Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Palau Reial de Pedrables

One of the first mornings in Barcelona, my husband and I grabbed a cab over to the Palau Reial de Pedrables (the Royal Palace in the Pedrables area).    
Away from the hustle and bustle of the center of Barcelona, the Palace is surrounded by expansive gardens and beautiful courtyards with a huge round fountain at the entrance of the Palace.   This palatial estate was built in 1920 for the Count Eusebi Guell, one of Gaudi's most important patrons.  The gardens were partially designed by Gaudi.  There is a huge array of giant Eucalyptus, Cypress and Magnolia trees besides statues of Hercules, Queen Isabel II and Alfonso XII.  The Palua is now home to two museums, Museum of Ceramics and Museum of the Decorative Arts.
As you enter the Palace, the first thing that catches your eye is the entrance hall with its impressive marble stairway, an elegant crystal chandelier and decorative ceiling.  This leads you up to the two museums, the ceramics being the main focus of the collection.   The ceramics range from Moorish storage vessels and tiles, pictorial scenes of Barcelona to works by Modernistas, Picasso and Miro!
Being a "blue" girl, this white and blue tile hit home!   Builders of the 15th century covered the interiors of Churches, monasteries and castles with tiled floors and wall.  It was a way to keep the interiors clean.  
Blue, a primary color, originally came from Mesopotamia and Egypt. It was introduced to China in the 8th century and eventually arrived to Andalus area via the maritime route in the 13th century.  Then through the Iberian Peninsula, blue spread throughout Europe.
Socarrants (Catalan for baked) were popular in the 15th and 16th centuries. This particular tile was made by commission for a noble family.  How the two faces were incorporated into the design was pure genius.   Many times it was the family's coat of arms, while others were decorated with kufic writing that indicated the people of the home were bi-lingual.
Many of the decorative tiles depicted plant and figurative motifs.  It reminds me of the "loteria" cards in Mexico.
This "Sirena"  (mermaid) is priceless!

By Villafranca del Panades, 1874, this modernista sculpture of the ladies head is magnificent! 

The last part of the exhibition housed a room with works by Picasso, Miro and other contemporary artists.  This exhibition showcases the use of blue!  This vessel by Picasso, 1973, was inspired by Etruscan ceramics.  I have seen this form in some ceramics in countryside around San Miguel de Allende, Mexico where I have a home  and down south of Oaxaca on market day. 
The Palau Reial is one of my favorite museums to visit and I look forward to going back.  Not only is the collection really interesting, the setting and the palace is remarkable!

Palau Reial de Pedrables
Avinguada Diagonal 686
Barcelona, Spain
(open Tuesday - Sunday)

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