Picasso Museum – Barcelona

by Andrada Costoiu

Walking the streets of Barcelona with my mom and my kids, I wanted to visit Picasso Museum. The museum is hard to find, I don’t know how to explain it, but it’s on a little street, almost in hiding : – ). 

The street where you will find it is called  Moncada Street and it has many beautiful buildings. This was the main street of medieval Barcelona which was home to the city’s nobles. On this street there are few medieval palaces, such as the Palau Aguilar, Palau Meca and Palau Baró de Castellet, which houses the Museu Picasso of Barcelona, Renaissance palaces, including the Palau de Cervelló and the amazing baroque Palau Dalmases ( here they have flamenco shows where you can enjoy the best flamenco artists in the country).

To get in the museum you have to buy tickets. But, you can also visit for free if you go in first Monday of the month. 

This is a picture I took at the entrance

I liked the museum very much. The main reason why I liked it is because it showed me more of Picasso other than his cubist works that are so famous. I have heard that this is museum has one of the most complete permanent collections of Picasso’s works. To be more specific, there are 4,251 items.

It felt as the museum was an unwritten biography of the painter. Each time of his life had a different style, a different vibe, a different feel. I could tell when he was romantic, when he was mad at women….

 Here are few pictures I took ….

First communion,1896. This is one of his early works. I think he was only 14 when he painted this. His sister Lola appears in this painting. 

This one is a self portrait (1896). He was just a child when he painted this! Isn’t it very different than the other Picasso paintings that we are used to?  

I find his early work incredibly beautiful, and I think it reveals a different side of Picasso.

Then came his blue period, then the rose period and then the African period. I’m not going to put pictures for these time periods as this post would become too long.

Then came cubism: Picasso and Georges Braque pioneered this new way of representing reality. The idea behind it was to bring different views of subjects together in the same picture( objects or figures), resulting in paintings that appear fragmented and abstracted.

Flowers in a Grey Jug and Wine-Glass with Spoon, 1908

After the war, some of his work has been influenced by the painter Henri Matisse, who had been both a friend and a rival for Picasso for more than half a century.  

My workshop Pigeons (III) 1957

This one is one of his later works,  the Dwarf Dancer 1966. I love the colors and the expression on her face; she looks mischievous. 

This is a charming museum includes also some of Picasso’s lesser known works of ceramics and sculpture. 

I have always had mixed feelings about Picasso. I have a deep sense of reverence for his work but at the same time I don’t like the way he has treated his women.  I don’t know how much of the stories about him are true, I guess to really know you have had to live with him.

He said to Françoise Gilot, one of this mistresses that “women are machines for suffering,” and also that “for me there are only two kinds of women: goddesses and doormats.”

When they meet she was 21 and he was 61. She was his lover from1943 to 1953 and they had 2 children together. She left him and after 11 years from their separation, she wrote a memoir about her life with the painter. The name of the book is “Life with Picasso”. I read it;  it is good. In the book she said that Picasso physically abused her and when she left, the infuriated genius told her that she is going to be a nobody and that she was “headed straight for the desert”. Hm, she then became a great artist, so bravo Françoise!

Françoise is just one example. Besides her, others have expressed dismal at the way he was treating his lovers. Marina, his grand daughter, saw Picasso’s treatment of women as a vital part of his creative process. She said:

“He submitted them to his animal sexuality, tamed them, bewitched them, ingested them, and crushed them onto his canvas. After he had spent many nights extracting their essence, once they were bled dry, he would dispose of them.”

–Marina Picasso

I came across many misogynistic characterizations of Picasso and across fewer that present Picasso’s treatment of women in a relatively positive light. Such is his friendship with Gertrude Stein, the American novelist and poet. Hm, Mr. Picasso, I do love your work but you must have been …..a complicated man!

I am painting myself; I’m an amateur. I am closer to the impressionists and never really got into the style of cubism. After Barcelona I painted a flamenco dancer…I copied from a picture. I also bought myself a fan….

This is my flamenco dancer.

The journey through the different times of Picasso’s creation was amazing. He was truly a genius. While writing this, I’m thinking that if I would ever find myself in Barcelona, I would like to go visit the museum again.

He was such a genius and I truly enjoyed being immersed in his work.


© Andrada Costoiu and a-passion4life.com, 2019 . Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Andrada Costoiu and a-passion4life.com, 2019 with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Park Guell

by Andrada Costoiu

Another Antonio Gaudi masterpiece, Park Guell is a nice place to visit if the weather is beautiful. The park was created in 1900, when Count Eusebi Güell bought a hillside and hired Gaudí to create a miniature city of houses for the wealthy. The project was abandoned, though not before Gaudi created a plaza and few other constructions in his inimitable manner. The park was inaugurated in 1926 as a public park.

To get in the central area you will need to get tickets, the rest of the park is free. The access to the central area is limited to a certain number of people every half-hour.

Just at the entrance is a former porter house, you know, the gatekeeper, the one that was supposed to screen the guests and visitors that would enter the property. The house hosts a display on Gaudí’s building methods and documents about the history of the park. It is a beautiful building, especially on the outside.  It has fantastically shaped roofs with unusual pinnacles, to me it looked like a fairytale building, built out of gingerbread….with white frosting : -).

The porter house

The inside is interesting, this is a picture I took for a set a stairs that was leading to the upper level, notice the beautiful blue color of the walls….

After the porter house there is a set of steps that are guarded by a mosaic dragon/lizard (a copy of which you can buy in the souvenir shops, there are many around this area and also downtown).

These lead to a hall and then to the main terrace, which are the focal point of the park. The hall is called the Sala Hipóstila (aka the Doric Temple) and it is breathtaking. The structure is  supported by a forest of 86 stone columns. The ceiling is decorated with beautiful mosaic. I liked it, but when I went it was under restoration and I am not sure if you should pay the money to visit it….

This is the ceiling part of the hall, with the mosaic decorations

The terrace has beautiful views of Barcelona. The views extend all the way to sea. Here you will find the Banc de Trencadís, a tiled bench curving sinuously around the perimeter of the terrace.  The bench structure was designed by one of Gaudí’s closest colleagues, architect Josep Maria Jujol (1879–1949).

The bench is decorated using broken shards of tiles and pottery to make a colorful mosaic. This decorating technique is called “trencadís”, meaning ‘chopped’ in Catalan.  Park Guell is where Gaudí pioneered this technique.

There are other interesting places to see here, such as the colonnaded footpath under the roadway viaduct. I thought this place was enchanting, the columns look so unusual……they are unusual ! 

It looks like these columns are inspired  by the shape of the trees and it does make sense, because Gaudi  was inspired and liked to imitate the natural world. He did the same in his design of the Sagrada Familia.

There is also a house called la Torre Rosa that was built as a model home in 1904. This was not built by Gaudi, but by a friend of his, Francesc Berenguer.  Gaudí lived here with his father and niece from 1906 until 1925. His father died in 1906 and his niece died in 1912
At the very end of his life Gaudí moved into his studio at the Sagrada Familia which he designed and was building on until his death in 1926. Today this house is the Gaudí house-museum where you can see Gaudi’s bedroom and pieces of furniture designed by Gaudí (including items that were once in La Pedrera, Casa Batlló and Casa Calvet- these are other buildings designed by Gaudi).

There is also the Larrard House, which is now a public school. I wondered how it looks inside, but you cannot enter, obviously, since it is school’s property.

The park is just really nice to walk through, it’s peaceful and it’s a nice break from the hustle and bustle of the city below.

If you are in town, it’s worth visiting.


© Andrada Costoiu and a-passion4life.com, 2019 . Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Andrada Costoiu and a-passion4life.com, 2019 with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.