Travel: Picasso

Pablo Picasso 1962

We started off the day by checking out the Museu Picasso. It was the vision of Jaume Sabartés, Picasso’s longtime friend and secretary, to provide a means to display the many paintings, drawings, and prints that he had acquired through the years. Although the original intent was to found the museum in  Málaga, his birthplace, his strong ties with Barcelona made the city a far more suitable candidate.

I’m sure you are all well acquainted with Picasso, but I will provide you a brief background nonetheless. In 1881, He was the first-born child of Don José Ruiz y Blasco and María Picasso y López. His father was a professor of art at the school of crafts and curator for the local museum. We can chance his Ruiz ancestor back to the blood of minor aristocrats.

Don, his father, was a firm believer in traditional artistic training, requiring young Picasso to conduct a disciplined study of the masters and perfect his sketches by practicing from sculptures and nude models. Through the years, and with the urging of his father and uncle, Picasso ended up at the Royal Academy of San Fernando in 1898, the most famous art school in the country. However, he disliked the formality of classwork and quit soon thereafter.

He eventually made his first foray into Paris in 1900, and it was there, that he formed his own unique style, what we know as  Cubism today. Cubism is a fairly abstract expression of art as it lacks formality and is disruptive and detached to the eye. It also has the capability of evoking a realistic spirit and raw emotion if one chooses to ponder the painting long enough. See my previous post on the Guernica for more guidance.

*No Photographs = No Pictures for this. 😦

Exterior - Barcelona Cathedral

Exterior – Barcelona Cathedral

Our next destination was the Barcelona Cathedral, a massive looming structure that originates from the 13th century with final finishes completed in the 15th century. It is the seat of the ArchBishop in Barcelona, and dedicated to the Patron Saint  Eulalia of Barcelona.

Cathedral Tower

Cathedral Tower






Saint Eulalia suffered martyrdom at the hands of the Romans when they stripped her in a public square; it is said that a miraculous snowfall covered her nudity. They then subjected her to 13 tortures, the primary one involving putting her in a barrel with knives in it, and rolling her down the street. She was only 13.

Forgive me for my gory imagery, I have been trying to decipher the meaning of all these saints as I am exposed to them in my foray into religious architecture. I will admit, however, the dearth of Gothic architecture I’ve encountered these past few weeks may have been excessive.

The day was wrapped up with a leisurely walk down the infamous La Rambla, including a stop at the Mercat de La Boqueria.

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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?