'Barcelona: an Art-Lover's Guide' on BBC4

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'Barcelona: an Art-Lover's Guide' on BBC4

Postby Sprocket » October 5th, 2017, 9:03 am

Greg would love this programme, on BBC 4 last night, presented by Janina Ramirez and Alastair Sooke. I took notes while watching it, so that I could post about it.
One of the first places they visited was a lesser-known treasure by Antoni Gaudi,the 'Torre Bellesguard', a castle inspired by St George,patron Saint of Barcelona as well as of England. From the battlements, it was obvious that the upper structure resembled the dragon.
The Eixample (extention) is a new district of Barcelona, designed in the late 19th Century, and heavily influenced by 'Modernisme', the Catalan version of Art Nouveau, with lots of flowing, sinuous lines and animal motifs, which seem to be common in Barcelona, judging by Greg's photographs.
Joan Miro, the artist, was a Barcelonan, and we were shown some of the bizarre Romanesque medieval murals from which he drew inspiration, with bizarre creatures swallowing others, and one of his murals, from 1978, when he was 85.
We also saw the folk-dance, the Sardana, being danced in a square. it was banned under Franco.
The Frederic Mares Museum is another hidden treasure, containing all sorts of disparate objects - pocket watches, keys, and a collection of gruesome crucifixes from the middle ages. They all appeared to date from after the big change that took place in depictions of the crucified Christ across all forms of art and literature towards the end of the middle ages, from Christ Pantocrator to the suffering servant. In earlier depictions, such as the Anglo-Saxon poem 'The Dream of the Rood', and early crucifixes, Christ is portrayed as a virile young hero, standing erect on the cross, and looking intensely forward at the viewer, and in the Dream he is described as leaping willingly on to the cross and embracing it. It sounds utterly bizarre to us, who are more familiar with depictions of him sagging with his head bowed. One of the earliest depictions of the later kind is Matthias Grunewald's depiction of the crucifixion with St John.
Alastair visited the rooftop on the Ramblas occupied by George Orwell for a few days in 1936, as he tried to defend the POUM headquarters opposite.
Inevitably, they visited the Sagrada Familia (or maybe over-familia), and complained about the masses of tourists, but they went behind the scenes, Alastair to a stonemason's workshop, where various stone decorations were being worked on, and Janina to watch some stained glass craftsmen fitting finished windows into place. It is currently expected that it will be completed by 2026. It was started in 1882! The Republicans during the Civil War destroyed all Gaudi's plans and models, so since then the architects and craftsmen have had to make assumptions about what Gaudi wanted it to look like. I suppose they know in broad outline what it was supposed to look like, but not in detail.
I'm sure Greg will be able to add much information, and maybe some photos.
Last edited by Sprocket on October 5th, 2017, 2:04 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: 'Barcelona: an Art-Lover's Guide' on BBC4

Postby Lyn » October 5th, 2017, 10:13 am

I'd like it too, wish I'd noticed it was on but can still watch it.
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Re: 'Barcelona: an Art-Lover's Guide' on BBC4

Postby GregB » October 5th, 2017, 1:06 pm

Excellent detailed post from Steve! (As Oscar Wilde remarked in a different context, "I wish I'd said that!") I'll add more later on but for now, here's a photo of the remarkable crypt Gaudí designed in the church of a progressive industrial estate in the late 19th. century near Barcelona.
https://cdn.casabatllo.es/wp-content/up ... terior.jpg

Here, the entrance to a small group of buildings in Barcelona which Gaudí designed for the Güell family, with his favoured motif, the dragon, on the gate:
https://es.wikiarquitectura.com/wp-cont ... puerta.jpg
And here a close up of the dragon:
http://lameva.barcelona.cat/lescorts/si ... lons02.png
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Re: 'Barcelona: an Art-Lover's Guide' on BBC4

Postby GregB » October 7th, 2017, 8:22 am

A few more details:
This is how La Sagrada Familia is to look when it's completed in 2026. The central tower represents Christ, the others being the twelve disciples and one for the Virgin Mary (it's a Catholic cathedral after all):
http://blog.artfido.com/wp-content/uplo ... /gaudi.jpg
It's taken so long for various reasons, mostly lack of funds at times (now mass tourism provides enough for finishing the job) and - as Steve said - the Civil War interrupted work with considerable destruction of many of the completed elements as well as many of Gaudí's plans and models by Republican anti-clericalists, though undetailed sketches of the completed church did remain elsewhere, hence the projected 2026 completion.

Orwell's experiences in the Civil War are brilliantly recorded in his book 'Homage To Catalonia'.

(More to come...)
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Re: 'Barcelona: an Art-Lover's Guide' on BBC4

Postby Sprocket » October 7th, 2017, 8:59 am

Brilliant bit of CGI there - thanks. The smaller, smooth spires over the entrance look like dildos for masochists!
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We only suffer to ride on the buffer of a Virgin Train, alone.
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Re: 'Barcelona: an Art-Lover's Guide' on BBC4

Postby GregB » October 7th, 2017, 1:28 pm

True! And let's recall that George Orwell compared the original four towers to Hock bottles.

The Fredric Mares Museum is, indeed, excellent and its location beside Barcelona Cathedral in the Gothic Quarter adds to its attraction. Furthermore, in the patio of the mediaeval building which houses the museum, there is a delightful terrace bar where you can relax with a beer with no other sound but the cathedral bells chiming every quarter of an hour:
http://irbarcelona.com/wp-content/uploa ... umares.jpg
http://caucharmant.com/wp-content/uploa ... res-11.jpg

Back to Gaudí, there is one of his commissioned houses five minutes away from where we live called the Casa Vicens ('the Vicens House' from the name of the family.) There are always hordes of Japanese tourists flocking in front with their i-phone cameras and whenever I pass through them, I have this urge to utter the dread words, "Remember Pearl Harbour!" (Or, more cryptically, "December 7th, 1941!")
http://www.lavanguardia.com/r/GODO/LV/p ... ia-Web.jpg
http://vilssa.com/uploads/images-arq/casa_vicens_1.jpg
http://www.lavanguardia.com/r/GODO/LV/p ... _reixa.jpg
http://www.lavanguardia.com/r/GODO/LV/p ... _cv_13.jpg
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Re: 'Barcelona: an Art-Lover's Guide' on BBC4

Postby Sprocket » October 8th, 2017, 11:31 am

Crikey! Does Barcelona have any ordinary, boring buildings?
The idiot who, in railway carriages, talks on a mobile phone
We only suffer to ride on the buffer of a Virgin Train, alone.
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Re: 'Barcelona: an Art-Lover's Guide' on BBC4

Postby GregB » October 8th, 2017, 8:18 pm

"The war of peoples will be more terrible than those of kings."
- Winston Churchill (1901)
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