Josep Llimona i Bruguera

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", a work that 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.

Ramón Berenguer

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.

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 and four years later he made what would be considered one of his masterpieces: the statue of Saint George.

Sant Jordi

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 craftsmen 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

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.

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.

Casa Batllo Tribuna

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.

Dragon Pabellones Güel

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 and 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, which 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?

La Casa de les Punxes, a singular building

The Casa Terradas or Casa de les Punxes is the great project of Puig y 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.

Eixample Barcelona

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.

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.

Casa de les Punxes

The decoration and composition of the house is different in the different façades because of the singularity of its form. The two main façades, which are narrower, have a large tribune that indicates the different levels and floors of the house by means of white stone squares with plant motifs, which extend and repeat to the windows. 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, 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: the Casa de les Punxes.

Torres Casa de les Punxes

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.

 

Funny plans to celebrate Father's Day at home

March 19th is a very special day: Father’s Day. It is a day to spend with your family and enjoy it with your loved ones. Unfortunately, due to the current situation, many families have had to cancel their plans for the celebration of this day, but that is not a reason to stop celebrating it. From Casa de les Punxes we want to offer you original ideas and crafts so that you can enjoy this great day with the little ones at home.

Once upon a time in the center of Barcelona, on Avinguda Diagonal, there was a house so big that it looked like a castle: the Casa de les Punxes. This house was built more than 100 years ago for a very important Catalan family, the Terradas Brutau family. In fact, its original name is not Casa de les Punxes, but Casa Terradas, but everybody knows it by this name because of the shape it has.

We need craftsmen!

A long time ago, Bartomeu asked his architect friend Josep Puig i Cadafalch to build the Casa de les Punxes for his 3 sisters: Rosa, Josepa and Angela, but Puig and Cadafalch could not build it alone! That’s why the best craftsmen helped him. Together they designed a unique house for Bartomeu’s sisters. 

Did you see what a beautiful decoration they made?

Now we need again the help of the best craftsmen to make new decorations for the house. Can you help us to paint it?

Download the templates to color the Casa de les Punxes

Template 1

Template 2

Does anyone know how to build houses?

Puig y Cadafalch was very fond of the medieval era, he was a historian and archaeologist, as well as an architect. During his travels he had seen the most important and impressive castles and churches around the world.

When he was told that he had to build a house for the three sisters, he wanted to make it as striking and large as possible… With lots of windows! And an entrance for each sister! And balconies!

Didn’t it look nice?

How would you have done it? Would you have put other colors on the house? Even more windows? Now you can build your own Casa de les Punxes and show it to us!

Download the templates to build your Casa de les Punxes

Template 1

Template 2

We’re looking for a storyteller!

One of the craftsmen who made the Casa de les Punxes was very fond of the legend of Saint George and the dragon. This craftsman was Enric Monserdà, and he decided to make a ceiling of Saint George fighting the dragon in Josepa’s house. Have you ever seen it? It’s very beautiful!

As you know, in the legend of St. George, the knight of St. George saves a princess from the evil dragon. This legend is very old, it’s from medieval times… Do you think it could be different today? Maybe the dragon wouldn’t be so bad, or the knight so brave… what if the princess saved herself or became friends with the dragon? So many things could change… we want you to tell us what you would like most!

Will you share with us the results of your crafts? We’d love to see them! Please send your creations to info@lespunxes.com.


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The history of Bartomeu Terradas and Futbol Club Barcelona

Bartomeu Terradas is known for being the first treasurer of Futbol Club Barcelona and its second president, but his relationship with the club goes beyond these two facts. Did you know that?

Bartomeu Terradas y Brutau was born in 1874, 25 years before Futbol Club Barcelona, popularly known as Barça, was founded. Son of Bartomeu Terradas Mont and Àngela Brutau Manent, he was born into a bourgeois family along with three sisters: Àngela, Rosa and Josepa, who would later live in the Casa de les Punxes.

In his youth, Bartomeu was sent to study abroad, specifically in Switzerland and France. In the latter he began to play football.

Bartomeu Terradas was one of the twelve founders of the Futbol Club Barcelona, among whom stand out figures as well-known as Joan Gamper or Walter Wild. The young Terradas played the first match of Barça and was its first treasurer. After a while he became the second president of the club, the first Catalan, relegating Wild to the presidency in 1901. Not only did he help the club with these positions, but he was also one of the first patrons of FC Barcelona. When the club had to leave the first football field where they played, Terradas contributed 14,000 “pesetas” to rent the land where the second one would be located.

During the years of Terradas’ presidency, Barça won its first title: the Macaya Cup in 1902. A year before, his father died, and he had to take over the family business. That year he also married Pilar Soler Julià, with whom he had ten children.

Bartomeu played a total of 31 matches and stopped playing in 1903. He started to move away from Barça in 1905, since the professionalization of the club and the players, led Terradas to feel that he was losing the initial concept of the club. Between these years he asked Puig and Cadafalch to build a house for his sisters, which would end up being the incredible Casa de les Punxes.


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Ramón Casas, the portrait of Art Nouveau

Ramón Casas is one of the most famous Art Nouveau painters, especially for his famous portraits of the great personalities of the time. Among those who have passed in front of his brushes are Pablo Picasso, Puig i Cadafalch and Santiago Rusiñol.

Ramón Casas i Carbó was born in Barcelona on 4 January 1866. He is known as one of the great artists of Catalan Art Nouveau for his varied creations. His work ranges from formal paintings such as portraits to posters, postcards and even caricatures. Through his work we can learn more about life in the early 20th century and its great artists.

Ramón Casas left school at the age of 12 to begin his artistic studies in the studio of Juan Vicens Cots. He spent three years learning the painting techniques there until he moved to Paris, where he learned from the painter Charles August Émile Duran, “Carolus”, a great admirer of Velázquez and later Henri Gervex. During his stay in Paris he co-founded the magazine L’Avenç and published his first drawing there.

During his first artistic take-off he met great artists of the time such as Santiago Rusiñol, Eugène Carrière and Ignacio Zuloaga. He managed to recover from his first tuberculosis in Barcelona and after that, Rusiñol and Casas began to work together on Por Cataluña (From My Cart), a work that reflects his experiences travelling around corners of Catalonia in a horse-drawn cart, with texts by Rusiñol and illustrations by Casas. The collaborations between the two artists became increasingly frequent and successful, and they even lived together in Paris with other curious figures of modernism such as Miguel Utrillo.

On his return to Barcelona, Casas financed the Quatre Gats, a famous bar located on the ground floor of the Casa Martí de Puig i Cadafalch that hosted various exhibitions and art gatherings. Pere Romeu, Rusiñol, Miquel Utrillo and Casas also created a literary magazine of the same name.  From 1900 onwards his fame increased dramatically, and he had his first individual exhibitions, culminating in the great exhibition and tribute to their work organised by the Reial Cercle Artístic in 1930. On his return to Barcelona he also met Julia Peraire, a young lottery saleswoman whom he ended up marrying in 1922 despite the opposition of the painter’s family.

A few years later, Casas fell ill with tuberculosis again, although he continued to create and exhibit his work. He died on 29 February 1932 from tuberculosis and was buried in the Montjuic Cemetery in Barcelona.


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3 Valentine's Day Plans in Barcelona

Whether you are a tourist or a local, celebrating Valentine’s Day in Barcelona is a great idea. If you don’t know it, there is no better day to discover Barcelona with whoever you want and if you think you have already seen it all… we encourage you to rediscover what this wonderful city can still offer you on such a special day.

  1. Tour Barcelona: by land, sea or air

If you don’t know the city, you can always take a good map or tourist guide and start discovering its magical corners. A walk through the picturesque Gothic or Raval neighbourhoods will take you back to the Middle Ages, while a stroll along Avinguda Diagonal or Passeig de Gràcia will take you back to the beginning of the 20th century with its great Art Nouveau buildings such as Casa Batlló, La Pedrera or Casa de les Punxes.

On the other hand, if you already know the charms that the city offers at street level you can always bet on seeing it from another point of view. Rediscovering Barcelona on one of its tourist boats doesn’t seem like a bad idea for the locals. Have you ever experienced Barcelona from the sea?

Another idea that comes to mind is the air. Have you thought about how romantic the views are? Imagine those of a cable car! Or if you want to see it from the heights without taking your feet off the ground you can also go to a place with good views like the well-known Bunkers del Carmel, although it is a very busy place these days. If you want some more privacy and an exclusive experience what we really recommend is to go to Casa de les Punxes and enjoy its Mirador Visit, with exclusive access to the viewpoint of the emblematic building from which you can enjoy the most romantic views of Barcelona. The space has been opened just for Valentine’s Day! Coincidence?

  1. Taste the day

Another great option and compatible with the previous plan is to go out and eat in Barcelona. How? By discovering its best restaurants. Barcelona is full of restaurants of different types that serve food from all corners of the world. Are you more into Japanese, Mexican, Italian or Spanish food? Whichever one you are, you will find a thousand options with a great assortment of romanticism in each one of them.

If you are looking for a Valentine’s Day in the Catalan way… we recommend enjoying a good vermouth and some tapas for lunch or a romantic dinner in a charming restaurant. Both options can be found at the Matalaranya Vermouth and Restaurant, at the foot of Casa de les Punxes, with a wide range of gourmet dishes that will not leave you indifferent. Some of the stars on the menu are the mushroom rice, the bravas with spicy chipotle sauce, the cuttlefish meatballs, the steak tartar of beef sirloin echo… our mouths are watering!

  1. Discover new cultural experiences

Another great Valentine’s Day plan may be one that involves the culture of Barcelona. This city has a lot of museums and cultural activities to enjoy, so many that we don’t think you can finish them all – new ones are always coming up! This is what happens in a city with so much history… You never finish getting to know it completely.

If you don’t know the basics of Barcelona, making a stop at the most famous museums and buildings may seem like a must. To enjoy a special evening, we recommend that you go to those places that are less touristy or that offer something special for that day, as the others will continue to open their doors on another day (perhaps a little less saturated). If, on the other hand, you already know Barcelona, the suggestion is the same: enjoy the exclusivity that culture has to offer on such a special day.

An attractive and romantic proposal is the one we mentioned before: the Mirador Visit of Casa de les Punxes. With this ticket you can discover the magic of Catalan Art Nouveau and have access to a space normally closed to the public (the highest viewpoint of the building) from which you can see Barcelona from a completely new point of view. 

Do you already know what you are going to do on Valentine’s Day? See you soon at Casa de les Punxes!


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5 modernist buildings on Avinguda Diagonal

Barcelona’s Passeig de Gràcia is known for being the location of great modernist buildings such as Antoni Gaudí’s Casa Batlló and La Pedrera or Puig i Cadafalch’s Casa Amatller, but there is another street full of modernist gems in Barcelona: the great Avinguda Diagonal. There you can enjoy great views if you take a walk, here are some of the buildings that can be found:

  1. Casa Sayrach

Casa Sayrach has been located on the corner of Avinguda Diagonal and Enric Granados Street since 1918. In the curved lines of this building you can see the influences Gaudi had on the young Manuel Sayrach. The beauty of the roof and its iconic tower is remarkable.

  1. Casa Comalat

The Casa Comalat was designed in 1906 by Salvador Valeri i Pupurull but was not built until 1911. From the Diagonal we can see how its decorated stone façade stands out with twelve balconies decorated with sculptures. Its doors are reminiscent of those of Casa Batlló, aren’t they?

  1. Palau de Baró de Quadras

Right across the street, we find the Palau de Baró de Quadras, designed by the great modernist architect Josep Puig i Cadafalch between 1904 and 1906. This unique building now houses a high school. Its grandstand still attracts the glances of the most curious passers-by. It is less than 5 minutes’ walk from La Pedrera.

  1. Casa de les Punxes

Casa de les Punxes is perhaps the most striking building in this part of the Diagonal. Built also during the first years of the 20th century, the singular building composed of three different houses stands as a monumental castle in the middle of the gridded Eixample. The best thing about it is that it can be visited and inside it houses a museum about the history of the house itself, the architect and the figure of Saint George, which is very important for Catalan modernism and for the house. The house can be visited in different ways, so that families, couples, friends or visitors who come on their own can visit and enjoy it. In addition, from time to time it has interesting promotions that can be consulted on its website and that offer exclusive experiences of the house.

  1. Palau Macaya

The latter is not found as such on Avinguda Diagonal but is visible from it. The Palau Macaya is another work by the illustrious Puig i Cadafalch. It stands out from afar because of the white graffito on the façade, which makes it bright and elegant. From up close, its decorative details in both stone and wrought iron are enchanting.

Do you know any other buildings on Avinguda Diagonal that you think are missing from this list?


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Domènech i Montaner, the father of Catalan Art Nouveau

Domènech i Montaner was not only a well-known Art Nouveau architect of his time, but also the man in charge of training other great later generations of architects, including Gaudí and Puig i Cadafalch. We could consider that December is a month of great importance for this great protagonist of Catalan Art Nouveau, since both the anniversary of his birth and his death occur in this month. Do you know his figure?

Lluís Domènech i Montaner was born on 21 December 1850 in Barcelona and died on the 27th of the same month and in the same city in 1923. He is known for being one of the most recognized and valued artists of Catalan Art Nouveau. Several of his works currently have the status of World Heritage by UNESCO. He is the author of the Recinte Modernista de Sant Pau, the Casa Lleó Morera and the Palau de la Música Catalana, among other buildings.

After training in architecture and physical-mathematical sciences in his youth, he became a professor at the School of Architecture of Barcelona, of which he became director after several years of teaching, in 1900. It is in this school that he had the opportunity to train disciples as later famous as Gaudí, Puig i Cadafalch or Josep Mª Jujol.

Domènech i Montaner not only had an architectural facet, but also collaborated with various publishing projects. He was a regular contributor to the family business, the Montaner i Simón publishing house through which he created the Historia General del Arte, which was later continued by Josep Puig i Cadafalch. He also founded the magazine El Poble Català and collaborated with the main Catalan publications of the time, such as La Veu de Catalunya and La Renaixença.

Finally, like Puig i Cadafalch, Domènech i Montaner was a very active figure in the politics of his time. The well-known modernist artist was the founder of the Lliga Regionalista (1870) and the Unió Catalanista (1891). He later became a member of the Spanish Parliament in 1901.

Domènech i Montaner had eight children with his wife María Roure i Carnestoltes and died far from his active political life and architectural projects, focused on his historical studies of Catalonia. His works are currently among the most valued in Catalan modernism.


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Art Nouveau Christmas in the centre of Barcelona

It’s Christmas and the Art Nouveau buildings in the centre of Barcelona have a lot to offer its visitors. We present the particularities of Gaudí and Puig i Cadafalch’s constructions for this Christmas:

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 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.

Casa de les Punxes’ 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.

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, 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.

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


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