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.
After the museum, I take a short walk through the Jardins de Laribal, where I find this sculpture.
And then a parting shot of the museum.
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.
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)
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.