SEP 18,2016 - SEP 18,2016 (1 DAYS)
Tip 1: from Mercat Santa Catarina to Museu Picasso.
Main Attractions: Mercat Santa Catarina, Palau de la Música Catalana, Plaça de Sant Pere, Plaça de Sant Agustí Vell, Plaça de la Puntual, Carrer de Montcada, Palau Dalmases, Palau dels Cervelló, Palau Aguilar, Museu Picasso.
Tip 2: From Basilica Santa Maria del Mar to Placa de Jacint Preventos.
Tip 3: The Artisans' Quarter and The Museu de Cultures del Món
Start: Mercat Santa Catarina. Duration: 1 day
Introduction: La Ribera is a culturally rich, historic area of old town Barcelona (Ciutat Vella). Centuries ago, it was a neighborhood inhabited by aristocrats, merchants, wealthy sailors, and Jewish money-lenders. By the 13th century, Barcelona needed to expand beyond its city walls and a separate borough was created, which soon became the district where merchants and the wealthiest Barcelona families came to live, supported by an important seafaring tradition. There are tiny streets with beautiful stores which epitomize the golden past of the borough. Many street names remind us of the ancient trades and skills: Mirallers (mirror makers), Sombrerers (hatters), Argenters (silversmiths), etc. Today, it is regarded as the Soho of Barcelona and offers trendy shops and cafes, a popular hangout place for tourists and locals alike. Many artists have set up their studios in La Ribera neighbourhood, inheriting the past of the neighbourhood where Barcelona city's artisans used to live. Follow this itinerary and explore the unique sights of La Ribera. The main attraction in La Ribera are: Montcada Street and the museums nearby,
Basilica Santa Maria del Mar, The Montcada Street shows reminders of this golden age of the Ribera. It’s full of palaces of that time and one of those is the actual Museo Picasso of Barcelona. Picasso used to live in this neighborhood and the atmosphere of La Ribera really touched him. If you want to know everything about Picasso and Barcelona you can take this walking tour. Other palaces along Carrer de Montcada: Museu Barbier-Mueller d'Art Precolombí, and part of the Textile Museum. The Basilica Santa Maria del Mar was built so that the locals could show off their wealth. In a way, it is a relic of a past age. After the war of succession, in 1714, half of the neighborhood was destroyed so as to build the Citadel’s fortress as well as the defensive esplanade surrounding it. Since then, the neighborhood has lost much of its power and influence over the city. The northernmost part of the La Ribera quarter and Sant Pere, is not frequented by tourists. It is between Arc de Triomf and Via Laietana, and actually constitutes a much poorer area with a larger number of emigrants.
Note: we dedicated a special Tipter blog to the lower section of the La Ribera district, just below Carrer de la Princesa, and leading to Barceloneta, which is referred to as El Born. This is one of the trendiest and most touristic districts in the old city. It is a popular place which contains many art boutiques, bars and cafés.
How to arrive to Mercat Santa Catarina (Santa Catarina market):
From Plaça de Catalunya walk eastward toward and along Avinguda del Portal de l'Àngel, 130 m. Turn left onto Carrer Comtal, 220 m. Turn right onto Via Laietana, 120 m. Turn left onto Carrer de Sant Pere Més Baix, 120 m. Turn right onto Carrer de Freixures, 90 m. Turn left onto Av. de Francesc Cambó and Mercat Santa Catarina is on the right.
From Sant Felip Neri Church (see: Barri Gotic Tipter blog): head east on Carrer de Montjuïc del Bisbe toward Plaça de Garriga i Bachs, 55 m. Continue straight onto Plaça de Garriga i Bachs, 15 m. Turn left onto Carrer del Bisbe, 25 m. Turn right onto Carrer de Santa Llúcia, 40 m.
Carrer de Santa Llúcia turns slightly left and becomes Placita de la Seu,
45 m. Turn right to stay on Placita de la Seu, 10 m. Turn left onto Baixada de la Canonja, 40 m. Turn right onto Carrer de la Tapineria, 75 m.
Carrer de la Tapineria turns left and becomes Plaça de Ramon Berenguer el Gran, 45 m. Continue onto Carrer del Pare Gallifa, 50 m. Turn left onto Carrer dels Mercaders, 120 m. Turn right onto Av. de Francesc Cambó, 100 m and Santa Caterina Market, Av. de Francesc Cambó, 16 is on the right.
By Metro: L4-Jaume I, by Bus: 45, 120, V15, V17.
Opening hours: MON: 7.30 - 14.00, TUE, WED, SAT:7.30 - 15.30, THU - FRI: 7.30 - 20.30. The market closes down by mid afternoon or late evening with a few shops or restaurants on the exterior edge later open.
Mercat Santa Catarina was built in 1845 to provide the neighbourhood's blue-collar community with foodstuffs. During the post-Civil War period, Santa Caterina became the main food supplier to the towns on the outskirts of Barcelona. People from Sant Adrià, Santa Coloma and Mataró came on the tram to buy food in this market in times of shortage. The spacious, modern market building was constructed on the former site of the Convent of Santa Caterina, from which it takes its name. The refurbishment of Barcelona's first covered food market was completed in 2005. The original design of the building, the brightly coloured roof, attached to the building by a wooden structure, and a vast mosaic of coloured ceramic pieces, representing fruit and vegetables, all, boldly break with the traditional look of the refurbished market. It is a very pleasant and atmospheric market. Wandering around for half an hour or so is very pleasant. Far less frantic,less crowded and better produce than La Boqueria market and much cheaper ! Plenty of food ranging from fresh fish, meats, cheeses, eggs, vegetables, fruits, breads, candies and more.
All you see are Tomatoes...:
Our next stop in La Ribera is the Palace of Catalan Music - 400 m. walk from the Santa Catarina Market. We head southwest on Av. de Francesc Cambó toward Carrer de Freixures, 40 m. Turn right onto Carrer de Freixures, 90 m. Turn left onto Carrer de Sant Pere Més Baix, 120 m. Turn right onto Via Laietana, 90 m. Turn right onto Carrer de Sant Pere Més Alt,
50 m. Turn left onto Plaça Lluís Millet, 15 m. Continue onto Carrer del Palau de la Música for 15 m. and the Palace of Catalan Music, Carrer del Palau de la Música, 4-6 will be on the right. Barcelona Palau de la Música Catalana is an UNFORGETTABLE jewel of the Modernista architecture, with, as a bonus, an exceptional music program. This architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner’s masterpiece, was built between 1905 and 1908 as the home of the Orfeó Català (a choral society founded in 1891 that was a leading force in the Catalan cultural movement that came to be known as the Renaixença - Catalan Rebirth). It was inaugurated February 9, 1908. It is designed as an exceptional marvelous music box that combines all the Modernista (Catalan Art Deco or Art Nouveau) applied arts: sculpture, mosaic, stained glass, ironwork. The wealthy citizens of Barcelona, who were becoming ever more sympathetic to the Renaixença at the time the Palau was built, asked its architect for building materials and techniques that symbolized the Catalan character. In response, he commissioned and gave great creative freedom to a variety of local artisans and craftsmen to produce the fabulous ornamentation, sculpture, and decorative structural elements for which the Palau is famous. The Palau won the architect an award from the Barcelona City Council in 1909, given to the best building built during the previous year. In 1997, the Palau de la Música Catalana was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site along with Hospital de Sant Pau. How to get to Palau de la Musica: Metro: Lines 1 and 4, Urquinaona Station. Bus: #17, #19, #40 and #45. Address: C/ Sant Pere Més Alt 4-6.
Guided tour of Palau de la Música is a must for your stay in Barcelona to discover this fantastic concert hall. Prices: €18.00, duration: 55 minutes, languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Catalan. Timetables and on-line booking: http://www.palaumusica.cat/en/all-guided-tours_531011.
The Palau is typical design of Catalan Modernista: curves dominate over straight lines, dynamic shapes are preferred over static forms, and ornamentation that is consisted of floral and small animals' motifs.The Palau design is functional and makes use of up-to-date materials and technologies available at the beginning of the 20th century. The exposed red brick and iron, the mosaics, the stained glass, and the glazed tiles were chosen and situated to give a feeling of openness and transparency. But, still, you get the impression that architecture, design and ornamentation lack any logic or control. The total impression is overwhelming.
The rich decoration of the façade of the Palau incorporates elements of traditional Spanish and Arabic architectures. The top of the main façade is graced by a large allegoric mosaic by Lluís Bru that depicts the contributing members / donators of the Orfeó Català, but it is impossible to see the detailed mosaic clearly from the narrow streets below (Carrer de Sant Pere Més Alt and Carrer de Amadeu Vives). The palace is so beautiful but it's hard to really see and appreciate it as the building in front is just a few meters away.
The southern facade of Palau de la Música in Carrer de Sant Pere Més Alt:
You can stand right in front of it and look straight up, and you'll see this:
If you have a decent zoom on your camera, with a little luck you'll be able to take in some details in the mosaics on the pillars :
We highly recommend a visit. Best be during a concert I would say, and the Palau offers more than 300 concerts a year so it should be quite easy to fit in on a trip. You enter the Palau from the street through two arches supported by thick pillars that opened into the vestibule:
The former ticket windows, which are located in the center pillar, are beautiful concentric arches adorned with floral mosaics of various materials created by Lluís Bru:
Former ticket box, in an entrance pillar:
The large allegoric mosaic by Lluís Bru that depicts the Orfeó Català key members (over the tickets counters):
We entered the place from the cafe' in the west facade of the palace. You are, actually, inside an exceptional setting of the Foyer of the Palau, which has room for a large number of people. When there are performances - it is used as a separate restaurant-cafeteria. The wide arches built with bricks and green and floral-pattern glazed ceramics give this area a distinctive air or its very own. The foyer was created in the renovations of Tusquets and Díaz from what originally were the headquarters of the Orfeó Català. The large space of the foyer is more soberly decorated than the rest of the Palau, but the wide exposed brick arches with their marvelous glazed green, pink, and yellow ceramic flowers recapitulate the ornamentation of the rest of building. The foyer features a large counter where tapas and beverages can be served to concert-goers or visitors who are touring the building:
The bar is situated between massive pillars of brick and is illuminated from behind by expansive stained-glass panes that are suspended above it. A glass case in the foyer displays the Orfeó Català's banner, which bears its crest embroidered on fabric in the Modernista style:
just wait till you step inside. Starting with the stairs leading up to the concert hall, so beautifully embellished. The grand marble staircases ascend from between crowned lamps on columns to bring visitors to the second floor. The balustrades of the staircases, also marble, are supported by unusual transparent yellow glass balusters. The underside of the staircases is covered with tiles that form gleaming canopies on either side of the vestibule:
The largest and most well-known space in the Palau is the Concert Hall. This is a 2,146 seat venue with an ornate glass roof - the main setting for concerts and recitals. The architectural decoration in the concert hall is a masterpiece of creativity and imagination, yet everything has been carefully considered for its utility in the presentation of music. The main theme of decoration and sculpturing in the concert hall is choral music - something that might be expected in an auditorium commissioned by a choral society. A choir of young women surrounds the "sun" in the stained-glass skylight, and a bust of Anselm Clavé, a famous choir director who was instrumental in reviving Catalan folk songs, is situated on the left side of the stage, under a stone tree. Seated beneath this statue are sculpted girls singing the Catalan song Les Flors de Maig (The Flowers of May).
The whole arch over the front of the stage was sculpted by Dídac Masana and Pablo Gargallo. The arch represents folk music on the left and classical music on the right, both united at the top of the arch. On the right side is depicted the ride of the Valkyries in Wagner's opera Die Walküre (The Valkyries). Under the Valkyries and among two Doric columns there is a bust of Beethoven.
In a semicircle on the sides of the back of the stage are the figures of 18 young women / muses. Each of the women is playing a different musical instrument. The sculptures of winged horses in the symbolize Pegasus - the winged horse from the Greek mythology. Pegasus was ridden by the muses when called by their father Zeus to be by his side on Mount Olympus:
The concert hall of the Palau, which seats about 2,200 people, is the only auditorium in Europe that is illuminated during daylight hours entirely by natural light. The walls on two sides consist primarily of stained-glass panes set in magnificent arches:
There is semi-circular arc of seats facing the half moon arch on the ceiling over the Concert hall stage:
sculpture of the rchitect Lluís Domènech i Montaner:
The most spectacular attraction into the concert hall is the incredible inverted stained-glass cupola with natural sun light:
One element that distinguishes the Palau is the pipe organ that rises above center stage.
Sal Lluís Millet: The Lluís Millet hall is a salon located on the second floor of the Palau that is named after one of the founders of the Orfeó Català. It is ornated by several bronze busts of musicians related to the Palau: Lluís Millet and Amadeu Vives (Orfeó Català founders), Pablo Casals, Eduard Toldrà (founder and first conductor of the Orquestra Municipal de Barcelona, Just Cabot (Orfeó Català president) and pianist Rosa Sabater. The hall is a popular gathering place for concert-goers and also serves as a teaching area for visitors touring the building. From floor to ceiling the hall is two stories high and affords views of the intricate mosaics on the two rows of columns outside its windows. You remember we had difficulties in viewing the mosaics from the streets around the palace:
Go out to the balcony overlooking the street outside and enjoy the WONDERFUL mosaics and other types of ornamentation on the palace facade walls and pillars:
view from the second floor of the palace to the monumental staircase:
The guided tour included a short visit of the upper gallery. A fantastic opportunity to catch stunning, panoramic views of the concert hall from upper viewpoint:
Along the stairs from the 2nd floor to the 1st floor you can see a metal pillar with names of all donators:
Exiting the Palau de la Musica in the west side (the cafe') in the corner of Carrer de Ramon Mas and Carrer del Palau de la Música - we observe the "musical" statue above the entrance to the cafe' and to the Palau:
Exit the Palau de la Musica from the souther side of Carrer de Sant Pere Més Alt. Turn RIGHT (north) to Via Laietana. walk northward along Via Laietana until it connects with Carrer de les Jonqueres. In this intersection stands a 2 x 1 x 1.12 meter bronze bust of Francesc Cambó, the founder and leader of the autonomist party Lliga Regionalista, which advocated autonomy for Catalonia. The rough surface sculpture depicts Francesc Cambó from the waist up with only the head and right arm shown with any detail. Francesc Cambó is looking up and to his right. His right arm is bent at the elbow and crosses his chest. His hand forms a fist. The sculpture was created by Víctor Ochoa Esuetor. During the Spanish Civil War, Cambò financed and supported the Franco faction against Republican forces. He died in Argentina on April 30, 1947:
Take Carrer de les Jonqueres and walk northward. Turn right to Carrer d'Ortigosa and walk along this road with your face to north-east. In the beginning of this road you'll see the back (west) side of the Palau de la Musica (the Music School). Pass Carrer d'Amadeu Vives on your right and 70 m. later, on your left you see this pretty Modernista building with its numerous metal balconies:
We continue walking north-east and Carrer d'Ortigosa continues as Carrer de Trafalgar. We pass Carrer del Bruc on our left and arrive to
Carrer de Méndez Núñez. Here we turn right (south-east). At #3 of Carrer de Méndez Núñez we find a nice restaurant: Obrador Sant Pere. 23 euros for two persons including dessert and light drinks. Delicious, filling and honest service. We head southeast on Carrer de Méndez Núñez toward Carrer de Sant Pere Més Alt, 60 m. Turn left onto Carrer de Sant Pere Més Alt, 20 m. Continue onto Plaça de Sant Pere. Plaça de Sant Pere is a quaint square - the first in a series of atmospheric, pictorial and romantic squares in La Ribera. We are in Sant Pere - the name used to define the neighbourhood above Carrer de la Princesa (and El Born is usually used to describe the area below Carrer de la Princesa). The Plaça de Sant Pere of Barcelona, with the imposing presence of the ancient monastery (see below), is one of the most charming spots in the old town, the Ciutat Vella neighbourhood. Note: from Plaça de Sant Pere - you can see (on your left - north-east) the Arc de Trionf:
A few steps north to Plaça de Sant Pere resides the Parròquia de Sant Pere de les Puel·les: a10th-century Benedictine monastery, Romanesque / Gothic in style. The older style, Romanesque, dates to the 11th century while the later, Gothic style, was built circa 1322. At 945 AD, the year of its consecration, it became Barcelona's first convent of Benedictine nuns. A bell dating to 1752 is present in the octagonal bell tower, which has six bells total. Opening hours: MON-FRI: 9.00 - 13.00, 17.00 - 19.45, SAT: 9.00 - 13.00, 16.30 - 18.00, SUN: 11.00 - 13.15, holidays: 9.30 - 13.00:
From Plaça de Sant Pere we continue south-east along Carrer de les Basses de Sant Pere - leaving Candela restaurant on our right and Quillo Bar on our left. In the end of this road - another shady, charming square is waiting for us - Plaça de Sant Agustí Vell. Public transport: Arc de Triomf (line: L1), Jaume I (line: L4). As with other squares in Sant Pere district - you find, here, another couple of excellent and valuable restaurants - Santagustina and Joanet. Both of them are a good bet.
The Plaça de Sant Agustí Vell dferives its name from the monastery of the Augustinian friars established in 1309, which was demolished in large part in 1718. Since then, the square has been called Sant Agustí Vell. Later on, he became known as the Academy Square , a name from the Mathematical Academy specially designed for the training of military engineers here:
From the southern edge of Plaça de Sant Agustí Vell we continue along the right (west) "leg" southward along Carrer dels Carders. Turn LEFT (south-east) to Carrer de l'Allada-Vermell. The street is very close to the Picasso Museum, the church of Santa Maria del Mar and the old Mercado del Born. Not surprisingly, like most of La Riberand Sant Pere streets - this one is narrow and shady street, typical of the old part of the Ciutat Vella of Barcelona. THe street is fluent with eateries, cafe's, bars and colorful locals:
We arrive to Plaça de la Puntual. The name "La Puntual"is derived from a shop that appears in the novel written by the artist Santiago Rusiñol entitled "L'auca del Senyor Esteve", published 1907. His bust stands in Princesa Road 37, a few metres from here. In the square, you find the La Puntual, reputed puppets theatre in Allada Vermell 15 (Catalan & Spanish only): https://www.lapuntual.info/en/
WE turn RIGHT (south-west) to Carrer de la Princesa to see this bust:
On the 2nd turn to the left we turn south-east to Carrer del Flassaders. Actually, we are, now, in El Born. The area NORTH to Princesa street is La Ribera and south to La Princesa - El Born. We turn, immediately, RIGHT, to Plaça de Jaume Sabartés
and continue straight into a narrow road Carrer Cremat Gran that ends in Carrer de Montcada. In the intersection of these two roads - resides Museu Picasso:
The origins of Carrer Montcada can be traced back to the 12th century when the dynasty of nobles of Montcada were given the land by the Kings of Catalonia as a gratitude for the support they had given to King Ramon Berenguer IV. During this time, Barcelona's noble and merchant classes, who had made their fortunes at sea, started building their magnificent homes here. These mansions were constructed in the Catalan Gothic style around a central courtyard which leads to the first floor via a beautiful staircase:
Carrer de Montcada is dotted with medieval, Renaissance and Baroque buildings or mansions. They bear witness to the rich and glorious past of medieval Barcelona's main street which was home to the city's nobles, merchants and barons. The medieval houses are the: Palau Aguilar, Palau Meca and Palau Baró de Castellet (Montcada 15-23), which all house the Museu Picasso (which grew and expanded through the years - extending onto more and more noble buildings in Montcada). The Renaissance ones are the :Palau de Cervelló and the beautiful Baroque Palau Dalmases:
The Palau Dalmases is in Montcada 20. Small, intimate venue for Flamenco (maybe, the best stage in Barcelona. Not touristic), Opera (every Thursday) and other sparkling events. A palace from th 17th century. The façade follows the line of Catalan Gothic style. The most interesting is the Baroque courtyard and its staircase with Salomonic columns that support the rampant arches. The staircase has a frieze depicting the rapture of Europe and Neptune's chariot:
The Palau dels Cervelló, Carrer Montcada, 25 , also known as the Casa dels Giudice or the Cervelló-Giudice Palace, houses the Gaspar Foundation from year 2015. It was built basically during the 16th century , taking advantage of parts of a previous construction of the 15th century . It was the residence of the noble family of the Cervelló until the 18th century , when it became the residence of the Giudice, an important group of Italian, Genoese merchants. Its patio is a typical Renaissance courtyard. The facade, gothic, is one of the best in the street, made with stone slabs perfectly sewn. Opening hours: TUE - SUN: 10.00 - 20.00, SAT: 10.00 - 21.30. Closed: Mondays, January 1st and December 25th. Prices: Adults: 8€, Concessions - students and pensioners: 5€, Groups [10+]: 5€,
Children until 12 years of age: FREE. Fundació Gaspar, mainly, offers a space for promotion of contemporary artists to showcase their work in a formal and public environment. You can expect quality exhibitions of challenging artists, cafe' and shop. Do not let it down. A very good substitute for Museu Picasso:
Museu Picasso is one of the best hits of Barcelona. We, personally, DO NOT SHARE this enthusiasm. Palau Aguilar Montcada, 15 is the main (and first) house of Museu Picasso. During the 13th and 14th centuries, the palace belonged to several noble families from the court of Aragón. It was bought by the Coromines-Desplà dynasty in 1386, members of Barcelona rich merchants who, in 1400, sold it to the merchant Berenguer d’Aguilar. Major renovations being undertaken between the 15th and 18th centuries. Successive generations of the Aguilar family refurbished the property. The palace passed to the Clerch and Pons families in 1837. Finally, on November 3rd 1953, Barcelona City Council bought it, carrying out extensive restoration work due to the building’s terrible state-of-repair. The central courtyard with the open-air stairway, the pointed arch gallery and the flamboyant Gothic sculptures - all date from the 15th century. Remains of a large late 13th century fresco depicting the conquest of Majorca by King Jaume I in 1229 were uncovered during restoration works in the 1960s. They were moved to the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya (MNAC), where they are housed today. The museum is, now, housed in FIVE adjoining medieval palaces in Montcada Street. It opened to the public on 9 March 1963, becoming the first museum dedicated to Picasso's work and the only one created during the artist's life. In December 1970, the museum underwent its first expansion, adding the Palau del Baró de Castellet, which is attached to the original museum building, Palau Aguilar. In 1985, the museum's physical space expanded again with the addition of Palau Mecca. In 2005, The Government of Catalonia declared the institution a museum of national interest. In the late 1990s the museum expanded yet again with the acquisition of Casa Mauri and Palau Finestres (Windows Palace), both on the same street and adjacent to the museum. Opened in 1999, this new extension added 3,400 square meters to the museum, serving as a space for temporary exhibitions, an auditorium, and additional services. The extension was opened with the temporary exhibition Picasso: Interior and Exterior Landscape, with more than 200 works by the artist created between 1917 and 1970. More recently, the museum has built a new building in Sabartés square, behind Montcada Street. This expansion helped alleviate the overcrowding at the entry of the museum. The building was designed by the architect Jordi Garcés, who had completed the previous expansion of the museum.
The permanent Collection: Picasso lived key apprenticeship years in Barcelona. He established and maintained strong links to the city throughout his life and it was here where he wanted his museum to be. His friend and personal secretary Jaume Sabartés proposed, in 1960, the creation of a museum dedicated to the artist’s work to the City Council of Barcelona. By 1963, the museum was a reality and opened its doors in the Gothic Palau Aguilar located at number 15 Carrer de Montcada. The museum opened under the name of the Sabartés Collection, because of Picasso’s strong opposition to Franco’s regime. In the end, Barcelona mayor Josep Porcioles went against the wishes of the central government in order to open the museum. The permanent collection is organized into three sections: painting and drawing, engraving, and ceramics. The collection is organized into areas that include the early years (Málaga, Corunna and Barcelona, 1890–97), the training period (Barcelona, Horta de San Juan and Madrid, 1897–1901), the Blue Period (1901–04), works in Barcelona from 1917, and the entire Las Meninas (1957) series. Most of the paintings on display at the museum are from the period between 1890 and 1917, an important collection in regard to that portion of Picasso's life. The museum has ONLY VERY FEW paintings after 1917 - the most known one is the Las Meninas, painted in 1957. There are now more than 3,500 works making up the permanent collection of the museum:
The museum collection, at that time, comprised of Sabartés's personal collection and the Picasso works from the Barcelona Museums of Art (for example: Harlequin, donated by the artist in 1919:
Nowadays, Museu Picasso houses one of the most extensive collections of artworks by the 20th-century Spanish artist Pablo Picasso. With 4,251 works exhibited by the painter. The museum has one of the most complete permanent collections of Picasso works. Several famous highlights in the permanent collection are:
The First Communion (1896). The painting was created by 15-year-old Picasso (!) on the advice of his father for the Exhibition of Fine Arts in Barcelona in 1896. During the years 1895-1896, Picasso still a student - his drawings contain quite a lot of scenes from the life of Jesus and images of saints. Many years later, the author of many articles and books about the master, Pierre Daix, who knew Picasso more than a quarter century, asked him whether he regretted that he created paintings like "First Communion". And Picasso answered: "No way, back then it was very important for me.":
Science and Charity (1897). Again, this picture was created, following the advice of his father. "The Science and Charity" is no more than a usual genre painting, the composition of which is surely thought-out by Pablo’s father; furthermore, it is evident that its theme and composition are inspired by the painting by Enrique Paternina, "Mother's Visit". It must be noted that this work continues to admire people, who are not into art, wondering how a 15-16 years old teenager managed to paint such a perfect picture:
After Sabartés death in 1968, in 1970 Picasso made his last personal donation to the museum. The donation was made up of 920 varied works, including items from his early work that his family had been keeping for him ever since the time he first settled in France. These included school books, academic pieces and paintings from Picasso's Blue Period. Sabartés himself bequested a number of works upon his death, including a series of 58 paintings on Las Meninas based on Velasquez's famous picture:
As years passed, the museum grew in importance as more substantial donations were made. During the early 1980s the collection was expanded with several donations from individuals and various art galleries, as well as through acquisitions. In 1982, Picasso's widow Jacqueline Roque donated 41 pieces to the museum. In 1983, the Louise Leiris Gallery made a donation of 117 engravings.
During the 1990s the museum acquired works such as Portrait of Jacqueline Roque (one of his wives) (1959), among others:
Practical hints: Allow TWO HOURS for the visit in Museu Picasso. While most people know Pablo Picasso for his distorted portraits, this museum displays his work on a timeline of sorts, allowing you to follow his progression from the more controlled works of his early years to the very whimsical paintings and sculptures from the end of his career. Travelers highly recommend a visit to the Picasso Museum, even if you aren't Picasso fan or addicted to art museums in general. Visitors appreciate the way the museum chronicled the art he created throughout his life. Not only that, but seeing his various styles on display make lots of travelers understand and further appreciate his talent after visiting the museum. The TWO main DRAWBACKS are: long queues for tickets and crowds into the museum. Book your tickets on line (especially in FREE DAYS - see below): http://www.museupicasso.bcn.cat/en/
The least crowded time slot is in the morning: from 10 to 11. Try to come just before the opening time - thus your wait will be reduced to minimum. If late, you’ll find those famous queues (longest between 11:00 and 15:00). The biggest crowds gather during weekends, especially on Sundays: the entrance is free after 15:00. The first Sunday of each month you can visit the museum for free the whole day: imagine the waiting lines! It’s THE day to avoid. During high season waiting lines to the Picasso Museum can easily take 1,5 hours of your time, sometimes even more.
For estimation of your waiting time - see: https://www.waitamoment.co.uk/going-abroad/gb-picasso-museum-barcelona/picasso-museum-barcelona-crowds
Opening hours: TUE - SUN: 9.00 -19.00, THU - 9.00 - 21.30. FREE - on the first Sunday of each month. Closed: Mondays, 1st January, 1st May, 24th June, 25th December.
FREE-of-charge times: Thursday afternoons 18.00 - 21.30, first Sunday of each month: 09.00 - 19.00, 12th February, 18th May and 24th September.
Prices: Permanent Collection: $11, Permanent Collection + Temporary Exhibition: $14. Concessions - Permanent Collection: $7, Permanent Collection + Temporary Exhibition: $7.5.
GUIDED TOURS (in English): Permanent Collection: Sundays - 1.00, Temporary Exhibition - Saturdays - 15.30.
AUDIO GUIDES (Catalan, Spanish, English, French, Italian, German, Russian, Japanese, Chinese (Mandarin) and South Korea): Collection: € 5, Temporary exhibition: € 4, Collection + temporary: € 7.
We continue our itinerary in La Ribera in Tip 2 below.
Tip 2: From Basilica Santa Maria del Mar to Placa de Jacint Preventos.
From Museu Picasso we continue to our next famous destination the Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar. Head (with your back to the museum buildings turn LEFT) southeast on Carrer de Montcada toward Carrer de l'Arc de Sant Vicenç, 120 m. Continue onto Placeta de Montcada, 55 m. Turn right onto Passeig del Born, 15 m
and the Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar is on your left. Formally called: Capella del Santissim Sagrament Sant Maria del Mar. Built between 1329 and 1383. An imposing cathedral and an outstanding example of Catalan Gothic church, with a purity and unity of style that is very unusual in large medieval buildings.
During the 13th century, in the neighborhood we now call “La Ribera” ("the Seashore") was well-known for its ship-building, imports-exports of all kinds and its workshops for artisans and craftsmen. These trades and businesses are still reflected today in the street names of the area. This was the time when many of the wealthy merchants and minor nobility built their houses on Montcada Street (see Tip 1). This progress demanded a church of more impressive dimensions than the one they had. The King Pere III gave his permission to extract stone from the quarry and use it to build the present church. The architects in charge were Berenguer de Montagut (designer of the building) and Ramon Despuig, and during the construction all the guilds of the Ribera quarter were involved. This church, which is actually a Basilica, is dedicated to the Virgin Mary and was built by the poorest people in Barcelona – the sailors and the fishermen. Workers loaded and unloaded the ships (the so-called “bastaixos” or porters), fishermen and the simple people used their hands and backs and, of course, their boats to transport the stone they needed from the nearby mountain of Montjuic. Construction work started on 25 March 1329, when the foundation stone was laid by king Alfonso IV of Aragon (III of Catalonia), as commemorated by a tablet in Latin and Catalan on the façade that faces the Fossar de les Moreres and by reading the two inscriptions on each side of the door on Santa Maria Street, one in Catalan and the other one in Latin. The walls, the side chapels and the façades were finished by 1350. In 1379 there was a fire that damaged important parts of the works. The last circular keystone, the closest one to the main door, bears the city’s coat of arms and was put in place on 3 November 1383. The church was consecrated by Pere Planella, bishop of Barcelona, on 15 August 1384:
The main door of the Basilica pays homage to the porters of La Ribera:
The 1428 Catalonia earthquake caused 30 casualties and destroyed the rose window in the west end. But the most traumatic damage to the church happened in 19 July 1936 when Santa Maria del Mar was set on fire and burned for eleven days straight. This fire damage call still be seen in the inside of the church’s ceilings. The magnificent Baroque altar and all the images and historical archive were all destroyed. Only the walls, columns and a few of the stained glass windows on the upper level were spared. The fire didn’t get up that high. Restorations in recent years have further emphasized its elegant and sober Gothic style:
Opening hours: MON - SAT: 9.00 - 13.00, 17.00 - 20.30, SUN: 10.00 - 14.00, 17.00 - 20.00. FREE entry. Note: At noon, visitors must pay to enter and join a guided tour, which includes the rooftop. Metro: Jaume I (L4).
Guided tours of the Basilica rooftop including the towers, rooftops, gallery and crypt of Santa Maria del Mar - duration: 1 hour. Prices: adult - 10€, students and seniors (older than 65) - 8€, members of groups of more than 10 people - 9€, FREE - children between 6 and 8 years old.
The Exterior and the interior give different sensations. The exterior suffers from the impossibility of an overall perspective. The mighty and impressive building of Basilica Santa Maria del Mar is pressed and hemmed in by the narrow streets of the Ribera, making it difficult to obtain an overall impression. The better perspective of this immense church is from Plaça de Santa Maria (west) and Placa del Fossar de les Moreres (east) (NOT the direction we came from - north-east).
The western facade of Basilica Santa Maria del Mar from Placa del Fossar de Les Moreres. From this side, you better see the white bells tower of the Basilica:
Plaça de Santa Maria in the afternoon hours. It is noteworthy that the north- west tower was completed back in 1496:
Placa de Santa Maria del Mar in the evening with the monument for the liberators of Barcelona 1711 - 1713. many cafe's around, children, pigeons and, even, music:
We highly recommend walking to Plaça de Santa Maria - for having a look at the Basilica from its western facade, dominated by the west end of the church with its rose window. Also, images of Saint Peter and Saint Paul occupy niches on either side of the west door, and the tympanum shows the Saviour flanked by Our Lady and Saint John.
The main entrance side consists of a traditional Catalan-Gothic facade, with a predominance of horizontal lines and large bare surfaces. Different colors were used for the windows in the different sides of the cathedral. At the front, where the sun is rising, the stained glass in the windows consists of earth tones, red, orange, brown and greens. These colors were being used for representing the Mediterranean land. On the sides of the cathedral the windows are more blue and white, which represents the Mediterranean sea.
Later, when we'll leave the Basilica, we shall see the Basilica also from Carrer de l'Argenteria.
Interior: When entering the cathedral, dimensions and balances change. The interior gives an impression of light and spaciousness, extraordinarily beautiful. abundant streams of natural light pass through the high windows. It is universally regarded as a marvel of engineering. What most strikes visitors upon entering the building is the vast and austere interior space. The immense space inside is beautifully lit by colored windows and supported only by slender octagonal columns. The spacing of the columns is the widest of any Gothic church in Europe. As the interiors have such an exceptional acoustics - concerts are often organized in the cathedral. Keep a look out for music recitals, often Baroque and classical.
It is of the Basilica type, with its three aisles forming a single space with no transepts and no architectural boundary between nave and presbytery. Part of the reason for the cleanliness of the interior is that the church was burned, like many others, by the Leftists during the Spanish Civil War in 1936. The fire destroyed many of the altarpieces and statuary that had been placed in the church over the centuries, particularly during the Baroque and Neo-Gothic periods in the 18th and 19th centuries. The end result was, ironically enough, that Santa Maria del Mar emerged from the ashes more beautiful than it had been in years, stripped of well-intentioned but unnecessary frills and do-thats that did not suit it. The interior is almost devoid of the imagery, which can be found in other large Gothic churches of Barcelona. Honestly said - Santa Maria was lacking in superfluous decoration even before anarchists gutted it in 1909 and 1936.
We leave the Basilica from the road which continues west ward Carrer de l'Argenteria - pedestrian street with small shops, restaurants and bars. The view of the Basilica Santa Maria del Mar from this road:
Carrer de l'Argenteria:
Turn left onto Plaça de Jacint Reventós:
Tip 3: The Artisans' Quarter and The Museu de Cultures del Món:
The Artisans Quarter is located around the crossing of Carrer de Montcada and Carrer de la Barra de Ferro. The formerly Fruits Market had been refurbished and transformed into Artisans stalls and shops. You'll find textile and leather design stores and gift shops with attitude. Each corner opens a world of surprises and local Avant-garde, especially at night with vibe, snacks and tapas everywhere.
A leather products shop:
. Public Transport: Metro L4 (Yellow line) - Jaume I station or Buses: 45, 120, V15, V17. Opening hours: TUE - SAT: 10.00 - 19.00, SUN and bank holidays: 10.00 - 20.00. Closed on Mondays (except bank holidays). Closed: January 1st, May 1st, June 24th and December 25th. Prices: adult - € 5, concessions (people aged 16 to 29, people aged 65 and over, families with a maximum of two accompanying adults, on condition that at least one of them is one parent or the legal guardian. It is essential that at least one family member is under 16) - € 3,50. Temporary exhibition: adult - €2,20, concessions - €1,50, free admission with the ticket of the permanent exhibition. The museum has WONDERFUL private art collections from the MOST EXOTIC places and cultures around the world. It displays highly valuable pieces from countries and islands including New Zealand, the Marquesas Islands, Tonga and Rapa Nui - just to name few of them. A hidden treasure in La Ribera / El Born. The museum has an wealth to offer. Every culture is represented in this museum. There are several floors. It starts out with the African culture and it goes on to Asian, Mesoamerican, etc. If you have to choose between this and the Picasso museum choose this one !!! it has a lot more to offer. Stunning and overwhelming permanent exhibition. The best activity for a rainy evening or a extremely hot one ! WELL WORTH AN HOUR (at least):
A mask from Congo:
A mask from Burkina- Faso:
Masks from New Guinea:
A mask from Indonesia:
The Moguls of India Art:
Tantrics Rituals from Tibet: