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The wonders of the Art Museum of Catalonia

The Museum of Art of Catalonia, located in the National Palace of Barcelona, contains an exceptional collection of works of all styles, with in particular a collection of roman art, considered one of the most complete in the world.

Among these jewels, I am taking you to the discovery of 5 Catalan painters of the second half of the 19th century, little known, but who deserve a detour...

Follow the guide!

Santiago Rusiñol. Une Romance. 1894
Santiago Rusiñol. Une Romance. 1894

Santiago Rusiñol (1861 - 1931) was born on February 25, 1861 in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. He studied at l'école de la Llotja in Barcelona, and was one of the most active members of Catalan Modernisme, an artistic movement that emerged at the end of the 19th century.

This latter sought to break with traditional artistic styles and fuse art with other forms of expression, such as literature and architecture.

Rusiñol was a prolific painter, known for his landscapes, portraits, and scenes of everyday life. His works often reflect a romantic sensibility and skillful use of color and light.

Rusiñol was also a writer. He wrote poems, essays and theater pieces. "L'auca del Senyor Esteve" is one of the most famous.

Rusiñol lived in a maison-atelier called Cau Ferrat in Sitges, near Barcelona. Today it is a museum dedicated to the life and work of the artist.

Ramon Casas - Étude - 1893
Ramon Casas - Étude - 1893

Ramon Casas i Carbó (1866-1932) was a major figure in the Barcelona art scene at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century.

Born on January 4, 1866 in Barcelona, Casas showed an early talent for art. Like Rusiñol, Casas was one of the main representatives of Catalan Modernism.

He was best known for his portraits, particularly those of Barcelona's high society of the time.

In addition to his painting work, Casas was a prolific illustrator. He contributed to several publications of the time, including magazines and newspapers. His illustrations were often used to document the social and cultural life of Barcelona. Casas was also associated with a group of artists and intellectuals who met at the Els Quatre Gats café on La Rambla in Barcelona.

Ramon Casas - Plein Air - 1891
Ramon Casas - Plein Air - 1891
Joan Ferrer Miró - Exposition publique d'un tableau - 1888
Joan Ferrer Miró - Exposition publique d'un tableau - 1888

Son of a carpenter, Joan Ferrer Miró (1850-1931) did his initial training in his native village of Villanueva before going to Barcelona to continue his studies in drawing and painting at the Pedro Borrell Academy and the La Lonja School.

He became friends with Romà Ribera, with whom he also shared a studio.

He stands out as a portrait painter, capturing the essence of the Catalan bourgeoisie.

Between 1874 and 1879, he undertook a trip to Italy, hosted by Ferrer Vidal and Pablo Soler, to study at the Spanish Academy in Rome. There, he transformed his stylistic approach by delving into more traditional subjects.

Returning to Villanueva, he founded the city's first painting and drawing academy.

He later moved to the Ciutat Vella district of Barcelona, creating works that reflected the activities of the emerging Barcelona bourgeoisie during the "gold rush". In 1885, he presented his work “Amateur” at the Watercolor Center in Barcelona, a prelude to one of his masterpieces, “Public Exhibition of a Painting”, which earned him a gold medal at the 'Universal Exhibition of 1888.

From 1906, he devoted himself to teaching and the creation of educational lithographs. Made up of seventeen workbooks entitled “Drawing for everyone”, these materials have enabled generations to learn the art of drawing at school.

Roman Ribera - Sortie de Bal - 1894
Roman Ribera - Sortie de Bal - 1894

Catalan artist Roman Ribera (1848-1935) also perfected his drawing skills at the La Lonja school in Barcelona and studied painting at the Pere Borrell academy. His quest for knowledge took him to Rome between 1873 and 1876, where he attended the Accademia Chigi, skillfully avoiding the influence of the academic mannerism of the Roman school.

In 1877, Roman Ribera went to Paris, collaborating with the art dealer Adolphe Goupil, who had acquired the reproduction rights to all of his works. The artist broadens his horizons by immersing himself in the direct representation of scenes of Parisian life. The following year, he achieved significant success at the Paris Universal Exhibition and focuses on the elegant life of the time, as evidenced by his work "Sortie de bal", judiciously alternating with genre scenes.

After 12 years in Paris, he returned to Barcelona and persevered in the meticulous depiction of upper-class life.

In 1915, Roman Ribera was honored as a meritorious member of the Artistic Circle of Barcelona.

Josep Duran - Regard sur l'album - 1872
Josep Duran - Regard sur l'album - 1872

Josep Duran i Riera (1849 – 1928) completed his studies at the School of Fine Arts in Barcelona under the tutelage of Antoni Caba. His style is deeply influenced by the Catalan Natzarenists, and he collaborates closely with Enric Monserdà.

In 1870 he made his debut at the Barcelona Fine Arts Exhibition and in 1872 his works "Portrait of a Lady" and "Repassing the Album" were exhibited at the National Art Museum of Catalonia.

In 1879, at the Exhibition of Fine Arts in Girona, the Deputation acquired his painting "La hacienda de la casa", while the Monuments Commission acquired two "women's studies". In 1880 he exhibited again in Girona and around 1890 he stopped exhibiting and moved away from public life.

Palau Nacional, Parc de Montjuïc


In his art history lectures, Fabrice Roy combines the past with the present, in a poetic and playful evocation of the 19th century in France...


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