Thursday, July 14, 2011

Whats the deal in Barcelona?

I'm back. The much anticipated trip to Spain has come, and already gone. As everyone continues to ask "How was it?", I find it's hard to wrap up a 12 day, 5 city trip succinctly. So I stick with, "Hot."

And it was hot, 85-100 degrees everyday. But it was also beautiful and surprising—and over the next few weeks I hope to share some of my experiences. Starting now.

One of the first things we noticed was a strong presence of Art Nouveau art and architecture, specifically in Barcelona. This is not something I typically associate with Spain.

But we began to take note of intricate wrought iron balconies, lavish plant forms and mysterious femme fatales adorning unmarked buildings, and of course, Gaudi's mesmerizing curvy lines. By the end of day two, we were saying, "Whats the deal with Art Nouveau?"

Art Nouveau sought to modernize design, with its curving lines, stylized flourishes, and flower motifs. (In contrast to modernism's later emphasis on simplicity and geometry.) It was popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries—the time when Picasso was in Barcelona visiting the bohemian cafe, Els Quatre Gats, and Antoni Gaudi was making a mark on the city with Parc Güell and Casa Batlló.
Top: Façade of a house. Light posts on Passeig de Gracia.
Middle: Phamacy Façade. Picasso's 4 Cats. Park Guell.
Bottom: Interior of the Palacio de Musica. Exterior Façade of Casa Batllo and Casa Amatller.

Art Nouveau may not have been something I expected to find in this city, but it will definitely be an association I make in the future.

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