Travel: Picasso’s Guernica

After being incredibly moved by observing the clear faith humans can maintain despite their hardships, we decided to enjoy the rest of our afternoon taking a leisurely stroll through the Parque del Buen Retiro, it is quite reminiscent of New York City’s Central Park.

Here are some highlights:

Palacio de Cristal

Palacio de Cristal

Monument to King Alfonso XII

Monument to King Alfonso XII

El Angel Caído

El Angel Caído

The highlight of our night included dropping by the Rena Sofia Museum. It was particularly economical because it happened to be free entry night. 😛 Our primary motivation was to bear witness to Pablo Picasso‘s infamous Guernica. The republican government commissioned Picasso for this piece to express the struggles of the the spanish during the  Spanish Civil War at the Paris International Exposition (1937), despite the official theme. It was meant to be used as a venue for propaganda to illustrate the nation’s suffering.


Guernica (1937)

For months he struggled with inspiration for his canvas, then, on April 26, 1937, the town of Guernica was bombed. This was a direct order from Colonel Wolfram von Richthofen, and the German Condor Legion‘s warplanes served the hit. Hitler was lending support to the Nationalist’s during this period, and the Civil War provided a venue for the nazi’s to test their new weaponry.

At the time of the bombing, the primary population consisted of women and children, as the men were away fighting. If you gaze at it in thought, it is easier to see the expressions of pain and protest. depicted on the faces of the bull, the horse, and the woman. The black, gray, and white colors were deliberately selected to reflect the somber mood of the event while simultaneously expressing chaos. A broken sword lies on the bottom, symbolizing defeat.

I also enjoyed discovering some other painters’ that I had touched on before, but hadn’t had a chance to further explore their work.

A World (1937)

Santos Torroella – A World (1937)

Violin and Guitar (1913)

Juan Gris – Violin and Guitar (1913)








I’m not an art expert by any means, I am merely an aficionado that enjoys how a single picture or panting can express deep-seated emotion without any words. What are your thoughts on art? Who is your favorite artist? What is your favorite style?

Travel: Mosteiro Batalha

As we continued our day, we went to visit the famed Battle Monastary (Mosteiro Batalha), so named due to a vow given to the Virgin Mary, that should the outcome of a dire-looking battle be victorious, the king would erect a monastery devoted to her. Today, we know this battle as the 1385 Battle of Aljubarrota and the ruler as King John I of Portugal who won a Portuguese victory over the Castilians.

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The monastery itself, took over a century to build and was continuously in construct during the reign of seven kings. Officially, fifteen architects participated in its design. The employed artistic style and complexity of the structural stability were ahead of its time.    The majority of the structure is done in the Gothic Style, but gave way to the Manueline style in its final years of construction.

I have used these expressions quite a few times in recent days, and even I don’t clearly understand the subtle differences between both. The following will be my attempt to illustrate the main features of each.

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The gothic style is an evolution of the older Romanesque style and emphasizes the use of verticality and light. So classic buildings vie away from solid walls and embrace stone skeletons that involve clustered columns, ribbed vaults, and flying buttresses.

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A defining characteristic is a ogival arch. Structurally a pointed arch helped vault spaces that had irregular plans, or brought transverse vaults to the same height as diagonal vaults. Additionally, gothic vaults tend to employ irregularly shaped polygons. This is advantageous because rather than being circular, orthogonal shapes provide clear load paths for the weight to distribute amongst the bearing pears and columns.

Gothic churches also tend to be extremely tall; this verticality suggests an aspiration to heaven. This is emphasizes through the use of towers and spires projecting to the sky as seen on the exterior.

The Unfinished Chapel

The Unfinished Chapel

The Manueline style is also known as a Portugese late-gothic style is evident in many late medieval buildings. Classic elements include intricate stonework with incorporates ship elements such as spheres, anchors, and chains. It also embraces use of items from the sea such as sea shells, pearls, and strands of seaweed.


2013-04-08 11.22.292013-04-08 11.26.03Additionally, symbols of Christianity such as the cross of the Order of Christ are prominently features. botanical motifs also play a role. The discoveries of newly discovered lands can subtly seen as well.