By Michael Eaude
Squeezed among extra robust France and Spain, Catalonia has continued a violent historical past. Its medieval empire that conquered Naples, Sicily and Athens was once overwhelmed by means of Spain. Its geography, with the Pyrenees falling sharply to the rugged Costa Brava, is tormented, too.
Michael Eaude lines this historical past and it monuments: roman Tarragona, celebrated by way of the poet Martial; Greek Empúries, misplaced for hundreds of years underneath the sands; medieval Romanesque structure within the Vall de Bo:i church buildings (a international historical past sequence) and Poblet and Santes Creus monasteries. He tells the tales of a number of of Catalonia's nice figures: Abbot Olivia, who introduced Moorish studying to Europe, the ruthless mercenary, Roger de Flor, and Verdaguer, good-looking poet-priest.
Catalonia is known this day for its twentieth-century paintings. This e-book makes a speciality of the innovative paintings Nouveau structures (including the Sagrada Família) of Antoni Gaudí. It additionally explores the region's inventive legacy: the younger Picasso portray Barcelona's bright slums; Salvador Dalí, encouraged through the twisted rocks of Cap de Creus to color his landscapes of the human brain; and Joan Miró, researching the colours of the purple earth at Montroig.
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Extra resources for Catalonia: A Cultural History
Pui g i Cadafalch, a s well as being a majo r modernista architect , was als o a con servative Catala n nationalis t politician . Th e 190 7 publicatio n o f hi s team's report-catalogu e was key to th e remarkabl e work conducted i n th e 1920s t o remov e th e wall-painting s fro m man y Pyrenea n churche s an d bring the m dow n t o a museu m i n Barcelona . The remova l require d skil l and patience , for thes e fragment s of frescoe d wall s had t o b e transferre d bit b y bi t t o plaster .
I t wa s a team le d b y Pui g i Cadafalch, th e Ar t Nouvea u architect, whic h firs t studie d an d liste d thes e building s a hundre d year s ago . It i s probabl y n o acciden t tha t o f th e famou s Ar t Nouvea u architect s Puig i s th e mos t obviousl y influence d by medieva l style s (se e Chapte r Six). Mos t Pyrenea n village s have a Romanesqu e church , it s sli m towe r often highlighte d agains t a valle y o r th e sky . I n Th e South (1990) , th e Irish write r Col m Toibin' s firs t novel , hi s spare , simple—Romanesque , one coul d say—pros e describe s th e villag e o f Pallos a firs t see n throug h the eye s o f a foreigner: The villag e was sheltered belo w th e summi t i n a small dip; it stretched out beyon d a ston e churc h an d a narro w stree t o f house s toward s a valley.
Th e Roma n stone s i n th e house s tha t For d sa w and yo u ca n stil l see are undoubtedl y Roman , bu t afte r thei r extraction fro m th e Medo l quarry ma y no t hav e started thei r usefu l lif e wher e you se e them today . Much o f th e por t wa s buil t wit h Roma n masonr y remove d fro m th e amphitheatre, whic h b y th e nineteent h centur y wa s a hea p o f rubble . Today th e amphitheatr e stand s entire , beautifull y outline d agains t th e sea, so tha t a naive visitor could think , as 1 at firs t did , i t was unrestored , for nowher e i s the repai r work acknowledged .