Friday, August 22, 2008

No sweeter orange


My orange tree finally bore a fruit. Just one little fruit. Even though it is still quite green and I didn't notice it amongst the green leaves, I know there could be no sweeter orange than the first surviving fruit from the tree I planted 3 years ago. I'm one very happy gardener.

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Photo by Rosario Charie Albar



Saturday, August 09, 2008

Barcelona - Legacy of Greats

Gaudi's Casa Batlló

I had three full days in Barcelona recently. Hardly enough to see Gaudí's many projects, Picasso's paintings and ceramics, and Joan Miro's colorful works of art. Dividing the city into sections, I started exploring in the medieval Barri Gotic where the Museu Picasso is located. The most memorable of the collection on display are the series of paintings called "Las Meninas" after the painting of the same name by one of Spain's greatest painters, Velasquez. Picasso's abstract interpretation of the 17th century painting is interesting and thought provoking, to say the least. The series challenges viewers to see an icon from a modernistic perspective and appreciate the nuances and differences in style.

The second day was devoted to Gaudí. I could only squeeze 3 of his masterpieces into my schedule - Casa Batlló, Casa Mila and Sagrada Familia. Inside Casa Batlló I was captivated by the sheer beauty of the undulating walls, the stained glass windows flowing in a curve, the outdoor terrace with a wall on one side decorated in a rainbow of colors, the attic with its white arched vaultings that reminds one of a chapel, and the rooftop where one can get up close to the front façade which is designed like a giant scallop shell. As excited as I was with Casa Batlló, I can't say I feel the same way about the Sagrada Familia where work continues. I wish they would have left the cathedral just as it was after Gaudi's unfortunate death. There are so many things going on with the construction today that it no longer feels uniquely Gaudí.

It's easy to smile when viewing the works of Joan Miró. They seem like child's play - fun, whimsical and colorful. The Fundació Joan Miró on Parc de Monjuic above Barcelona (take the funicular) has a large collection of the artist's paintings, sculptures, and tapestries (which are colossal in scale). The galleries provide an intimate look at the artist and his oeuvres.
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Photo by Rosario Charie Albar