Barcelona’s Palua de la Musica is another Modernista architecture great. This one is not a Gaudi, it is by Montaner – he wasn’t so much into incorporating hyper-geometric equations into his building lines. The tour guide said he was better known for putting lots of flowers at the top of his columns. While Montaners style may not be to everyone’s taste, it was still an amazing accomplishment. His works are better showcased on the inside decoration than the outside.
The outside structure is much like other buildings except the columns in the front are encrusted with ceramic pieces – giving it a semi-candyland vibe. Both sides of the music hall are basically stained glass and steel. The effect of the stained glass is not nearly as stunning as the Gaudi cathedral but it is different for a music hall. Most music halls are enclosed and have no windows – that makes this music hall acoustically unique. The tour guide let us know that some performers love it – others not so much.
The Palua had a great deal on the concert for the evening so Brent and I returned. It was a tenor and pianist performing Schumann and Shubert pieces. The soloist was Werner Gura – he could be a rock star of the international singing world – or maybe not. All the songs were sung in German, it’s not that easy to make German sound very melodius. The Palua is so wonderfully decorated it was nice to have time to sit and appreciate it all with a pleasant soundtrack.
Near the Paula is the Picasso Museum. Usually Rick Steves has a way to get tickets faster or cheaper. We found a trick that he may not know about – and I’m gonna write him and tell him and then maybe we will be pen-pals. The cost to enter the museum was 11 Euros for each adult (kids/students free) a little extra for the temporary exhibit. While waiting I noticed an advertisement for a family pass for 15 Euro. We inquired about paying 15 for the family instead of 22 for 2 adults – we were sent to another office. At this office there was no line and then sold us a family pass for 15Euro. This pass is good for a year and gets our family into the museum and any exhibits. So if you are in Barcelona – go directly to the Group meeting box office and get the family pass – they will even let you right into the museum from there.
The museum focuses more on Picasso’s early works than his more well known abstract/cubist paintings. Like Matisse – Picasso was an excellent artist. A painting he did at the age of 15 is almost like a photograph – no one would EVER believe it was Picasso. The museum was more about Picasso’s life as told through his painting style rather than the pictures themselves. It was a different art museum perspective. There were two rooms dedicated to Picasso’s deconstruction of a painting by Valesquez – it does give one a bit more of an appreciation for Picasso’s cubist artistic eye to see his thought process as he reinterprets the same painting 27 different ways.
The temporary exhibit was just awful. It was the influence of Picasso on modern artists. I wonder if these artist can really draw and evolved, like Picasso – or if they jumped right in and started mimicking Picasso with make everything square-ish. The art seemed to be more about what the artist had to say about the piece rather than the piece itself. If someone has to explain it to you – I don’t think it belongs in a museum. A piece that qualified as art in the Picasso Museum was a DVD playing Pirates of the Caribbean. The DVD player was propped in a big structure that looked like boxes completely encased in bad wrapping paper – then shelacked. Every now and then the movie was spliced with footage of a man in a suit demonstrating how great his 39.95 vegetable peeler was with carrots. That is just stupid.