Oops! I've been so busy the past couple weeks with friends visiting, trips, and activities that I haven't had time to share what I've been up to. Here's a recap of some recent highlights :)
Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya
This palace was originally built for the 1929 World Fair and later converted into an art museum. A beautiful and grand piece of architecture, the museum sits on top of a hill overlooking the entire city. The collection is extensive, spanning from Romanesque to WWII art. Although each exhibit has extraordinary pieces, my favorite section was by far the Romanesque art. It's full of biblical paintings and preserved frescos, like the one pictured above. I was particularly drawn to the rich color palettes and graphic stylization that characterizes much of pre-Rennaissance art.
As part of a celebration of Sant Eulalia, Barcelona’s patron saint, different local art and design groups created light installations throughout the city. My favorite and the most elaborate was a three-dimensional light show projected onto a large building. The show, which was about ten minutes long and took viewers on a mathematical journey that developed from from points to lines to planes to volumes to complex geometry. The visuals pulsed to the rhythm of atmospheric music. It was so captivating that I actually went two nights in a row!
Cable Car Ride
What better way to see Barcelona than from above? I recently hopped on the port cable car, which travels from the beach to a mountain called Montjuic. As the last ride of the day, the sun was low in the sky and cast a warm glow over the entire city. It was fun to see the relationship between the various neighborhoods and their connection to the water. After getting off the cable car, I enjoyed a nice, long walk back to my apartment. Winding down the mountain, I got to enjoy many more panoramic views of Barcelona.
Palo Alto Market
There’s no reason to feel homesick when I can walk to Palo Alto in 30 minutes! The Palo Alto village in Barcelona is located in the Poblenou neighborhood and is named after my hometown in California. The area is a haven for artists, architects, and other creatives. Every month or so, there is a large market full of delicious artisan foods, trendy arts and crafts, and lively music performances. The crowd is full of chic foodies and really did feel like Palo Alto, California's European counterpart!
Park Güell is one of the must-see Gaudí masterpieces in Barcelona. It's a large park that includes gardens and architectural elements. Gaudí's architecture here is imaginative and organic, reflecting the flowing curves of the natural surroundings. The location also includes an amazing view of the city, and one of my favorite aspects of the visit was looking out beyond the buildings and towards the water. Although the monumental section of the park is very touristy, I found Park Güell overall very peaceful and a great place for an afternoon stroll.
I absolutely loved this museum! Not only am I a fan of Picasso's work, but I also think the museum is an excellent example of exhibition and environmental design. The museum is entirely in chronological order, showing a clear evolution of Picasso's work form realism to cubism. Seeing Picasso's work change overtime is fascinating and gave me a much greater appreciation for him as an artist. I also loved the physical space of the museum. Most of the rooms are simple and modest, with a few that are more ornate, adding to the great pacing of the museum. I also really appreciated the framing of the art, which I think is an art in itself that is often overlooked!
Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona
Barcelona's contemporary art museum was designed by American architect Richard Meier, who unlike many other designers believes that form should not derive from function. As a result the space is full of abstract, decorative forms, and a large winding ramp. I enjoyed the space; however, the museum felt strangely empty. There were only a few exhibits, and it all ended up feeling more like a spectacle than a functional museum. I'm curious as to why there weren't more exhibits because Barcelona has such a thriving art and design community.