelona.

Barcelona: Ajuntament de Barcelona & Palau de la Generalitat

The 15th-century city hall, 
in the very center of the Gothic Quarter, in Plaça Sant Jaume, 
faces the Palau de la Generalitat, with its mid-18th-century neoclassical facade, 
across the square once occupied by the Roman Forum. 

The Ajuntament is a rich repository of sculpture and painting by the great Catalan masters, 
from Marès to Gargallo to Clarà, from Subirachs to Miró and Llimona. 
Inside is the famous Saló de Cent, from which the Consell de Cent, 
Europe's oldest democratic parliament, 
governed Barcelona between 1373 and 1714.

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.