In a city like Barcelona, art is all around you. On the pavement, on walls, in parks. Sometimes it seems so integrated in its surroundings, you won’t even notice it until you are standing right on top of it.
When I walk along La Rambla, Barcelona’s most famous avenue, I stop for a moment. Right in the middle of the busy street is a beautiful, colourful mosaic, created on the pavement. It was made by one of Spain’s most famous artists, Joan Miró. While I stand there and look at the pattern, I notice that many people just walk straight over the top without even batting an eye lid. But having an artwork right there, free to see for all, feels like a privilege to me.
Joan Miró and Barcelona
Joan Miró was born in Barcelona is 1893. He became famous around the world for his often colourful artwork that is classified as Surrealism. He was a painter, sculptor and ceramicist. Although he lived and worked in Paris for many years, he always returned to spend his summers in his native Catalonia. Miró passed away in 1983 in Palma, Majorca, where he lived later in life. In 1975 a museum, dedicated to the work of Joan Miró was opened on Montjuïc in Barcelona, the Fundació Joan Miró. Here you can find an amazing collection of Miró’s work.
But even without visiting the museum there are three amazing artworks you should see. They were all created to welcome visitors to the city of Barcelona, whether they arrive by land, sea or air. And what better welcome than with the colourful works of art by a world famous artist!
When you arrive by aeroplane to Barcelona, the first of these artworks you will see is right on the wall of the airport El Prat. To complete this gigantic artwork, Miró worked together with a friend, ceramicist Josep Llorens Artigas. They finished the work in 1970. The bright colours are very characteristic of Joan Miró’s work.
The mosaic on the pavement on La Rambla is the second one of those artworks. Joan Miró picked this spot, called “Pla de l’Os”, because it was close to the place he was born and grew up. The artwork has got a round shape like the cosmos and has simple, almost child like, shapes and the primary colours of red, yellow and blue. Miró wasn’t concerned about the mosaic getting damaged but since he created it in 1976, the city council has restored it to keep it looking bright and beautiful.
The third artwork is the 22 metre tall sculpture “Dona i Ocell”, which translates to “Woman and Bird”. It stands tall and proud in Parc de Joan Miró, just off Plaça d’Espanya. Miró collaborated with the artist Joan Gardy Artigas, who applied all the ceramic tiles to the sculpture. This artwork was finished in 1982. You might see male as well as female shapes in this artwork. The moon shape on top is a depiction of a bird. The creature that connects the earth with the stars high above.
So enjoy this special welcome to Barcelona by Joan Miró and your time in his birth city full of art. And do stop and take a look around once in a while. You might just be standing on a famous artwork!