Spain ’14: A Garden of Earthly Delights

muse and musicOur muse directs the singing of the surrounding figures representative of turn of the 20th century Catalonia.

Our word for music is derived from Latin (musica) originating from the Greek mousikê, meaning any of the arts/sciences directed by the Muses.* Barcelona, the home of so many earthly delights, Antoni Gaudí of first note, but none more delightful as the Palau de la Música Catalana (Palace of Catalonian Music).  Designed by Lluís Domènech i Montaner, it has survived 100 years, with some modification and edition, but the music hall intact. A great example of the modernisme design to roll out of the Art Noveau tradition.

box office

early composite 2

before tour

There is a certain beauty which distances this from Wagner or the work of Mackintosh. Domènech uses materials which are more common, red brick, white clay with majolica glazeware, cast plaster, sometimes simple tile or stencil, to create an original and interesting whole. The sculpture work well, as it grows out of the design. This is contrast to the traditions of Michelangelo, where the architecture serves as a stage set for the stars of the show, the sculpture. The diversity of tilework, both like Gaudí and some predating Art Deco, have their own way, with raw edges sometime dominating. If history is not your strong point, just go enjoy the visuals.

looking into auditorium

looking up in the auditorium

two more inside auditorium 2

sculp 1

stage ceiling

2muses on stage 2The stage from the orchestra. Note the composite to show the Stage Muses.

figure capitalsFigure from stage muses (left); capitals of white clay and majolica exterior (right).

upper balcony


ceiling and skylight

skylight 2

window 3 2

large windowPièce de résistance of the auditorium.


stained glass ceiling


upper balcony 2


composite hallway lounge 2

composite louge


When I think of the opera houses in Paris, Vienna, Budapest or the palace theaters a few years later (the Fox, the Chicago) this is a very unique display of a public space. Perhaps, because it is Catalan, or perhaps because growth around it stopped or slowed making this work by the whole group of architects exceptional. Whatever, if you can go and see the tour, if not, go have a coffee in the lobby, you will get a sense about this wonderful structure.

______________________________________________________ *Paraphrased from Wikipedia.













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