montjuïc: fundació joan miró, teleferic de montjuïc & castell de montjuïc

Saturday, June 29:  I get off next at the  Fundació Joan Miró, the museum dedicated to the work of Spanish painter, sculptor and ceramicist Joan Miró i Ferrà (April 20, 1893 – December 25, 1983), established in the artist’s native city in 1975.

His work has been interpreted as Surrealism, a sandbox for the subconscious mind, a re-creation of the childlike, and a source of Catalan pride. In numerous interviews dating from the 1930s onwards, Miró expressed contempt for conventional painting methods as a way of supporting bourgeois society, and famously declared an “assassination of painting” in favor of upsetting the visual elements of established painting. (Wikipedia: Joan Miró)

I can’t help but think as I look at Miró’s paintings and sculptures that they seem very childlike.   I am not at all artistic myself, but I feel I could produce paintings similar to his.  I daresay no one would call such work by me “art.”  I don’t really have much interest in Miró’s work, but I make the stop to see the museum because it’s on the route and is a place of importance in Catalan culture.   I’m also disappointed that no photographs are allowed inside the museum.  I can understand the prohibition against flash photography as light can damage art, but I’m always baffled by rules against photography in museums.

Fundació Joan Miró
Fundació Joan Miró
Fundació Joan Miró
Fundació Joan Miró
Fundació Joan Miró
Fundació Joan Miró
Miró sculpture
Miró sculpture
Fundació Joan Miró
Fundació Joan Miró
Sculptures at Fundació Joan Miró
Sculptures at Fundació Joan Miró
Miró sculpture
Miró sculpture

After the museum, I take a short walk through the Jardins de Laribal, where I find this sculpture.

In the gardens
In the gardens

And then a parting shot of the museum.

Fundació Joan Miró
Fundació Joan Miró
fountain across the street from Fundació Joan Miró
fountain across the street from Fundació Joan Miró

My next stop on the Barcelona Bus Turista is Castell de Montjuïc.  In order to get to the castle, you can either walk up a long steep incline or you can take the Teleferic de Montjuïc for 10.30 euros round-trip.   I think the fee is exorbitant, but I’m exhausted after my journey through the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, so I pay the hefty price.  The views of Barcelona are amazing from the Teleferic; I can see Sagrada de Familia poking its spires well above the rest of the city.  Barcelona doesn’t seem to be a city of skyscrapers; there are only a few on the horizon.  I like that about the city, along with its red rooftops and its location by the Mediterranean Sea.

view of Sagrada de Familia from Fundació Joan Miró
view of Sagrada de Familia from Teleferic de Montjuïc
View of Barcelona and its beaches from Fundació Joan Miró
View of Barcelona and its beaches from Teleferic de Montjuïc

Montjuïc Castle was first built in 1640 and then rebuilt over the centuries numerous times.  It was used as a prison and execution site by various governments, including the Republicans during the Civil War and Franco thereafter (Lonely Planet Spain).

In the 1890s, the workers involved in the wave of anarchist violence were locked up here.  In 1919, more than 3,000 workers were jailed because of the Canadenca conflict. It was filled with right-wing prisoners in 1936, and between 1936 and 1938, in addition to continuing as a prison, 173 people were executed by firing squad. Also executed was the President of the Generalitat of Catalonia, Lluís Companys, on 15 October 1940.

The castle remained a military prison till 1960, when it was ceded to the city under the direction and administration of the army. After three year’s work to refurbish the complex as a military museum, on 24 June 1963, Francisco Franco presided over the inauguration. (Castell de Montjuic)

Castell de Montjuïc
Castell de Montjuïc
Castell de Montjuïc
Castell de Montjuïc

From the top of the castle, Barcelona Port spreads out beneath us.  Apparently, Barcelona is now the busiest port for cruise ship traffic in Europe.

view of the port from Castell de Montjuïc
view of the port from Castell de Montjuïc
port view
port view
port view
port view
Castell de Montjuïc
Castell de Montjuïc
Castell de Montjuïc
Castell de Montjuïc
view from Castell de Montjuïc
view from Castell de Montjuïc
view from Castell de Montjuïc
view from Castell de Montjuïc
Teleferic de Montjuic
Teleferic de Montjuic
back on Barcelona Bus Turista
back on Barcelona Bus Turista
Interesting building along the bus tour
Interesting building along the bus tour

barcelona: breakfast for one at fashion house and a day at montjuïc: the museu nacional d’art de catalunya-MNAC

Saturday, June 29:  Last night Matt asked if I wanted to meet him for breakfast at 8:30.  When morning comes, I don’t really feel like getting up, but I go out to the patio for breakfast only to remember it isn’t served until 9:00.  I return at 9 to still find no sign of him.  As a matter of fact, I eat my entire breakfast and leave for the day without ever seeing him.  It’s okay; he’s young and I figure he probably slept in.  Anyway, I want to do my thing today and I don’t know if he might invite himself along; it would be nice to have his company, but I find it hard to really absorb what I’m seeing when someone else is along.

dining table in bcn fashion house
dining table in bcn fashion house
there's a buddha in the garden.  I like him a lot. :-)
there’s a buddha in the garden. I like him a lot. 🙂
there he is again, at a distance. :-)
there he is again, at a distance. 🙂
Spanish laundry
Spanish laundry
flowers in the garden
flowers in the garden
there's Buddha again :-)
there’s Buddha again 🙂
and the buildings around the patio
and the buildings around the patio
Ohm, Mr. Buddha
Ohm, Mr. Buddha
breakfast for two, but only one of us arrives :-)
breakfast for two, but only one of us arrives 🙂

I decide to take the Barcelona Bus Turistic at a cost of 28 euros for 2 days.  Today I’ll go to the south of the city to see Montjuïc on the red line.  Tomorrow I’ll do the north side on the blue line.  It’s like many city bus tours, where you can hop off anywhere along the line that you want, and then hop back on whenever you’re ready.  I love these kinds of tours when I first arrive in a city because it gives me the lay of the land.  Also, it takes care of a lot of logistics and is informative as well.

Barcelona Bus Turista
Barcelona Bus Turista
There's La Perdrera from the bus
There’s La Perdrera from the bus
love these city tours
love these city tours
I think they said this is a Gaudi sculpture, but I honestly don't remember
I think they said this is a Gaudi sculpture, but I honestly don’t remember
Spanish balconies
Spanish balconies

Montjuïc means Jewish Mountain.  The name indicates there was one a Jewish cemetery, and possibly settlement, here.

The Parc de Montjuïc occupies a hill overlooking the port, offering a plethora of green areas and gardens, museums and cultural attractions, sports facilities and Olympic sites.

Montjuïc Hill has borne witness to, and been the focus of key events that have shaped its personality. The first such event was the 1929 International Exhibition held in Barcelona which fostered the zone’s development. More recently, the 1992 Olympic Games brought about major renewal.

Montjuïc is also home to museums, such as the Fundació Miró, the Museu d’Arqueologia, the Museu Etnològic and the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya-MNAC. The latter, which is housed in the Palau Nacional, the centerpiece of the 1929 exhibition, holds 1,000 years of Catalan art.

The Olympic Ring, the main site of the Olympic Games, features the stadium and a the telecommunications tower designed by Santiago Calatrava, among other things.  I don’t really care about the Olympic sites, but intend mainly to see Fundació Miró and Montjuïc Castle, where many people were imprisoned and killed during and after the Spanish Civil War  (Barcelona Turisme: Parc de Montjuic).

When the bus stops at the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya-MNAC , housed in the stunning Palau Nacional, I hop off the bus because the guide says that there are amazing views of Barcelona from here. On the steps, a Spanish guitarist is playing passionately away.  The views are stupendous.  I can see the whole of the city, the Mediterranean, Sagrada de Familia and the surrounding hills.  I had no intention of going into the museum, but now that I’m here, I think it’s a waste not to check it out.  I doubt I’ll be coming back to Montjuïc during my stay in Barcelona.  So I pay the hefty fee and go inside.  It’s huge and has collections of art from Catalonia through the centuries, ranging from Medieval / Romanesque Art, to Gothic Art, to Renaissance and Baroque, to Modern and Contemporary.

Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya-MNAC
Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya-MNAC
view of Barcelona from Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya-MNAC
view of Barcelona from Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya-MNAC
the Museu Nacional D'Art de Catalunya
the Museu Nacional D’Art de Catalunya
view of Sagrada de Familia from the Museu Nacional D'Art de Catalunya
view of Sagrada de Familia from the Museu Nacional D’Art de Catalunya
the Museu Nacional D'Art de Catalunya
the Museu Nacional D’Art de Catalunya
view from Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya-MNAC
view from Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya-MNAC
Another nice view :-)
Another nice view 🙂
entrance to the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya-MNAC
entrance to the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya-MNAC
view from Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya-MNAC
view from Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya-MNAC

The star collection is the Romanesque Art.  I don’t know why, but I adore the amazing mural paintings, most of which came from Romanesque churches in the Pyrenees.  The collection is made up of works from the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries and includes richly painted panels, wood carvings (especially frontal altars), metalwork and stone sculpture.  This is my favorite collection by far in the museum.  I feel incredibly moved by these kinds of murals, because of their simplicity and rich colors, much more so than the paintings from the Gothic period, which I pass quickly by.

Romanesque wall murals
Romanesque wall murals
Romanesque wall murals
Romanesque wall murals
in the Romanesque section of the Museu Nacional D'Art de Catalunya
in the Romanesque section of the Museu Nacional D’Art de Catalunya
a Romanesque door
a Romanesque door
Mary and Jesus: Romanesque
Mary and Jesus: Romanesque
Romanesque frontal altar
Romanesque frontal altar
Romanesque carvings at the Museu Nacional D'Art de Catalunya
Romanesque carvings at the Museu Nacional D’Art de Catalunya
from the Romanesque period - another frontal altar
from the Romanesque period – another frontal altar

The extensive Gothic Art section contains interesting material such as works by Catalan painters Bernat Martorell and Jaume Huguet.

Gothic Art at the Museu Nacional D'Art de Catalunya
Gothic Art at the Museu Nacional D’Art de Catalunya
Stomping on the devil
Stomping on the devil
Gothic art
Gothic art

There is also a famous Fortuny painting called “The Battle of Tetuan.” Despite the artist’s inability to finish the painting, it has become an icon of Catalan culture.  According to Wikipedia, the Battle of Tetuan was fought near Tetuan, Morocco between a Spanish army sent to North Africa and the tribal levies comprising the Moroccan Army in 1860. The battle was part of the Spanish-Moroccan war of 1859-1860 (Wikipedia: Battle of Tétouan).

Fortuny's "The Battle of Tetuan"
Fortuny’s “The Battle of Tetuan”
Close-up of "The Battle of Tetuan"
Close-up of “The Battle of Tetuan”

Works by Picasso, Ramon Casas, Joaquim Mir, Santiago Rusinol, and other Spanish Modernista artists are included in the Modern collection. (Lonely Planet)

Ramon Casas: Pere Romeu en une automobil: 1901
Ramon Casas: Pere Romeu en une automobil: 1901
Stained glass
Stained glass
Gaudi?
Gaudi?
More stained glass
More stained glass
PIcasso
PIcasso

After lingering in the Romanesque and Modern collections, and rushing through Gothic and Renaissance, and enjoying the views of Barcelona from the museum’s grounds, I hop back on the bus and head to the Fundació Miró.  On the way, I can see the museum I just left, standing proudly above the tree tops.

Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya-MNAC
Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya-MNAC

On our way we also pass by the Olympic Stadium (yawn!) and the telecommunications tower (yawn again!).

the telecommunications tower on Montjuic
the telecommunications tower on Montjuic