The Beautiful and Bad Images in Barcelona

The museum housing the works of the 20th century painter Joan Miro (1893-1983) is found in Barcelona, Spain sitting high in the hills of Montjuic, or “the Jewish Mountain,” so named for the historic Jewish presence there in medieval times, before the Spanish Inquisition and expulsion of the Jews in the 15th century. The museum contains many beautiful works by Miro including paintings, sculptures and tapestries.

The Beautiful

Many of the abstract paintings have no titles, but one beautiful painting does, called “The Gold of the Azure,” painted in 1967.

The painting shows the planet Earth as a large blue oval surrounded by a white halo. It is set against a gold sky along with other planets as smaller black blobs, a distant red smear of a sun, and large but faint black stars represented by four intersecting lines. Across the middle of the painting is a soft black line, the sole element that cuts against the dominant blue image of the painting.

Despite the dominance of the blue orb, the painting is balanced like a mobile by one of Miro’s contemporary artists, Alexander Calder (1898-1976). However, unlike Calder’s physical mobiles that needed to operate in gravity, Miro’s painting of the solar system needed no practical constraints. The thin black line is wavy and did not attach to any objects as opposed to Calder’s taut black wires connecting the objects of the art. Miro’s connective element floated against the gold sky just like the 4-lined stars. The work presents harmony of suspended disparate elements in the universe as visualized by a man who despised the fascism that dominated his country from the Spanish Civil War (1936-9) through the Nationalist government led by Francisco Franco (1939-1975).

The Bad

Adjacent to The Joan Miro Museum is a small tranquil park called Jardines de Laribal. The pretty garden is a quiet place for a nice short stroll.

The garden has just a few entrances, each flanked by two columns. On a sunny day in February 2019, one of the columns to enter the park contained a large black swastika.

Entrance to Jardines de Laribal
(photo: FirstOneThrough February 28, 2019)

The crude image on the right column was balanced by a large green map on the left welcoming visitors to the garden. A harmony of hatred for those pleased that the garden was built atop Jewish cemeteries. Spain, happily Jew-free since 1492.

The symbol of Nazism, fascism and racism may bear passing resemblance to the simple stars in the paintings of Joan Miro located a hundred meters away, but the message could not be more different. In the art inside the museum, the faint images of the smaller and different bodies coexist peacefully with the dominant orbs. But outside the museum, in the real world built atop the graves of Jews, European racism and antisemitism still demands a purely Catholic order.


Related First.One,Through articles:

Watching Jewish Ghosts

Your Father’s Anti-Semitism

“Tinge” Two. Idioms for Idiots

Delivery of the Fictional Palestinian Keys

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