This week I started reading a biography on the Spanish architect, Antonio Gaudi, pictured here. Gaudi has long been one of my favorite architects. His most famous work is the cathedral, which is still under construction, in Barcelona. Here is a link to a short video about Gaudi and his cathedral:
Interestingly, the author points out that, in his opinion, much of Gaudi's style was shaped from the landscape, color, and built environment of his home Reus located in Catalonia, Spain. This is a rocky, sun drenched landscape where mountains meet the Mediterranean Sea.
On a recent trip the the Walter's Art Gallery in Baltimore (a place you should try to visit this summer if possible)
I learned that the small city of Reus has been the birth place of many accomplished Spanish painters that were contemporaries of Gaudi, particularly Mariano Fortuny and his student Tapiro Baro. Here is one of Fortuny's paintings in the Walter's collection, called "The Hindu Snake Charmers."
You might notice that these painters focused on color, costume, and pattern. This is characteristic of the movement known as Orientalism. Liking what I saw, I began to do some research on line to see more of Fortuny's and Baro's work and came across this amazing exhibit that was at the Prado, which is the major art museum in Madrid, about 5 years ago. Thankfully, the wonderful museum staff has digitized the entire exhibit and you and I can still enjoy it without the aid of time travel or buying a plane ticket! Here is the link:
Prepare to be amazed! These artist take the medium of watercolor to an entirely new level!
Here is one sample of what you will see. This is a painting by Tapiro Baro. Baro lived with his family in North Africa for a few years. While there he enjoyed painting the local merchants, beggars, and traders. I hope you find these works with the rich detail, color, and pattern as inspiring as I do!