Category Archives: Spain

The Christmas Story

I took these photos that tell the story of Jesus’ birth when we visited the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. The great cathedral designed by Antoine Gaudi in 1886 and scheduled for completion in 2026 features statues depicting the nativity narrative on its front facade.  The pieces were created by a variety of artists.God sent the angel Gabriel to the Galilean village of Nazareth to a young woman named Mary.  The angel told Mary she was a beautiful person inside and out and that she would soon become pregnant and have a son named Jesus. Mary was officially engaged to a man named Joseph and she told the angel, “I’m not even married.” The angel reassured her and told her Elizabeth, who was Mary’s older cousin was also pregnant. Immediately after the angel’s visit Mary went to stay with Elizabeth for three months. Mary gave birth to her son in Bethlehem where she and Joseph had traveled to take part in a census. Sheep herders camping in the area were visited by singing angels who sent them to Bethlehem to see the newborn baby. When Jesus was a little older a band of astrologers also came to visit him and bring him valuable gifts. 

Other posts……….

A Pregnant Mary and a Mary With Knives in Her Heart

Mary’s Childhood

The Family of Jesus Portrayed in a Controversial Way

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Filed under Art, Religion, Spain

Picasso Acrostic

We have a new Picasso exhibit opening tomorrow at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. Before I start to give tours of the exhibit I need to learn more about the famous Spanish artist.

high school students and teacher in spain

With my students in Spain

I have a little background knowledge about Picasso because I once chaperoned a high school art trip to Spain and saw Picasso’s famous work Guernica in the Renia Sofia in Madrid and visited the Picasso Museum in Barcelona.

guerinca fair use

Guernica was painted by Picasso in 1937 to show his anger about the bombing of the town of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War.

However my trip to Spain was ten years ago so I need a refresher. I’m using an acrostic poem to help me remember interesting things about Picasso. picasso book for kidsThe information for this comes from a great children’s book I found called  Pablo Picasso Breaking All the Rules. 

picasso with sister public domain

Picasso with his sister Lola

P is for pencil.  Pencil is the first word Picasso said.  He could draw before he could talk. Picasso was born in Spain in 1881.

picasso public domain

Picasso in 1908

I  is for in love.  Picasso fell in love repeatedly. He had long-term relationships with many women including- Fernande, Eva, Olga, Marie-Therese, Dora, Francoise and Jacqueline and fathered four children Paulo, Maya, Claude and Paloma. 

C is for Carles Casagemas.  He and Picasso were roommates in Paris. They were so poor Picasso painted furniture and bookcases on the walls to make their apartment look less bare.  Carles committed suicide in 1901. This made Picasso very depressed and is said to be the reason he went through a blue period when he painted sad and lonely people in blue colors. 

Gertrude Stein portrait wikipedia

Picasso’s portrait of Gertrude Stein in the Metropolitan Museum of Art New York City.

A is for American woman.  Gertrude Stein was an American poet living in Paris who became Picasso’s friend.  He liked to hang out at her house.  That is where he met another famous painter Henri Matisse.  He and Picasso became life long friends. 

j. Cocker photo of picasso sculpture in chicago

Sculpture by Picasso in Chicago. Photo was taken  by J. Cocker. 

S is for sculpture. Picasso was a painter and a potter but he was also a sculptor.  His sculptures were often made of junk he found like parts of a baby carriage or old cake pans or milk pitchers or baskets. 

picasso self portrait public domain

Picasso self-portrait done in 1907.

S is for self-portrait.  Picasso painted more than a dozen portraits of himself in his life time.  If you look at all of them you can see not only how Picasso’s physical appearance changed but also how his style of painting changed.  

Les_Demoiselles_d'Avignon public domain

Les Demoiselles d’Avignon by Pablo Picasso – Museum of Modern Art, New York. Can you see the African masks on the two women on the right? Picasso painted this in 1907. 

A is for African art.  Picasso was very interested in the African masks and sculptures he saw in museums in Paris.  You can see this influence in his work in particular from 1906-1909. 

Other posts…….

Spanish Inspiration

A Personal Dali

The Dakota Boat


Filed under Art, Spain, winnipeg art gallery

Spanish Inspiration

Bakery window photographed in Madrid

Bakery window photographed in Madrid

We are our choices.-John Paul Sarte

On the roof top of a house designed by Gaudi photographed in Barcelona

On the roof top of a house designed by Gaudi photographed in Barcelona

Tomorrow we will do beautiful things.- Antoni Gaudi

Ramon Casas and Pere Romeu on a Tandem  by Ramon Casas at the National Art Museum of Catalonia in Barcelona.

Ramon Casas and Pere Romeu on a Tandem by Ramon Casas- photographed at the National Art Museum of Catalonia in Barcelona.

Two are better off than one because together they can work more effectively. Ecclesiastes 4:9

Elephant and peacock photographed at the Barcelona Zoo

Elephant and peacock photographed at the Barcelona Zoo

Nature’s great masterpiece, an elephant; the only harmless great thing.

John Donne

Street sign photographed in Madrid

Street sign photographed in Madrid

Those who lose wealth lose much; those who lose a friend lose more.  

Miguel de Cervantes

Arc de Triomf photographed in Barcelona

Arc de Triomf photographed in Barcelona

All experience is an arch where through gleams that untravelled world whose margin fades for ever and for ever when I move. Alfred Lord Tennyson

Buoy in the harbor photographed in Barcelona

Buoy in the harbor photographed in Barcelona

It is hard to feel down when you are looking up. Author Unknown

Chocolate and churros enjoyed with friends - photographed in Madrid

Chocolate and churros enjoyed with friends – photographed in Madrid

There is nothing better than a friend unless it is a friend with chocolate.

Charles Dickens

A man and his dog photographed in Barcelona

A man and his dog photographed in Barcelona

The average dog is nicer than the average person.  Andy Rooney

Attempted kiss on a boat- photographed in Barcelona

Attempted kiss on a boat- photographed in Barcelona

Happiness is like a kiss. You must share it to enjoy it. Bernard Meltzer

Other posts about Spain….

Discovering Dali- What Reminds You of Home?

A Life That Adds Up to Something

Guernica Still Not Explained

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Filed under Inspiration, Spain

Dali’s Christmas Card

A Christmas card Dali made for the Hallmark card company is part of the Dali exhibit currently running at the Winnipeg Art Gallery.   An article in the St. Petersburg Independent in December of 2011 tells the story of Dali’s Christmas card.  In 1959 an art dealer met with Salvador Dali in his St. Regis hotel suite in New York to explore the possibility of Dali creating designs for various holiday cards .  The dealer placed a few calls to different greeting card companies but only Hallmark would agree to Dali’s terms. He wanted a $15,000 cash advance, no restrictions put on the medium he used or the subjects he depicted, and no deadline for his work. A Hallmark representative arrived shortly with the cash and the contract. 

Dali retired to the bathroom of his suite where he kept his easels and art supplies and set feverishly to work. He appeared a few hours later with brush and pen creations he declared some of his greatest work.  But they were only half finished.  Dali left for his home in Port Ligat Spain and forwarded ten completed works in a paper bag to the dealer in New York some time later. Hallmark only deemed two of them suitable for Christmas cards and rushed them into production so they would reach store shelves by Christmas 1960. But people wouldn’t buy them and they became so controversial  Hallmark eventually pulled them from the shelves. 

Later Dali designed a series of Christmas cards for the Hoechst Iberia company in Barcelona. They became quite popular in Spain. 

If you’d like to see one of Dali’s Hallmark Christmas cards in person visit the Dali exhibit at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. It will remain in Winnipeg till January 31.

Other posts about Dali……

A Personal Dali

The Exquisite Corpse

Dali – I’m Scared

Dali- Twirl That Mustache

Dali- Memories of Home

Dali- Hidden Pictures

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Filed under Art, Holidays, People, Spain, Winnipeg, winnipeg art gallery

A Life That Adds Up To Something

I noticed a numbered square high up and just to the left of the entrance door to the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona when I visited the great cathedral.  The façade on one side of the church designed by the Spanish architect Gaudi tells the story of the passion and resurrection of Jesus in a series of life-size sculptures.

Judas kissing Jesus- Sagrada Familia

Right beside a statue of Judas betraying Jesus with a kiss is a huge square with four rows of numbers. If you add the numbers up horizontally, vertically and diagonally they will equal 33, the number of years Jesus lived on earth.

The Sagrada Familia Cathedral – Barcelona

Jesus spent his short life healing people emotionally and physically. He told inspiring and engaging stories about the value of caring for others, sharing personal wealth and using our talents wisely. He gathered around him a close circle of friends. He sought out those who were struggling to find a purpose in life and gave them a sense of direction and hope. He went out of his way to spend time with people who had been rejected by society and made them feel like they had worth and value.

Jesus on the Cross- Sagrada Familia

He encouraged people to save themselves from a meaningless earthly existence by dedicating themselves to the building of a better world. He loved everyone, even his enemies.

Anyway you add up Jesus’ life it was one worthy of  emulation. Most of us are given much more than 33 years on this earth. Jesus’ example challenges us to make the building blocks of our lives add up to something worthwhile.

Other posts about Easter…….

Thinking about Mary On Good Friday

The Easters of My Childhood

Easter- A Time of New Beginnings


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Filed under Art, Reflections, Religion, Spain, Travel