Josep Llimona y Bruguera, the sculptor of Modernism

Josep Llimona i Bruguera is one of the best known sculptors of Catalan Modernism and a well-known collaborator of Gaudí.

Born on 8 April 1863 into a wealthy family, Josep Llimona is considered one of the leading representatives of Modernist sculpture. His brother, Joan Llimona, was the leading representative of the mystical side of Catalan Modernist painting. The sons of the two brothers were also artists, continuing the lineage begun with the successful Llimona brothers.

Josep Llimona studied at the Llotja school and in the workshop of the German sculptors Venanci and Agapit Vallmitjana. In 1880, when he was only 16 years old, he obtained with "The Prodigal Son" the Fortuny Pension from the Barcelona City Council. Thanks to it, he moved with his brother Joan to Rome, where he continued to study and work in the workshop of the painter Enric Serra and in the Giggi Academy. There she made the first draft of the well-known statue "Ramon Berenguer el Grande". That work meant for Llimona the possibility of renewing the pension for one more year in order to finish it and, later, to win the Gold Medal at the 1888 Barcelona Exhibition. The commissions were constant for the incipient artist on his return to Barcelona.

In 1893, they founded, together with their brother and other artists, the Círculo Artístico de San Lucas. This association watched over the preservation of art in the face of the excesses of the artists of the time. During this period, Josep Llimona was highly influenced by the religious life so active that he adopted his brother and made sculptures with religious themes.

Outstanding works

Among his prolific work, one of his most outstanding is "Desconsuelo", which won the prize of honour at the International Exhibition of Fine Arts in Barcelona in 1907. Two years later, Josep Llimona was appointed town councillor and member of the Board of Museums, of which he later became president on two occasions.

Five years later he collaborated with Gaudí in the First Mystery of Glòria at Montserrat with the sculpture "Cristo resucitado". In 1920 they dedicated an entire room of the Barcelona Fine Arts Exhibition to his work as a tribute. Four years later he made what would be considered one of his masterpieces: the statue of Saint George.

Josep Llimona died on February 27, 1934, and was the second president of the Museums Board.

5 Catalan Modernist smiths you should know

It happens very often that many people know the great Catalan Modernist architects, but not the brilliant Catalan Modernist smiths  who collaborated on their buildings. Antoni Gaudí, Josep Puig i Cadafalch, Domènech i Montaner... Everyone knows their names, but do we know who Manuel Ballarín, the Badia brothers, or Joan Oñós were? Do we know which buildings they collaborated on? Now you can discover great modernist forgers thanks to this selection.

Germans Badia Miarnau

Halfway between the Casa de les Punxes and the Sagrada Familia, at number 270 Carrer de Nàpols, Luis and José Badia y Mirarnau had their workshop, built by Gaudí. Regular collaborators of Antoni Gaudí and Josep Maria Jujol, one of their most famous works is the grille and balconies of La Pedrera, the Bellesguard door and the ironwork on the façade of Casa Batlló. Also the irons of the façade of the Palau Güell and its well-known heraldic shield, which they made still under the orders of their master: Joan Oñós.

Joan Oñós

A master forger, he taught the Badia brothers the art of modernist forging until his retirement. Also with a workshop near the Sagrada Familia, in Carrer Aragó between Passeig de Sant Joan and Carrer de Roger de Flor, Joan Oñós collaborated with Gaudí in several projects. His works include the grille that surrounds and protects the family tree of Jesus Christ at La Sagrada Família, the grille of Casa Vicens, the doorknobs of Casa Calvet and the gas light fittings of the Palau Güell.

Salvador Gabarró

Also a collaborator of Gaudí, he carried out every work we know under the guidelines and orders of Joan Oñós, we know almost nothing more about his figure, but we do know that he collaborated with Gaudí at the Palau Güell.

Vallet i Piquer

Mr Vallet y Piquer was a forger who also collaborated with Gaudí. Although we don't know many details of his works and life. We do know that he was in charge of manufacturing the well-known fence of the Güell Pavilions, with the incredible dragon's wrought iron door.

Manuel Ballarín i Lancuentra

Finally, we meet Manuel Ballarín, Puig and Cadafalch's most faithful collaborator. His workshop, Casa Ballarín, was located in Carrer del Peu de la Creu and was one of the largest and most important in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He had more than 20 workers in his workshop. Ballarín collaborated in ten of Puig and Cadafalch's works, including Casa Macaya, Casa Amatller and the incredible Casa de les Punxes. He also collaborated in the famous Seats-Streetlights of Paseo de Gracia, from which he made the street lights, with the classic "coup de fouet".

In 1900, Manuel Ballarín modernized and popularized the technique of forging by means of mechanized serial production and his own designs. This enabled him to drastically reduce the price of decorative pieces. The result of this revolution can be seen in the impressive decoration of Casa de les Punxes.

Forja Casa de les Punxes

So much for our selection of modernist forgers - do you know of anymore that we haven't mentioned?

Casa de les Punxes

La Casa de les Punxes, a singular building

Location

The Casa Terradas or Casa de les Punxes is the great project of Puig i Cadafalch. In this building, the architect experimented with its monumental dimensions and was able to construct a building isolated from the others. There are very few occasions when this was possible in the Eixample of Barcelona, due to the characteristics of the neighbourhood. Moreover, the Casa de les Punxes occupies a triangular block of isolated buildings, being the only modernist building with this peculiar location. This, however, is not the only singularity that the house has in the architectural field.

The Casa de les Punxes was built because the three sisters of the Brutau Terrades family lived there: Rosa, Angela and Josepa. Instead of designing three isolated buildings, Puig i Cadafalch decided to build a single unitary block of monumental dimensions that would stand out on the Avinguda Diagonal. The site of Casa de les Punxes is very irregular and hexagonal, which made the design of the house a unique architectural challenge between Avinguda Diagonal and the streets of Bruc and Rosselló.

Facades

The block of Casa de les Punxes has a stone base that covers the entire height up to the ground floor, from which we find exposed brick, combined with the copper tone of the light Calafell stone present in some building elements of the house. This combination gave the Casa de les Punxes its well-known reddish colour, which made it stand out from its surroundings at the time of its construction and still today.

Decoration

The decoration and composition of the house is different in the different façades because of the singularity of its form. The two main façades are narrower. They have a large tribune that indicates the different levels and floors of the house by means of white stone squares with plant motifs. Each of these façades is crowned by different triangles, finished in points. The central triangle of these has a decorative ceramic panel at the top. Those which refers to different symbols linked to the history of the house, its style and its inhabitants. Also, on top of the incredible building we find the characteristic six towers finished in points that give the house its well-known nickname.

These are just some peculiarities of the house in the architectural field. The Casa de les Punxes still has many more curiosities to offer its visitors, and we will be able to discover them in the next articles of the blog and inside the Casa de les Punxes itself.

 

Art Nouveau Christmas in the centre of Barcelona

The Modernist buildings in the centre of Barcelona have a lot to offer its visitors. We present the particularities of the Modernist Christmas:

Casa Batlló

Casa Batlló, one of Gaudí’s best-known houses, has its traditional snow in the courtyard, during some days in December the snow does not stop falling inside the house… a surprise that leaves visitors frozen!

Casa de les Punxes

Casa de les Punxes does not lag in the special Christmas offer, but has attractive proposals. The first of these is the special Christmas promotion for friends and families, which includes for the familiar visits, in addition to the audio tour, the Kit Explora les Punxes for a very special price and dynamized activities for free. This kit is specially designed to energize the visit to the youngest, while they can learn about Casa de les Punxes while having a good time. They may also meet the “Tió” around the house! He likes visits.

This historic monument’ proposals do not end here, but it also opens its doors to Christmas events. The house allows to celebrate in its interior Christmas dinners with the family or company in its multiple and charismatic spaces.

Casa Amatller

At Casa Amatller they add to the Christmas atmosphere of the house, turning it into a giant Advent calendar. In addition to this detail of the façade, there is also a crib inside the house that will delight the most fans of the history of Amatller Chocolates.

La Pedrera

La Pedrera, another of Gaudí’s well-known jewels, hosts various musical events for all kinds of audiences during the Christmas season. Depending on the dates, concerts of a quite different nature can be found, so almost everyone will be able to find one to their liking.

Sagrada Familia

The Sagrada Familia, symbol and icon of Barcelona, could not fail to celebrate Christmas, one of the most important Catholic festivities. The imposing cathedral will house in its interior the traditional and well-known Mass of the Chicken and in its exterior, it will be able to be enjoyed during some punctual days of a spectacle of lights in the facade.

Casa Vicens

Casa Vicens, Gaudí’s first house, continues with its classic children’s workshops and proposes a special Christmas workshop linked to the pottery of the house. Little ones will be able to promote their inner child in this way.

You have seen  the particularities of the Modernist Christmas in Barcelona, now it’s on you to choose one!


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Eixample of Barcelona, history and curiosities of the district

Do you know when the construction of the Eixample began? Who designed it? In this post you will find the answer to these questions and some curiosities about this well-known district of Barcelona.

The Eixample has always been known for its square and modern design by Ildefons Cerdà. This urban planner managed to turn an open field into the popular urban grid we know today as Eixample. Cerdà’s uniform design sought to eliminate the differences between the areas inhabited by the wealthiest and the most disadvantaged. He could not achieve this, as the real estate market is governed by its own laws.

The start

We can consider that the Eixample of Barcelona began to be built in 1854, with the governmental authorization of the demolition of the walls of the city. These walls, which had surrounded Barcelona for many years, extended along the Avinguda del Paral·lel, the Passeig de Lluís Companys and along the Ronda de Sant Pau, de Sant Antoni, Universitat and San Pere. Its demolition was neither simple nor immediate, although there was a great deal of citizen collaboration.  The citizens of Barcelona had to wait almost ten years to see the walls demolished, although four years after the process had begun, the Eixample began to be developed.

Granvia de les Corts Catalanes, 1928.

The irruption of Catalan Modernism

Many of Cerdà’s forecasts were modified as the construction of the Eixample progressed, especially from 1880, when the modernist architects came into play and built the iconic and distinctive modernist houses.

Great architects soon erected their buildings in the new and promising district. Casa Batlló, La Pedrera and Casa de les Punxes are just some of those that can be visited today. The best known are those belonging to the illustrious architect of the Sagrada Familia: Antoni Gaudí. Even so, there are great jewels by other architects such as Lluís i Domènech or Puig i Cadafalch in the Eixample such as Casa Amatller Casa Lleó i Morera or Casa de les Punxes. The latter, the work of Puig i Cadafalch, stands monumental and majestically in the middle of Avinguda Diagonal, although most of these buildings are concentrated in Passeig de Gràcia, one of the main streets of the Eixample and the main residential centre of the high bourgeoisie at the end of the 19th century.

Source: Paris, Jordi (Cord.) Ruta del Modernisme de Barcelona. Barcelona: IMPUiQV, 2005. Printed.

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Have you ever wondered which houses are essential that you must see them in your visit to Barcelona? We bring you a selection of modernist houses in Barcelona that you must add to your essential checklist.

Casa Batlló

Located at number 43 Passeig de Gràcia, Casa Batlló does not leave the walker indifferent. Its lively colors and meticulous decoration invite you to visit it. This  is one of the Art Nouveau houses of the naturist period of Antoni Gaudí and one of his best-known works.

La Pedrera

Built between 1906 and 1912, La Pedrera is another of the icons of Passeig de Gràcia. It also belongs to the naturalistic period of the famous architect, as we can see from the decorative motifs on its façade. The marine motifs stand out in its colorful decoration.

Casa Vicens

Casa Vicens stands out for being the first house designed by Antoni Gaudí in Barcelona. This house was built between 1883 and 1885 and is considered one of the first works to inaugurate Art Nouveau houses in Catalonia.

Casa de les Punxes

Casa de les Punxes, revolutionary both artistically and technically, is the great work of Puig i Cadafalch. Located in the heart of Barcelona, between La Pedrera and La Sagrada Familia,  this Art Nouveau house is a key piece for understanding Catalan Art Nouveau. Its monumentality is unparalleled, it contains three houses in a single building with multiple floors.

Casa Felip

The least known and most sober of the five, Casa Felip by the architect Telmo Fernández Janot, was built between 1911 and 1913. Its style is considered modernist with “baroque” flavors. A small jewel as unknown as it is surprising.

Do you know other houses that you think are essential in a visit to Barcelona?


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Have you heard about all the concerts in Art Nouveau buildings in the end of summer in Barcelona? Whether you have enjoyed some of them or not… We bring you here a list with the most significant ones.

Magic Nights of Casa Batlló (daily)

To begin with, we have the prolific Casa Batlló Magic Nights. The entrance fee is 45€ on average and includes a glass of cava and a great variety of groups to choose from. These concerts take place in Gaudí’s iconic building from the 3rd of June to the 3rd of November, so you have time to think about which one goes with you the most.


La Pedrera Jazz (Fridays and Saturdays)

If you are a jazz lover, on Fridays and Saturdays from June to mid-September you can enjoy musical nights in this other iconic Gaudí house for 36€. This ticket also includes a drink and free access to the attic, a good option for a quiet Saturday night.


Les Nits del Palau Güell (Thursdays)

To finish Gaudí’s triad, we find the Nights of the Palau Güell. These live music concerts began on the 4th of July and were available until the 22nd of August. Their ticket included a 35€ drink, an aperitif, a visit and a concert. A perfect plan for a Thursday night.


Nits amb Ritme de Casa de les Punxes (Fridays and some Thursdays)

If you are looking for an equally elegant and cheaper option, we recommend the lesser known but no less amazing Casa de les Punxes. Every Friday, in the emblematic and enormous terrace of this building of the great Puig i Cadafalch the Nits amb Ritme are celebrated since June. With its entrance fee of 25€ (with a 25% discount for residents so far), you can discover the permanent exhibition of the house (free access), enjoy a drink and vibrate with its live concerts. Due to the success, the offer has been increased during September with sessions of live music on the 13th, 19th and 27th with a succulent discount for residents. We recommend that you discover them on 19/09 with their special concert by La Mercè this summer.


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If you want to go beyond the mainstream and the classic Gaudí routes, we bring you our proposal to go deeper into the work of Puig i Cadafalch in Barcelona.

Who does not know the Ruta del Modernisme in Barcelona? Thanks to it, we can discover the great jewels of Catalan Art Nouveau in Barcelona in an orderly and comfortable way. If you want to go beyond the mainstream and the classic Gaudí routes, we bring you our proposal to go deeper into the work of Puig i Cadafalch.

Breakfast

Our route proposal starts at Casa Macaya, in the heart of Avinguda Diagonal. This house is nowadays a cultural centre and has free access to some of its rooms. It can be visited comfortably in a walk. If you want to go further, Cases Singulars organizes visits (in Catalan) every Monday in July and August in the morning and afternoon in this space. Nearby is the Casa Terradas or Casa de les Punxes, one of rhe most impressive and well-known works of Puig i Cadafalch in Barcelona. It can be visited every day between 10 am and 7 pm (with the last access at 6 pm). Its museum has various types of visits for all tastes and interesting offers for the resident public. In addition, on the ground floor we can find the bar restaurant Matalaranya, a great option for breakfast.

After breakfast, a few steps away lies the Palace of the Baro of Quadras, currently an institute. This building can be visited through Cases Singulars on Wednesday mornings. Returning to Diagonal, we find Can Serra, current headquarters of the Diputació de Barcelona. A little further we can find the Casa Pere Company, now converted into a Museum and Centre for Sports Studies.

Lunch

Once the works of the Diagonal have been toured, when going down Passeig de Gràcia is when we come across the also very well-known Casa Amatller, which can be visited every day from 11 am to 6 pm. Once in Plaça Catalunya, we can discover the forgotten Casa Pich i Pon, which has hosted various companies and associations throughout its history. Descending from it through Avinguda de Portal de l’Àngel, we find Casa Martí and Casa Carreras: one in front of the other. These two houses have hosted (and one of them still hosts) the famous bar 4 Gats. If you want to eat at it, we recommend booking in advance.

Less than 5 minutes walking, in Via Laietana, we can glimpse the main facade of the little-known Casa Guarro.

To finish the route, we must go to Plaça Espanya and enjoy it, as it is also the work of Puig i Cadafalch. In one of its margins we can admire the old Casaramona Factory and the Palaces of Alfonoso XIII and Victoria Eugenia, both part of the Axis of the 1929 Universal Exhibition (as well as the square).

Extra: If you still want to discover Puig i Cadafalch, we recommend that you go and discover his most unknown works from the upper part of the city, such as Casa Sastre i Marquès, Rosa Alemany, Muley-Afid or Casa Muntades. None of these latter houses can be visited, but you can admire their façades.


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