Articles in ‘Art’

Picasso’s Barcelona rooftops

April 29th, 2009

Picasso painted a series of paintings of the roofs of Barcelona in 1902 and 1903. Superficiously, television antennes and satellite dishes aside, the roofs of the old city haven’t changed much. but these bleak and barren views are of another city.



Shark graffiti

April 19th, 2009

I love this graffiti work in El Carmel, Barcelona. Note in the last image the juxtaposition of the shark formed by 100-euros notes, the fading PCC propoganda and the tree growing impossibly out of the concrete wall. Photos by Mónica.




Pakistani children

April 14th, 2009



Graffiti artist unknown. Taken by Mónica in El Carmel, Barcelona.

Barceloneta Beach by Picasso

April 13th, 2009


Barceloneta Beach by Pablo Picasso, 1896 – Oil on canvas. Note the factories of Poble Nou and I think La Maquinista in the background. Picasso lived in the city as a young man between 1895 and 1904. It is also striking how bare the Catalan coast painted in the background was. We forget the massive reforestation in Spain since the 1960s as people no longer had to cut down trees for fuel.

  • Picasso in Barcelona ( He said of Barcelona “There is where it all began… There is where I understood how far I could go
  • ” Picasso thrived in the city, regarding it in times of sadness or nostalgia as his true home.” (Wikipedia)

An interview with Manuel Vázquez Montalbán

March 19th, 2009

This was possibly the last interview conducted with novelist and political commentator Manuel Vázquez Montalbán before he died of a heart attack in Bangkok att he age of 64. He had been on a book tour of Australia and had spoken to Australian crime fiction magazine, Crime Factory.

Here’s was what he had to say about Barcelona:

What does Barcelona mean for you?

Barcelona is at the same time both the territory where my memory is formed and the place with which I have a relationship of  knowledge like that of a dog when he urinates in the four corners. He’s marked his territory. Given that it’s a city with many layers, it could be said that it is a various city in one, as I tried to show in my book Barcelonas, a book which has been translated into English. In books like The Pianist which are not part of the Carvalho series, Barcelona is primarily the city of the hidden memory, thanks to the Civil War, while in the Carvalho cycle of books, it is the setting in which is created the conflict with crime, and sometimes, between politics and crime.

  • Manuel Vázquez Montalbán – Wikipedia
  • Obituary The Guardian “A novelist, poet, essayist, political commentator, playwright and humorist, Vázquez was born in Barcelona’s seedy Barrio Chino neighbourhood just after the Spanish civil war. His father, a communist labourer, was imprisoned for five years after the war, and his anarcho-syndicalist mother was a seamstress. The author was passionate about Barcelona, especially its football club.”

Joaquim Mir

March 10th, 2009

Joaquim Mir Oranges Orange grove (Mallorca)

Barcelona’s Caixaforum is hosting a new exhibition on Catalan landscape artist and modernist Joaquim Mir (1873-1940). He began his painting career with a group of artists (the so-called Colla del Safrà) who would head for the outskirts of Barcelona to paint in the open air. He then spent some time painting the wild cliffs on of northern Mallorca where he was said to have “gone crazy in a delirium of fusion with nature”. In later years he studied the Costa Brava and Montserrat. His work is full of light and colour, and depicts shadowy forests, black roofs and rugged terrain. He is considered one of the greatest Spanish landscape artists.

The Rock in the Pond

The MNAC (Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya) website describes Mir thus:

Joaquim Mir, one of the most advanced, intuitive and personal leading figures of the second generation of Modernista painters, can be considered the most gifted landscape painter of his generation and perhaps even the best representative of modern Catalan painting. After having trained in landscape Realism, in 1899 Mir moved to Majorca, where he began to explore his own personal vision of landscape. His works of this period reflect the exaltation of unrestrained Nature, unreal almost, brimming with bold ranges of colour. Following a fall (fortuitous or otherwise) from a cliff in Majorca, Mir was admitted to the psychiatric hospital in Reus. In 1906 he settled in the Camp de Tarragona region, where he remained until 1910, and painted a series of extraordinary landscapes that crown the phase of work he had commenced in Majorca. In short, colour is the key element in this painter’s artistic language, which virtually verges on abstraction. MNAC

Joaquín Mir i Trenxet: La encina y la vaca /The holm oak and the cow (1915)

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