Anyone who has browsed much on this blog can tell I enjoy art. In fact, one of my top five most-viewed posts, even today, is one in which I introduced elementary art students to cubism. So it should be no surprise that my number one experience in Barcelona was the walking tour in the steps of Picasso.
Our guide was very engaging and very knowledgeable. The focus of the tour was really Picasso’s Barcelona years, the years of his youth and young adulthood. Our first stop taught me several new things about Barcelona, as well as Picasso. This is the Three Cats bar, where Picasso met friends and held his first exhibition.
This is also where I learned that historic buildings in Barcelona are marked with a plaque set into the pavement in front of them. If the information on the plaque matches the name of the current business, it is a very old enterprise indeed. And The 4 Cats is a historic treasure.
The most striking, obvious mark of Picasso on the city is the College of Architecture building. The story of how Picasso basically snuck this contribution in, which, although his design, had to be sandblasted into the stone by another, was very interesting.
We got to see where the Picasso family lived, and how illustrative it was of their relative poverty. We also saw where his first studio was, compared to his last. The whole tour really walked you through his increasing struggle to distance himself from his father. The best part, though, was arriving at the Picasso museum, bypassing the loooong and winding LINE for the entrance! Man, that was delightful! Just marched right past a whole SLEW of tourists! Very satisfying, actually, and the museum building itself was just beautiful. And large.
The museum was wonderful. It is the collection of the Picasso family, and easily demonstrated his mastery of classical art in his teens, and his growth and experimentation over the years. I just wish I had been more forward-thinking earlier in the day. We had already walked the city several hours BEFORE the two hour tour, and by its end, I was so tired. And my feet were SO sore. I wanted badly to use my ticket to continue exploring the museum in depth, but had to concede the day and head back to the Metro and our hotel. It was such a wonderful experience, though! I was wishing the whole time I could use the information and experiences to the benefit of my former students back home!