10 peseta note from the Generalitat de Catalunya, 1936
The Civil War caused numerous monetary problems, such as a lack of fractioned money. The Department of Finances of the Generalitat de Catalunya, directed by Josep Tarradellas, so as to provide a response, presented a decree in September 1936 for an ambitious plan to issue monetary notes of legal tender throughout Catalonia. The idea was to create an authentic Catalan monetary system with all the necessary values, with the endorsement of the treasury of the Generalitat independent of the Bank of Spain, of which the Government of the Republic ended up prohibiting in 1938.
Various values were projected of which the only ones to be put into circulation were the notes of 2, 5 and pesetas. The design was commissioned to the noucentista artist Josep Obiols and was printed in the Institut Gràfic Oliva of Vilanova i la Geltrú with special security paper with watermarks. The 10 peseta note was printed in two tones of green and on the back were represented fishing boats while on the front it showed the coat of arms of Catalonia next to an ear of corn and a hammer - allegories of agriculture and industry, with various ornaments of laurel branches and of oak.
10 pesetas, Generalitat de Catalunya, 1936
Anonymous Castile. Pleurants circa 1295
These panels decorated the funeral monument of Sancho Sáiz de Carrillo, the reclining image of which, a polychromatic cut, is conserved in the Cincinnati Art Museum of Ohio. They come from the hermit of San Andrés de Mahamud, in Burgos.
The mourners or weepers is one of the most successful elements in the tombs from the Gothic period, they are wearing typical mourning clothes. Their presence reminds us of the funeral cortege that accompanied the corpse until it was buried. These mourners or weepers represent the moment of mourning, the planctus.
The paintings of Mahamud, of hard and energetic strokes, are cut against a plain background. There is a contrast between the detail and care of the artist in the heads of the figures, which show off their curly hair, compared with the treatment of the bodies without volume. In this case, the striped and colourful clothing of the mourners take on the importance, making them striking, attractive and providing modernity to these scenes from the Gothic period.
Pleurants, Anonymous. Castile, circa 1295
Antoni Gaudí. Two-seat sofa, around 1904-1906
Antoni Gaudí, one of the best international architects from the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, was also a bold designer of furniture, metalwork, and some of the decorative pieces of his buildings. For the chairs of the Casa Batlló [itinerari modernista], in the Passeig de Gràcia of Barcelona, the architect designed a type of chair, unseen of until that moment, that aimed to use rounded shapes that adjusted to the human morphology and did without unnecessary the upholstery and ornamentations of the time, to leave a nude shape, so to speak.
Gaudí was the precursor of ergonomic designs and broke away from academic repertoires, bringing forward industrial design, as architects who were his contemporaries also did.
Two-seat sofa, Antoni Gaudí, circa 1904-1906
Apse of Àneu, 1090-1120
The church of Santa Maria d’Àneu, in its time, was the most important in the valley of Àneu and belongs to the diocese of the Seu d’Urgell. The decoration of the apse, of Lombard influence and ascribed to the stylistic circle of Pedret, with the superposition of themes and motifs from the Old and New Testament, explains the hope of the coming of the Messiah who had to redeem the humanity, just as the prophets had said.
In the lower part, two seraphims, each one with three pairs of wings, sing a song of praise to the Lord, approaching the tongs of blazing coals to the lips of the prophets Elijah and Isaiah, so that their word becomes the word of the Lord. The wings full of eyes symbolize the fact that the Lord reaches everywhere. In the middle, the four wheels of fire of the chariot of Yahweh symbolize the presence of the Lord. Around this, there is the Epiphany, with Mary her Majesty and the Wide Men. The archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, lawyers of the sinners on the Final Judgment Day, complete the scene.
Apse of Santa Maria d'Àneu, Master of Pedret, end of 11th century – beginning of 12th century
At a glance: what will you see?
After browsing through the 35 works that we have chosen for you, you will see up closer the diversity and the wealth of the collection of the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya: from the Romanesque art to the Avant-Garde art; from the mural paintings to a treasure of coins; from the Master of Sant Climent de Taüll to Salvador Dalí.
You will be able to enjoy and discover with a suggestive menu if you go to the online catalog.
Ayne Bru. Saint Candidus, 1502-1507
This panel, in which Saint Candidus is spendidly dressed as a knight, could have been on one of the panels of the high altarpiece from the monastery of Sant Cugat del Vallès, of which the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya also preserves the Degollació de Sant Cugat. These are the only works conserved of Ayne Bru, one of the most important names from the Catalan Cinquecento, an itinerant artist, of Central-European origin and training with a clear influence of Flemish culture, even though he knew the Italian culture. The courtier pose and humanist air of this saint has been related to the style of the Venetian workshop of Giovanni Bellini, a seed of what was to be the modern maniera of Giorgione.
Saint Candidus, Ayne Bru, 1502-1507
Central apse of Sant Climent de Taüll, around 1123
This is one of the master works from European Romanesque. Its genius resides in the combination of elements of different biblical visions – those of the Apocalypse, Isaiah and Ezekiel, to present us with the Christ of the Final Judgment. This appears from the background causing a centrifugal movement of the composition, in which the ornamental sense of the profiles dominates and the ability of the use of colour to give volume. Due to its exceptionality and pictorial strength, the work of the Master of Taüll has projected to modernity, fascinating avant-garde artists of the 20th century, such as Picasso o Francis Picabia.
Apse of Sant Climent de Taüll, Master of Taüll, circa 1123
The ciborium of the Cerdanya, around 1195-1200
The needs of worship and liturgy determined that in each church there should be objects, such as ciboria, which could reach a certain luxury with gold or silver coatings or with applications of precious stones. Many works, however, were made with more affordable metals such as golden copper and often decorated with enamels. Limoges, in the centre of France, was one of the most important places for the production of pieces of enamel in the Romanesque period and its objects can be found in many places in Europe. The Ciborium of the Cerdanya, of which only the central part is conserved of two semi-spherical pieces joined together, is one of the oldest examples that arrived of products from Limoges in Catalonia, and it is also an example of the reach of renewal trends from 1200.
Twelve of the eighteen figures represented, beardless and not very individualized, have been identified with the apostles (carrying a book), while the other six are considered to be prophets or angels, even though they don’t have clear attributes.
Ciborium from La Cerdanya, Anonymous, Limoges, circa 1195-1200
Diego Velázquez. Saint Paul circa 1619
This is a painting of youth done by Diego Velázquez, shortly before entering into the service of the Spanish monarch Felipe IV. This work is considered fundamental for the study of the influence of pictorial realism of Caravaggio in Spain.
The saint, seated, is wearing a tunic and is covered with a thick blanket. His hair is dark, with a grey beard, and his face has deep wrinkles, while the halo around his head declares his sainthood. He shows a book which indicates his condition as apostle, and could also be that of intellectual or philosopher, even though, above on the left, there appears an inscription that clearly identifies him as: «S. PAVLVS».
Saint Paul, Diego Velázquez, circa 1619
Drachma of Rhode, first third of the 3rd century BC
In the beginning of the 3rd century BC, the Greek colony of Rhode started to mint silver drachmas, with a female head and the Greek legend Rodeton facing up and a rose on the back.
The head is represented in profile, decorated with a spiky hairstyle and with a triple pendant earring and necklace. The modelling was done following the best artistic tradition of simple Greek.
Rhode chose a rose for the back of the drachmas in a clear allusion to the name of the colony.
Drachma, Rhode, First third of 3rd century BC
Episcopal coins of Vic, second half of the 11th century
Numismatic evidence and documentary mentions allow us to trace the transaction activity of the bishops of Vic throughout the period which goes from the 10th century to the beginning of the 14th century. The types used in these transactions are very varied and have in common the predominance of the types of religious iconography. The most emblematic piece of the series, without doubt, is the so-called, already in the documentation of the period, oxen coin. This is one of the best examples of high medieval coinages in Europe, both for its high technical quality as well as the beauty of its design. On the upper face its shows the apostles Saint Peter and Saint Paul who are holding a processional cross, while on the back there appears a man leading a pair of oxen.
Denier, Bishopric of Vic, second half of 11th century
Eusebi Arnau. 5th International Exhibition of Art of Barcelona, 1907
The Catalan medal underwent an authentic emergence during modernism. The most important creator from the period, both in terms of the quantity and quality of his production, was Eusebi Arnau. The consecration of Arnau as a medal producer took place in the Universal Exposition of Barcelona of 1888 for which he made two official medals.
The City Council of Barcelona commissioned, among other works, the piece we are commenting. It is dedicated to the 5th International Exhibition of Art of Barcelona held in 1907. Of this medal it is worth highlighting the upper side, with the bust of the profile of a youth, with loose hair and a crown on the head, which is outlined on a background which suggests the coat of arms of Barcelona. The allegory of the city, the Nordic medieval airs, as well as the taste of modernist aesthetics, is based on a sculpture of his from 1897 with the same theme.
V International Exhibition of Art of Barcelona, Eusebi Arnau, 1907
Francisco de Zurbarán. Still life with bowl of quinces, 1633-1664
Four natural-sized quinces stand out from a black background, while a focus of light models, from the left, the fruit, that reflects its golden colour in the metal edge of the plate where they are placed. Below on the right, in the foreground, there is a white canvas. The original canvas has been recovered and the radiographic studies suggest that at one time it was cut out from another to turn it into an independent painting. Maybe it was a detail from a religious setting of a domestic interior with the plate of fruit the allusion to the Redemption, something frequent in the production of Zurbarán. There are discrepancies regarding the chronology. The pictorial execution and composition situate the canvas around the year thirty of the 17th century, even though it could also be related to the works from the last period of the artist.
Still Life with Dish of Quince, Francisco de Zurbarán, between 1633-1635
Frontal of Avià, around 1200
This frontal is an excellent representation of the so-called art of the 1200, which is characterized by the influence, in the Christian West, of Byzantine art renewed in the 12th century through English miniature and art of the Croatians. The frontal-piece is centred on the figure of Maria as Sedes Sapientiae or the throne of wisdom, with the Child on the lap and flanked by four scenes from the childhood of Jesus. The stylistic influence of Byzantium is perceivable in the sculptural modelling of the bodies, in the treatment of the faces in three-quarters, and in the vestiges of golden vegetable decoration of the background. The position of Maria is also of Byzantine origin in the Nativity scene, in which she remains seated on a bundle of straw.
Altar frontal from Avià, Anonymous, circa 1200
Giovanni da Fiesole, called «Fra Angelico». Madonna of Humility, around 1433-1435
This work form the Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection brings out the humanist feeling from Italian Renaissance. The monumental figures, the splendour of the clothes, the modulated light and the use of the colour place this panel in the purest fifteenth-century Italian style. The work has been identified as the one described by Giorgio Vasari in 1568 in the home of the Gondi family, in Florence, where it formed part of a triptych, which was attributed to Fra Angelico.
The Virgin seated with the child standing on her lap, holds a vase in her right hand which contains roses and a lily, symbols of motherhood and purity. The Child, who is also holding a lily, rests his forehead on his mother's cheek. They are placed on a throne with sumptuous curtain held by three angels, while two more angels are seated on the ground playing an organ and a lute.
Virgin of Humility, Giovanni da Fiesole (Fra Angelico), 1433-1435
Isidre Nonell. Snow-covered landscape, 1896-1897
Nonell spent the summer of 1896 in a spa of Caldes de Boí. In Boí the artist closed a period dedicated to landscape and opened another in which the human figure was now the protagonist, inclining especially towards those more socially grotesque and marginal beings: cretins, gypsies, old men, ragmen, etc. Despite the fact that he did paint some landscapes like the ones he had done in Barcelona, the most notable work he did in that time were the drawings featuring cretins in which for the first time the singular and strong personality of Nonell was manifested.
Taking into account the fact that this drawing is in ink and with coloured pencils, we could guess that Nonell did it on returning to Barcelona, based on the sketches he had done in Boí, in pencil. In this definitive version of a cretin with his son in a snow-covered landscape, framed by the Romanesque church of Sant Pere d’Escunyau, in the vall d’Aran, it is very especially evident the influence of the Japanese prints.
Snowy landscape, Isidre Nonell, 1896-1897
Jaume Huguet. Consecration of Saint Augustine, around 1466-1575
In 1463 the brotherhood of Tanners commissioned to Jaume Huguet the altarpiece of the high altar of the church of Sant Agustí Vell of Barcelona. The extraordinary dimensions of the panels, one of the biggest of Catalan Gothic painting, and the period of crisis that the country was undergoing, delayed the completion of the altarpiece until 1486 and led to the intervention of various members of Huguet’s workshop.
Eight panels from this altarpiece are preserved, seven at the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya and another at the Museu Marès. The quality of the composition and the pictorial technique of the Consecration of Saint Augustine suggest it can be considered the personal work of the great master.
Consecration of Saint Augustine, Jaume Huguet, circa 1463-1470/1475
Joan Colom. From the series 5th District, 1960
The new photographic avant-garde in Catalonia reached its aesthetic culmination during the first years of the 1960s, precisely with the work of an amateur photographer, Joan Colom,author of an unforgettable documentary about the “Chinese” neighbourhood of Barcelona, which led to the final consequences the formal and poetic possibilities of the photographic realism of the new avant-garde and was articulated with a series of images, in a pseudo-cinematographic way, that broke away for ever from the idea of the unique image.
This period would be the last moment of the hegemony of reporting as a photographic form of avant-garde. The historic conditions with respect to the role of photography in the media would change throughout the sixties, and this would determine the future destiny of reporting.
From the 5th District Series, Joan Colom Altemir, Barcelona, circa 1960
Joan Vilatobà. Where in heaven will I find you?, undated
The massive industrialization of the photography based on the new models of Kodak in 1888, marked the birth of amateurism, and what could be considered its elitist complement and counterpart, pictorialism, understood to be the first discourse of artistic legitimisation of photography.
Faced with technological standardization and documental utilitarianism, pictorialism proposed the use of pigmentary techniques that evoked the manual work of paintings, as well as their symbolic, picturesque or sublime themes, in accordance with the aesthetic paradigms of the modern art of the 19th century, which was based on the romantic principle of genius. In some way the concept of “creation” was introduced into photographic techniques, vindicating the figure of the photographer as an author and interpreter of reality. Within this framework, Joan Vilatobà created a series of works which moved between symbolic allegory and customs, and photography through topics such as beauty, death, love, etc., of which Where in heaven will I find you? is an example.
Where in the Sky Will I Find You?, Joan Vilatobà, circa 1903-1905
Josep Badosa, Glorious Republican Aviation that has acted so brilliantly on all the fronts, undated
The arrival of the printed page became a crucial element for the definition of photographic modernity. It was also the moment of the birth of documentary photography, which corresponds to the historical period of the appearance and consolidation of illustrated magazines, as well as photographic cameras of small format and of new materials which allowed high speed photos to be taken.
There is a historical relation between the evolution of illustrated reporting and wars. In a more specific way, we can say that modern reporting was born with the Spanish Civil War thanks to photographers such as Robert Capa or Agustí Centelles. It is the first war with an extensive coverage in the printed press. We shouldn’t forget, however, Josep Badosa, the first Catalan photographer to adopt a camera with universal film, a Leica, substituting the cameras of glass plates, it was the master Agustí Centelles, who contracted him as an assistant from 1927 to 1931. The Civil War brought the life of this pioneer in modern photo journalism to an end in 1937.
Josep de Togores. Printània, 1922
Around 1917, a generation of artists some ten or fifteen years younger than the first noucentistes, among which there was Josep de Togores, Enric C. Ricart, Francesc Domingo and Joan Miró, presented themselves publicly in Barcelona. Despite not having a common aesthetic, they coincided in their rejection of Mediterranean noucentisme and proclaimed their admiration for Paul Cézanne. Most of them cultivated a figurative art that, in some cases, gets close to certain avant-garde approaches.
In 1919, Togores began a long stay in Paris and for a time mixed his artistic practice with being art critic. Some of the works he painted then, like the one we are commenting on, reflected a return to Mediterranean classicism, the results of his relation with Aristides Maillol. With a broad and coloured palette, Togores recreated himself then in the representation of volumes and in drawing.
Printania, Josep de Togores, París, 1922
Josep Llimona. Grief, 1907
Considered the best sculptor of Catalan Modernism, Josep Llimona founded with his brother Joan the Cercle Artístic de Sant Lluc, an entity that gathered together artists with strong Catholic and conservative convictions, such as Antoni Gaudí. This group opposed the renovating ideas of the first Modernists, with such strict rules as, for example, prohibiting nudity.
When, finally, the members of the Cercle modified this rule, a emergence was produced of Modernist sculpture, of which Grief has become a paradigmatic piece. The perfect execution of the anatomy of the female body, and especially its melancholic and caste attitude contributed to boosting the adscription to the symbolism.
Desolation, Josep Llimona, Barcelona, 1907
Josep Masana. Untitled, 1934
Masana opened his studio in Granollers in 1914 and the one in Barcelona in 1921.His main activity was to focus on commissioned photography, essentially portraits, a genre for which he was considered to be one of the grand masters of his time. From the pictorial beginnings, he has left us with excellent testimonies. The Art of Light and Photographic Art published some of his works. Nevertheless, the most innovative facet of his work was advertising photography, in which he boldly combined the type, photomontage, played with light and shadow or the sensation of movement, which was appreciable in this work.
Untitled, Josep Masana, 1934
Juli González. Montserrat Frightened, 1940
From 1936 onwards, González, concerned for the events of the Civil War, did many drawings that he would subsequently use to sculpture La Montserrat, which has become a symbol of the Catalan woman, her pain and her protest against the war, apart from having a central role in the work of González from the 1930s until the end of his life.
After the war he would once again take up the theme and rethought this feminine figure, that shouted against the repression, injustice and barbarities. He did drawings, like the one we just mentioned, which ended up in the form of a new sculpture, Head of Montserrat shouting, which he modelled in plaster and was cast when the artist had died. Both in these last drawings and in the sculpture the artist shows his capacity for reflecting feelings beyond those of the formal approach of the work, and his own shout against the injustice of the war.
Montserrat Frightened, Juli González, 1940
Lluís Dalmau. The Virgin of the Consellers, 1443-1445
The prestige of the culture of the Burgundian court and of the painter Jan van Eyck explain why in 1431 the King Alfonso the Magnanimous would send his official painter, the Valencian Lluís Dalmau, to Flanders, where he would be able to get to know the new realist language first hand.
In 1443, Dalmau was commissioned to paint this altarpiece for the chapel of the City Hall. Within the Catalan context this work was a breakthrough on account of the format, the technique used, as it was painted in oil, and the skilful illusionism of a figurative space in which that year's five councillors, painted from life, are represented on the same scale as the Virgin and the Saints.
Virgin of the "Consellers", Lluís Dalmau, 1443-1445
Lucas Cranach. The ill-matched couple , 1517
The ill-matched couple is a theme with a long tradition which was one of the favourite arguments of Lutheran Reform, and which Cranach represented often. The panel, in small format presents the couple in three quarters, with a plain background in which there is no indication of where the scene is taking place. The moralising intention is evident: it represents the theft, by a young girl, from an imprudent old man who doesn’t see what is happening because of her charms, while she smiles in satisfaction and puts her hand in the lustful bag.
The work, which belongs to the Cambó bequest, is signed and dated next to the arm of the girl, with the anagram that the artist used in all his works until 1537: a winged snake looking upwards. From this date on, the year of the death of his son, Hans, the wingtips would point downwards.
The Ill-Matched Couple, Lucas Cranach (the Elder), 1517
Majestat Batlló, middle of the 12th century
The images carved in wood constitute one of the fundamental elements of the church as objects of devotion. One of the types most developed in Catalonia were the Majestats, images of Christ on the Cross which symbolise his triumph after death, among which it is worth highlighting the Majestat Batlló. It is characterised by its solemn character, thanks to a composition marked by the frontal and geometry, and the luxury aspect of the tunics, which remind us of the refined Byzantine or Hispano-Muslim materials. The modality counted on a major reference, the Volto Santo by Lucca (Tuscany, Italy), an object of extraordinary worship since the end of the 11th century.
A study of the piece has allowed us to discover that, under the current layer of polychrome, the remains are hidden of another older one (between fifty and a hundred years older) of which a virtual reconstruction has been made. The visible decoration is substantially based on blue and red tones, and on the other hand, in the primitive ones, red mixed with green and yellow predominates
Batlló Majesty, Anonymous, mid-12th century
Marià Fortuny. Il contino, 1861
This work is an early approach of Fortuny to the theme of genre and one of the works from his first Roman period in which he shows greater virtuosity. In front of the Baroque fountain of the gardens of Villa Borghese, there is a young man with an affected air and distant elegance, emphasised by the clothing from the 18th century - cassock, waistcoat and shirt, the sword and dusted wig. This is a figure that responds to a common type from the period, but to whom Fortuny imprints his own stamp. His artistic ability is appreciated in the subtleties with which he recreates the transparency of the water flowing from the fountain, the skill in distributing the shadows or in the splendid sense of colour.
Il contino, Marià Fortuny, 1861
Marià Fortuny. The Spanish wedding, 1870
Marià Fortuny was the most important Spanish artists of his époque, after Goya, and enjoyed international recognition during his lifetime. Fortuny was especially famous for his meticulous styled paintings, the so-called “pintura de casaques”– done with prodigious technical skills, those of a virtuoso, which represented themes set in the 13th century.
The scene represented in The Spanish wedding is the signing of a wedding contract, in which Fortuny incorporates elements that show his enormous culture and his fascination and admiration for Goya. The scene takes place in a fictitious space, in which it is notable the bars, the light from the ceiling, the painting, the bookshelves, the shield and the heater, a resource he would use in other compositions. In terms of the personages, it is worth highlighting the central group with the couple, accompanied by the witnesses, friends and family, dressed in the fashion of the 18th century, the elegance of whom contrasts with the group on the right, of low-village people, symbolised by a bull-fighter and a manola who, on a bench, await their turn. It is also notable the brother who begs for the souls of purgatory, the priest and a person with glasses, seated in a corner.
This version of The Spanish wedding, the second that Fortuny did, is the culmination of his artistic work and the best testimony of his virtuosity with the paintbrushes, of his interest for the past and for the rigor and scholarly capacity, all of the qualities that place Fortuny in a notable position of art of his time. The Vicarage would be highly successful in Paris, where the painter from Reus would become one of the most sought after artists by the American collectors of the time.
The Spanish Wedding, Marià Fortuny, Roma 1868-1869. París 1870
Master of the Conquest of Mallorca. Mural paintings of the Conquest of Mallorca, 1285-1290
The mural paintings of the Conquest of Mallorca come from the old mansion house of the Caldes family in carrer Montcada of Barcelona, later to be known as the palau Aguilar and which is currently home to the Museu Picasso. Discovered and taken apart in 1961, they are two of the most relevant examples of Catalan art from the first Gothic and lineal Gothic. They narrate the conquest of the island of Mallorca by Jaume I the Conqueror, which occurred in 1229. As if it was a painted chronicle, the episodes follow the detailed narration of the Catalan medieval chronicles such as the Llibre dels Feits by King Jaume I and the Crònica by Bernat Desclot.
Mural paintings of the Conquest of Majorca, Master of the Conquest of Majorca, 1285-1290
Pere Serra, Mare de Déu dels Àngels i Sants (The Virgin of the Angels and Saints), around 1385
This splendid central panel and the two sections of the predella with saints (that in their time must have flanked a tabernacle) are the only conserved parts of the altarpiece. Dedicated to the Mother of God, it was painted for one of the chapels of the ambulatory of the cathedral of Tortosa, probably around the eighth decade of the 14th century.
The compartment of the Virgin and Child surrounded by musical angels is a highly delicate version and refinement of a type of iconography which enjoyed an immense fortune in that time.
Pere Serra, the author of the altarpiece, belonged to a family of painters who ended up leading the Catalan painting in the second half of the 14th century.
Virgin of the Angels, Pere Serra, circa 1385
Ramon Casas and Pere Romeu in an automobile
A singular painting of Catalan Modernism which represents Ramon Casas, himself, and Pere Romeu, owner of the famous bar “Els Quatre Gats”, driving an automobile, a vehicle belonging to the 20th century, which decorated the main wall of the famous bar. In 1901, this canvas substituted another in which the same two characters were riding on a tandem, with the skyline of Barcelona in the background. Both of these works have become the most emblematic of Catalan Modernism.
The decorative aim of the two paintings, and the humoristic and stylistic touch, approaches them to the poster technique, a genre in which Ramon Casas had acquired a great prestige, by getting close to the art nouveau aesthetics and the art of the great French poster artist Toulouse-Lautrec.
Ramon Casas and Pere Romeu in a Motor Car, Ramon Casas, Barcelona, 1901
Ramon Casas. Portrait of Pablo Picasso, around 1900
Casas did a portrait of a young Picasso, when he was 19 years old, in Paris, when both of them visited the Universal Exposition of 1900. In the background of this portrait we can recognise Paris, through some of its emblematic monuments, as for example the Sacré-Coeur or the blades of the Moulin de la Galette.
An emblematic figure from the first Catalan Modernism, Ramon Casas leads, alongside other artists, the renovation movement of the Catalan figurative arts from the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. His excellent artistic qualities are highlighted in this drawing of the famous portrait gallery given by the author to the Board of Museums in 1909, in which he fixed the image of the major personalities (artists, musicians and politicians) from the society of the time.
Portrait of Pablo Picasso, Ramon Casas, circa 1900
Salvador Dalí. Portrait of the artist's father and sister, 1925
In this work, one of the most representative from Salvador Dalí's youth, the artist puts to one side his worry about composition and colour and begins a stage which could be considered to be one of the most balanced periods in his artistic production, even though, as he himself would explain, it was a time that he lived in an exalted and frenetic way.
In this drawing, the father, represented in three quarters seated in profile and looking towards the right, reminds us of the same figure of the portrait in oil that Dalí would paint some months later, which is also conserved in the museum. It reaches a cleansing of the line, which is made evident in the details of the faces, that are worked on in a highly delicate way, a particular way of drawing that later on, and from then on always, which would characterise his surrealist works.
Portrait of the Artist's Father and Sister, Salvador Dalí, 1925
Toni Catany. Still life #136, 1987
Among the genres cultivated by Toni Catany,still life is the one most often associated with his name. The floral compositions in colour mainly produced in the eighties made him known internationally.
Catany approached still life in the seventies, when he explored the possibilities of the calotype, among other things because the subject, immobile by nature, allowed him to do the long exhibitions that this technique required.
Generally the point of view is frontal, with the main object of the composition in the centre and occupying most of the painting. The details end up giving sense to the image are discovered by letting you take a glance over the rest of the painting, while letting yourself be seduced by the aesthetics. Reflections in a mirror, a glass screen, flowing tulle, sets of contrasts are then discovered.
Still life, # 136, Toni Catany, 1987
Treasure Sant Pere de Rodes
In 1989 a treasure of coins was found in the underground of a room of the ground floor of the so-called house of the abbot, in the monastery of Sant Pere de Rodes (Alt Empordà). The extraordinary monetary composition of the treasure, the excellent conservation of the coins and the fact that the find precisely came from an archaeological context makes the treasure of Sant Pere de Rodes one of the greatest numismatic discoveries in recent years in Catalonia.
It is made up of 658 coins, 348 of which are made of gold, and the other 310 are of silver. The pieces had been carefully deposited in a glazed ceramic apothecary pot, arranged in cartridges. In the lower part there was the coinage in silver and in the upper part was situated the gold. The treasure contains coins minted from the second half of the 14th century, but the most modern pieces indicate that they must have been hidden around 1520-30, in the time of the abbot Ferran Ram (1509-1532).
Sant Pere de Rodes hoard, various authorities, first quarter of the 16th century