Relationship between Picasso and Barcelona
Barcelona had great importance on the personal and artistic life of Picasso. The artist came to the city in 1895, carried out his classical training at the Fine Arts School of Barcelona and discovered Modernism in the modernist circle of Els 4 Gats. Picasso lived in the city as a young man and whilst living in France, did not stop visiting the city to see family and friends, before the Spanish Civil War and the Franco dictatorship which separated him from the Catalan capital forever.
- Picasso and Barcelona: A Love Story The Spanish painter started his career in the Catalan capital
Picasso Route in Barcelona
Els Quatre Gats Café-Restaurant
This modernist restaurant - founded in 1897 - was a meeting place for intellectuals and artists alike during the late nineteenth century. It is located on Carrer Montsió 3 on the ground floor of Casa Marti. The facade of the house is in the European Gothic style, as are the decorations such as the stained glass doors and wrought iron, which also hint at a Catalan modernist style.
In the late nineteenth century this place was one of the main points of reference for the Bohemians and modernist artists - much like Picasso - who gathered to chat, share experiences and see shows and concerts. It remained active until 1903. It was here that Picasso exhibited his first drawings. This restaurant was considered to be the gateway of all new artistic styles in Europe.
Today, this restaurant is well known and appreciated by tourists. The menu is a little more expensive than other places because of the history, but you can still taste delicious Catalan specialties. I advise you strongly to go there one day ;)
From here keep walking, but staying within the Gothic Quarter, and arrive at Plaça Nova, i.e. Plaza de la Catedral, an area rich in elements that speak of the history and art of Barcelona. Here you can see Picasso's only open air work - a fresco. In the square, attached to Association of Architects on a building wall you can see the decorations designed by the artist.
From the Gothic Quarter, cross Via Laietana and you'll get to the Born neighbourhood, another charming historic area. Here on Carrer Moncada is the Picasso Museum, opened in 1963 by request of the artist himself. Here you can enjoy a number of works, paintings, and collections from a young Picasso, more specifically the iconic paintings from his blue period and the famous parody of the Las Meninas painting.
It's very pleasant to visit this museum and you should know that entry is free all day on the first Sunday of each month and from 3pm onwards on other Sundays. In February on Thursday nights it opens for free from 19:00 to 21:30. For more information on the Picasso museum, visit the official website or read our page about it here.
If you head down toward the sea, you'll run into Casa Llotja del Mar. This building, with its neoclassical facade is found on Pla de Palau and was built in the fourteenth century. Over the years it has experienced different historical phases and has been home to lots of maritime-based trade. It was built within the old medieval walls and inside retains a true Gothic structure. In 1775 the Llotja housed the Real Academia, i.e the Academy of Fine Arts where Picasso studied. Today it is home to the headquarters of the Chamber of Commerce.
We finalize the tour at the house where Pablo Picasso lived with his family open arriving to Barcelona in 1895. During this period, his paintings were of Barcelona's urban landscapes, so the young painter would often climb up to the roof to draw. The Neoclassical Porxos d'en Xifré building can be found right by Port Vell.
What else is there to see along this tour?
Not just Picasso. This route might be dedicated to the amazing artist, but that doesn't mean during your walk you can take a break to see other fantastic points of interest such as:
- In the historic centre around the aforementioned areas, you can visit Barcelona's Cathedral or go to the somber Plaça de Sant Felipe Neri.
- From the Born neighbourhood, you'll want to take a walk to see the Santa María del Mar Basilica, a beautiful and authentic Catalan Gothic church.
- Around Picasso's home, you cannot miss the chance to take a pleasant walk by the port and Barceloneta beach where you can enjoy a delicious seafood paella at one of the seaside restaurants.
- If you're hungry around the Picasso Museum, have some tapas and champagne at the famous (and chaotically fun) locale - El Xampanyet.
To see all of the photos from the Picasso route, finish off looking at the Pinterest board.
If you're not done with walking tours of the city, don't worry, because our next article in the #Route series is this Roman route guide.