Santiago Rusiñol and the Catalan modernist movement

Many art enthusiasts think of Pablo Picasso as being a main driving force behind the Catalan modernist movement, but Picasso was actually influenced by another great Catalan artist, Santiago Rusiñol, who was instrumental in transforming Catalonia into an artist’s paradise.

Born in Barcelona in 1861, Rusiñol was one of Catalonia’s most important and influential artists. Many of his works depict beautiful and famous locations in Barcelona and other parts of Spain, including the paintings ‘Girona’, ‘Montserrat’, and ‘Sitges Interior’, as well as the drawing ‘View of Barcelona Port’.

The Cau Ferrat Museum

To learn more about Rusiñol during your next holiday in Spain, pay a visit to the Cau Ferrat Museum in Sitges. Located on the site of Cau Ferrat, which was the artist’s former home and studio, today the museum is a massive assortment of Rusiñol’s personal art collection. Some of the art is Rusiñol’s, while other pieces have been collected from other well-known Catalan artists, such as Picasso and Pichot.

Cau Ferrat Museum

The museum offers you an opportunity to explore the office, bedroom, great hall, dining room, fountain room (yes, fountain room!), and entrance hall, all of which are filled with an array of beautiful, eye-catching, and mesmerising decorative ironworks, glassworks, furniture, sculptures, and ceramics.

Where to Stay

Cau Ferrat is located in the heart of Sitges, so any villa on the Costa Dorada would be ideal for offering quick and easy access to the museum. However, Sitges is located just 40 minutes by road from Barcelona, so you could also rent a property closer to Barcelona and enjoy Cau Ferrat as part of a day trip.


Salvador Dalí’s Figueres

Renowned artist Salvador Dalí was born in the town of Figueres in Catalonia, Spain. Despite stints in Madrid, Paris, and the United States, he always considered Figueres to be his home, and it’s here where he died in 1989. If you’re on holiday in Spain, it’s still possible to see some of Dalí’s local haunts, and it’s even possible to visit his final resting place at the Dalí Theatre and Museum. Here’s a guide to Dalí’s Figueres.

Birth

Salvador Dalí was born on 11th May 1904, and his childhood home still stands on Monturiol Street. You’ll know you’re at the right place because there is a small plaque on the property, which reads ‘en aquesta casa va neixer salvador dali dia 11 de maig de l’any 1904’, translated from Catalan as ‘in this house Salvador Dalí was born on May 11, 1904’. While Figueres is a quiet town, for Dalí fans this is perhaps even more exciting than any location in Barcelona.

Early Life

Dalí was baptised at the Church of Sant Pere de Figueres (St Peter’s Church, pictured above), which is the main church in town. While it may look impressive from the outside with its large bell tower, it is even more amazing inside, and it’s well worth popping your head in for a look. If you want to rent a house in Spain that’s close to Dalí-related sights and attractions, then this area, which is right in the heart of the town, is ideal because St Peter’s Church is very close to another important place: the Dalí Theatre & Museum (pictured below).

Museum

Whether you’re a fan of Dalí or not, if you’re staying in a Spain holiday rental in or near Figueres then it’s definitely worth taking the time to visit the Dalí Theatre & Museum. The museum houses the world’s biggest collection of Dalí works, including sculptures, collages, and even mechanical devices! There are also some works by other Catalan artists, too, highlighting the importance of visual arts in Catalonia. Dalí himself is buried in a crypt beneath the centre of the museum, which is open for public visits. 


Park Güell to Sagrada Família: The scenic route

Antoni Gaudí’s Park Güell and Sagrada Família are two of the top attractions that cannot be missed on a holiday in Barcelona. Separated by just 1.5 miles (2.5 kilometres), many visitors choose to walk between the two sights, and the fastest and most direct option is along Carrer de Sardenya, taking the curved Ctra. del Carmel at the Park Güell end, where you can exit the park near the Mirador Virolai observation deck.

However, while this may be the fastest route, it’s not the most scenic. For those who really want to make the most of their Barcelona vacation, take a slightly longer route that takes you past some of the city’s most fascinating sites and interesting spots. The scenic route takes you through the beautiful Gràcia neighbourhood for a glimpse into local life.

Here’s your guide to walking the scenic route between Park Güell to Sagrada Família:

Instead of leaving Park Güell via Ctra. del Carmel, take the other exit, which brings you out onto Carrer d’Olot, and then onto Carrer de Larrard. Heading south, your first stop should be the Gaudí interactive museum, where you can learn more about the architect’s life and works.

Keep walking until you hit Travessera de Dalt, and cross over almost directly to get onto Carrer del Torrent de les Flors. This will bring you into the heart of Vila de Gràcia, home to a large number of Barcelona villas.

If you’re feeling peckish, there are some tapas places in the area. If not, turn to stroll through the pretty Plaça de Rovira i Trias park and gardens. Turn south at the end of the park, and then head along Carrer de les Tres Senyores, past the Hideout Bar which is a good place to stop for a break and a cerveza.

By turning south at the dance school, you’ll find yourself staring at the stunning Parish Church of St. Joan and the grand Virreina Palace. This baroque-style building was built in the 18th century for Manuel d’Amat i de Junyent, a celebrated Spanish military officer.

Turn at Carrer de l’Or, and then onto Carrer del Torrent d’En Vidalet. Stop for a drink at the Elephanta bar — it may seem basic, but they have more than 40 gins on offer, and more than 40 teas, too! Turn onto Carrer del Terol for shopping and a peek at the old evangelical church.

Enjoy a stroll through Plaça de la Revolució square, and then join Plaça Vila de Gràcia park by walking along Carrer de Ramón y Cajal and Carrer de Mariana Pineda. By walking through the busy shopping district here, you’ll find peace and relaxation at the Salvador Espriu Gardens.

Once you’re at the end of the gardens, you’re on the home stretch! It’s a straight route along Avinguda Diagonal and Carrer de Provença to the Plaça de la Sagrada Família. The walk should take roughly an hour; you can put your feet up at your Barcelona villa at the end of the day! 

 


A guide to Picasso’s Barcelona

There are many reasons why travellers choose to take a holiday in Spain; everything from the fine weather to the glorious coastal resorts of Catalonia. However, Spain, and Barcelona in particular, is also known as being a top vacation destination for art lovers, who flock here to get a feel for Picasso’s Barcelona.

Although Pablo Picasso was born in Malaga in the south of Spain and spent much of his life in France, it is widely reported that he considered Barcelona to be his true home. The Picasso family decided to buy a house in Barcelona at a time when the city was ready and willing to start embracing some of the more radical movements, and Cubist Picasso easily found his place here, essentially launching his career in the city.

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Picasso’s art

Picasso underwent his famous ‘blue period’ in Barcelona, and many of his blue-tinted artworks are inspired by his life in the city. One of his most well-known depictions of Barcelona is, of course, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (currently on display at New York City’s Museum of Modern Art), which shows the more sinful side of historic city life. The street depicted in the artwork, Carrer D’Avinyo, is still around, and you can easily visit it from your Barcelona villa in the beautiful, cobbled Barri Gotic neighbourhood.

Castle-like interior of one of our villas
Castle-like interior of one of our villas

Picasso Museum & other areas of interest

Opened in 1963, the Picasso Museum has a great, central location in Barcelona, and displays 4,251 pieces of Picasso artwork. However, there are many more Picasso-related sights and attractions in the city. The Barcelona Ceramics Museum houses a few pieces, while the National Museum of Catalan Art houses Woman in Hat and Fur Collar, which is one of many paintings Picasso did of his mistress, Marie-Thérèse Walter. Finally, it’s well worth stopping for lunch at the 4 Cats Tavern, which is where Picasso held his very first exhibition. Today, it’s a popular gastrobar serving up mouthwatering Spanish cuisine.

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