For those interested in open air Art check out www.bestbarcelonatours.com/eljardidelsangels
There you will find a free digital ilustrated Guide-Essay about Barcelona’s monumental cemetery. The research work, easy to download and print, includes a practical map with an itinerary pinpointing the 74 commented pantheons. The themes developed are:
- Early 20th Century Catalan Industrialism. Economic sectors, tycoons and ruling families.
- Modernist style, both in architecture and sculpture, together with other artistic trends from the time. Know about the most remarkable masters who left us this open air sculpture museum, this catalogue of architecture, in where to walk under the mild sun of Barcelona, involved by the clarity of the mediterranean sky.
- Funerary botany.
- Religious Simbology.
Title: El Jardí dels Àngels
Author: Miquel Àngel Diez i Besora
Here follows the English translation.
*The author is licensed guide from Catalonia. Due not hesitate to contact him for a tour in the Cemetery. For any kind of tour in Barcelona check out: http://www.bestbarcelonatours.com/
email@example.com / 0034 696 231 153
Our artistic journey starts at the main entrance of the South-east Barcelona’s cemetery, also know as Montjuïch due to the hill of the same name. There, in one of the rocky slopes are around 1 million buried people. Necropolis, sleeping place, holy field, garden of peace, burial place are some of the names used in different languages to define these spaces reserved to the inhumations of those who were once inhabitants of a given place. As happens with prisons and mental hospitals, cemeteries for centuries were ignored by the same society who gave birth to them. Seeing tombs remains us the unavoidable fate waiting all of us sooner or later. Perhaps that is the reason why the people avoids graveyards. Nevertheless, in a monumental cemetery-garden like Montjuïch, the interesting values and the landscape overcome the feeling of fear.
First of all, and before treating the different themes, let us get the big picture. What did it mean the opening of that cemetery in 1883? It was the consequence of the growing of that city that since early 19th C. went through the industrialisation and with it the demographic growth. At that time Barcelona reassured its central position in the Principality of Catalonia, as well as turning into the locomotive of Spain. The new cemetery was a second push to a movement calling for more hygiene and secularisation, bringing burial places away from the city centre and becoming city owned. In the same way that happened with the drawing of the new streets, wide and straight, other institutions took the example of the Roman civilisation.
As one can see in the “Plaça de la Vil.la de Madrid”, Roman cemeteries stretched along the ways (vias) outside the walls (extramural). The assumption of Christianity brought a change in the inhumation practices. The wish to be buried close to Heaven increased the demand for tombs next to the churches, namely inside the walls which protected the city from attacks. For many centuries people was used to harmful stinky flairs originated in the church cemeteries (mephitic steam). In the Barcelona’s church of St. Maria del Pi documents have been found relating about the “escura” operation. Once in a while the graves inside the churches had to be emptied. While burning rosemary and thyme to disinfect, gravediggers proceeded to clean up the hole, also helped with a good barrel of wine. By the 18th C. Society came back to forgotten practices, namely bringing the cemeteries outside the town. In Poble Nou was installed the first modern cemetery of Barcelona. There, were transferred the bones from the old parish cemeteries which became squares for public use. Poble Nou Cemetery is consequence of the Illustration ideals. Its design, the austere neoclassic lines, all tell us about the new citizenship ideology in vogue, up for rationality, uniformism.
The modernisation of societies in the industrial countries came hand by hand with a renovation of the arts. The always present classicism was displaced by a new regard to the gothic art, the discovering of exotic worlds as Egypt and Mesopotamia, together with the awe for a new free passionate spirit of those touched by Nature. As a synthesis of that new artistic trend we find a Line, the crack of whip and the style generated by it was called Art-Noveau. In Catalonia that style, called Modernisme in Catalan language, became very popular and even landed into so rare place as the cemetery. Actually that is the reason why Barcelona’s graveyard is so unique in the world.
Modernism (Art Noveau) is a style from the turn of the Century, and took shape as a consequence of a series of reasons. Back in late 18th C. Rococo style was showing its appetite for curviness and flowering. Some time afterwards, Romanticism broke with the belief that couldn’t be Art beyond reason, classicism. Thus, emotion started to play its role, together with creativeness, irrationality, passion... all together displacing measure, repetition of Greco Latin models. All this new attitude towards art came to be called Germanism cause Germany is one of its cradles. Meanwhile, in England was born the Arts & Crafts movement which called the attention into the superiority of craftsmanship over industrial production. The discovery of the Japanese representation of the space was the ingredient that gave cohesion and identity to a new style, Modernisme. That was something new, young, free. One can find all this adjectives in the way the different languages called the style: Modern Art, Art Noveau, Jugendstyle, Liberty… Pioneers in Europe of the new style were Augueste Rodin, Victor Horta and Henry de Toulouse Lautrec.
In Catalonia, the will of the new dominant Class (Burgess) to draw itself away from what represented the Aristocracy, the floral rebirth of a Nation, Medievalism, rediscovering of Mudejar Art, the contribution of Organicism from Gaudí, all these things gave a great personality to Catalan Modernism.
Following the City Council initiative, the design of the new Barcelona’s necropolis was drawn by Leandre Albareda. How the different ways run and the distribution of the different plots are consequence of the urbanism of the time. Opposite to what happened in the egalitarian Barcelona’s street planning designed by Ildefons Cerdà, now it was the time for centralisation, Class-conscious hierarchysation of the space.
Actually, the Cerdà planning for the streets and blocks of houses of Barcelona (still nowadays to be seen when strolling), was never respected by the authorities and architects. The city-garden never went beyond than a peace of paper. Urban speculation started closing down the inner yards of the blocks of houses that should have been open green yards. Also to make the most of the plot of land, the buildings started to get higher and higher and few developers respected the council regulation of maximum 4 floor per house. The addition of tribunes in the noble or principal floor of the house was another sign of a new type of urbanism, where the richest citizens showed their power and social position.
Concerning the confessions, Catholicism made some room for other believers, specially Protestant foreigners that came to the city as investors, entrepreneurs, professionals… All in all we are talking about 56 hectares, divided in 12 ways, 24 groups, 70 streets and two squares.
Wandering in our cemetery is something more than just a shake for our feelings; it is also a history tour, a very rare open book in where to learn about different subjects. We are going to discover the architecture, the sculpture in the most remarkable Pantheons, those of the rich families of the time. We will talk about the tycoons of the time, how some Barcelona families built trade and industry empires. It is like over flying the recent history of Catalonia by the hand of the angels.
Standing at the Antecementirium one can already appreciate the type of cemetery before our eyes, the holy forest stretched in terraces down the slope of the hill. Before mankind learn to write, people use to be buried in the woods. When the cemetery was build it was fashionable the Celtic world, with its druids and oaks, and the underlying thought of the pantheism. That philosophy sees all the things in Nature as parts of a whole. Thus, once we die, what could be better than returning to the earth helping new life to appear. The topography and extension of the area allowed a great job of funerary botany. The master gardener was Celestino Barallat. The idea is a seemingly natural landscape with figures in between trees, bushes and grass, with sepulchres out of rocks and earth. All vegetation was carefully selected. Sheer white from the tombs combining with the grave green from the cypress is the main note of that garden of peace and eternal rest. It is an horticulture exercise to bring together all the contradictions within the feeling of mourning, so sad as hopeful, so cheerless as beloved.
For any believer, and perhaps also to agnostic and atheist people through the collective unconscious, a cemetery is a holy field (campo santo). Likewise in a church that is a place in-between to other places, it is a platform to get into heaven coming out from the earth. It is the basic function of religion, remake the bonds that we lost at some time bringing together earthy dimension of mankind with its transcendence. That is why at any time if you are doing the tour in the very same cemetery, be respectful with the tombs and the people we could meet.
That burgess Class, master and commander of the society of the time, a Barcelona that was experiencing a boom… many of them were the sons of fathers who emigrated and made good businesses in the Americas.
For the Catalan industrialisation were very important the so-called Indians (families like Bacardi, Güell, Xifrè and so many others). They are also called Cubans or Americans and normally they were the second son from some farmer with lands. As these second sons were not the heir they found an escape for their will to prosper in the last Spanish colonies or other south American countries. The enlighten king Carlos III had opened the transatlantic trade to the Catalan ports, putting an end to the monopoly of the kingdom of Castilia had over America since the times of the Empire. Surpluses from Catalan produces like wine and olive oil was sent to America and shipyards in the Catalan Coast every time were more busy to attend this need for exportation. All this produces and also manufactured staff like cloths, tiles, etc... were sold by the Catalan emigrants when they opened a shop or a importing business. With the benefits of the Catalan exportations was bought American cotton. Tobacco, coffee, slaves were other goods from this commerce around 1870. The fortunes that were built in America, specially in Cuba, helped out for the capitalisation of Catalonia. The very same people that emigrated and made fortunes abroad or their sons back in Catalonia started to invest in Industry. The repatriation of Capitals was a great push to the Catalan industrialisation.
The industrialists from the time also inherit from their parents two basic beliefs: family and private property. Moreover, they add a third value, that of the social pre-eminence. Likewise in the Avinguda Tibidabo with the Summer villas; with the houses of Passeig de Gràcia, Rambla de Catalunya, Enric Granados, Casp, … that Burgess Class also wanted to show its status in the houses for the eternal sleep. The following pantheons that we start seeing, in some way express a will to materialize their desire for prestige, social recognition, social commandment, ostentation... Couples, sons, sagas, all buried in the same pantheon as an everlasting monument to the glory of the family. The parcel out through the terraces, with mausoleums and hypogeum separated by fences reinforces the basic credo of such a mighty families, private property. During life those families were neighbours in the city or in residential areas like the one in Avinguda del Tibidabo; during dead span the endogamy Class-conscious is confirmed, in the most accessible part of the cemetery.
Under Class-conscious we understand the will of the Upper Class to differentiate itself from the petite bourgeois, the working Class and the lumpenproletariat. That was shown through values, beliefs, patterns of consumerism, entertainment and spaces reserved for that Upper Class. The tool to assure the social stratification was the cultural hegemony (Antonio Gramsci). In the facade of one of the first department stores in Barcelona in Avinguda del Portal de l’Àngel, one can see a sculpture representation of the gods of trade and industry saying to the pedestrian: labor omnia vincit. “working you will climb in the social scale”. With that explanation of how the things work in a capitalism society the dominant Class shut up any criticism by the dominated Class, providing an armour to the social status quo against revolution or social reform. Let us remember that with the salaries of the times, the workers hardly could go beyond maintaining the family. Concerning the endogamy of the Catalan Upper Class let us remember the marriages in between the offspring of the tycoons of the times. Those family unions for the sake of business increased the fortune of the families and helped to create a good atmosphere in the economy’s elite. The union of the Güell family with the Lòpez is the clearest example of the links within the country’s plutocracy. Beyond the family ring we also have associations like the Círculo Eqüestre, Foment del Treball, l’Institut Agrícola de St. Isidre, or the very same Liceu (Barcelona’s opera house). Those places were the meeting points for the ruling class and helped to create comradeship to the patricians of the time. From those Associations were set the main lines for the organisation of the country.
He was able to alight the androgen faces of angels and crying women with a vitalist melancholic touch. A feeling of loving sadness was in the sensibility of most of the artist and intellectuals of the time. The decease date, 1904, is when the Modernist movement was at its peak, vigorous and well established before starting to decay by 1907. We can see how the typical Modernist line, the crack of whip, builds up the whole of the fence. The wrought iron works and the coexistence of a multitude of decorative options is one of the characteristics of the Modernist style. The personage buried is the very same founder of one of the most famous wine cellars, Torres. Jaume was a youngster that with 18 years old went to Cuba. The commercial network that there he was able to build, was afterwards the key to build up the success of the company “Torres i Companyia”. That was founded together with his brother back in his homeland county, el Penedès. The wine, together with the “aiguardent” (a spirit), almonds, hazelnuts and “indianes” (robes printed with flowers in the Filipinas fashion) were very appreciated Catalan products in foreign markets. Trade, sometimes in exclusive markets as was Cuba, was a great incentive that ended in the capitalisation of Catalonia. The following step was entering into the industrial achievements (overall with cotton), and a progressive diversification of the economy.
A walk through Montjuïch’s graveyard is a way to understand an Age and overall a social Class. To build a beautiful and notorious pantheon was in fashion, actually it was a must for the Upper Class a hundred years ago. Thanks to it, we can nowadays enjoy a great open air museum, entering likewise into the perception and the social treatment of death in the time.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE ITINERARY
I – We can see here the tomb of Jaume Torres Vendrell, where the still horizontality of the eternal sleep gets tenderly disturbed by the verticality of the standing angel of Josep Llimona.
II – That is a work of Antoni Rovira, who also signed the “campana de Gràcia” and a failed project for the Barcelona’s Enlargement. The mausoleum of Miquel Buxeda brings to scene all the spirituality to face death in the times. A very clear boundary is set in the very same entrance to the chapel, where the angel by Rafael Atché expresses the desolation of losing the beloved ones . The waiting attitude of that being remains us the day in which the dead will be brought to heaven. The pantheons normally set a boundary with a door, with stairs leading to the “sancta sanctorum”, the family chapel. That idea of limit is reinforced by the black and white of the different stones used in the building inside and outside. The fence is gone cause vandalism. Right in the entrance we find the letters Alfa and Omega, which lately will be commented. Despite the frame shows an Egyptian heavy simple form, all is lighten by floral decoration. Miquel Buxeda is a good example from those industrialist from the steam machine and wool fields. Apart from making robes of wool he also was lending steam power to other manufacturers who where lacking the needed infrastructure. He had a factory in Sabadell, and his story of rural exodus from a village in the north called Camprodon an ending in Barcelona exemplifies the migratory movements of many Catalans of the time.
III – The funerary monument to Pere Arús shows upon a podium a broken column, sober classic element per excellence. About the meaning of the broken column there are many opinions. It would be interesting to know if Pere Arús died because an accident, an interrupted life as a collapsed column. Another explanation is the degradation of the bodies after death. In the Middle Age uncorrupted bodies were an undeniable prove of the sanctity of the buried person. The client got here, with that high composition, a cheap way to get over his “neighbours”. Look closer at the fence, poppies, opium that makes you sleep. Which plant could be better to express the eternal sleep?
All over cypress trees embrace our regard. That tree is a must in any cemetery, due to the simbology load coming out from the sharpness, imperturbability of the grave green… The cypress tree is the serious backcloth in a grave yard. Already in the Ancient Times a branch of cypress tree was placed in front of the houses as a sign of mourning. Green, says Celestino Barallat in his treaty of funerary botany, “is the emblem of spring regeneration and therefore represents the immortality of the soul”. A relaxed and non excited glance is the point in a cemetery, thus green from leaves and not so many colourful flowers. Beyond colours we also are touched in an unaware way by flares, shapes and floral combinations. All must be addressed to communicate peace, remembering, humbleness, love, will, metamorphosis. As a rule the election is the evergreen leaf, as meaning that death ends nothing but only implies a transit. Likewise fruit shows must be avoided as a sign of birth. The very same Celestí Barallat recommended to cut the clusters of dates that in Summer some Palm trees make. Species looking aggressive to the sight, as the cactus, are also annoying. Death is not to be seen with fear but as a liberation movement. After St. Augustine our journeys in the earthy city is just a training for the true and only place in which to feel complete, the city of god. Therefore, even though trying to build a forest, the botany of a cemetery must be a very careful exercise of measure where nothing is hazardous. Moreover, the very presence of trees tell us about the reason why human being dies. After the Bible, when God created Man and Woman, those where immortal in Paradise. To the sight of Adam and Eva where the tree of Life and the tree of Science, of evil and good. We already know the consequences for making sense of the snake’s advice. “For God created man incorruptible, and to the image of his own likeness he made him.But by the envy of the devil, death came into the world:And they follow him that are of his side.”
IV – A great view of the mausoleums from the Batlló i Batlló in line with the one of Bonaplata in an upper ground. Look at the cypress, how they contribute to the scenography becoming a frame for these temples. The gate is shielded by two heavy angels by Manel Fuxà, standing up on Egyptian columns and bearing trumpets and crowns, while as columns’ capitals owls are to be found.
These birds are usual of the cemeteries. Their ability to see at night is a useful tool for the dead. That bird also represents the point of wisdom of those who are beyond life and death, who can see in the darkness of the unknown. This temple with a Egyptian and Babylonian flair shows star forms, pinpointing with thus the success of the family that rightly has won heaven. The Batlló were one of the most mighty sagas of the time, with more than one factory and the currently “escola industrial” or “Can Batlló”. The factory of the Urgell street could employ 2.500 workers while the factory of la Bordeta gave job to 900 employees. The cotton was the great engine of the Catalan economy. The American cotton reached Catalonia through Cuba and here that rough material was manufactured as fabric to be sent to the Spanish and colonial market. In those industrial naves build with brick and iron pillars and beams where placed huge steam machines and next to them the chimney to expel the smoke created by the coal. That steam force made move thousand of workers, many weaving machines. As early as 1860 the Batlló factory was scenery of workers’ strikes and the owners’ lock outs. Once they got rid of the factory, the family Batlló i Batlló entered into the real-estate business. Most of the times they contracted the architect Josep Vilaseca, building some houses in the “Quadrat d’Or” for the sons Pia, Enric i Àngel Batlló. No wonder that this architect was also elected to build the family pantheon. Josep Vilaseca made for Barcelona one of its more celebrated monuments, “l’Arc de Triomf”. Also the rare house of the umbrellas in the Rambla de les Flors was signed by Josep Vilaseca.
V – The burial mound landmarking the sepulchre of Antonio Leal de la Rosa shows one of these sculptures that make Barcelona’s graveyard something unique. That is a work of Enric Clarasó (one of the members of the Cafeteria 4 Gats). A slender woman, as vanishing, maybe comes to represent the soul that goes, as the wind blows the leafs. Notice the “esfumato” treatment of the cloak, beaten by the breeze. Full of movement, freed from religious elements, that figure is a way to humanise the mourning, lacking ceremonies and Christian load but soak with the Pantheism fashionable in the epoch. That philosophy movement, together with the Vitalism and the Decadentism were very present in the artistic circles, most of them from a burgess background. These three philosophical trends that gave shape to the Modernisme were perfect to deal with the funerary subject.
VI – The message carved in Santiago Segura’s gravestone, “protector de las artes” remains us of the link maecenas-artist that made possible many small and big pieces of art in the turn-of-the-Century’s Barcelona. Examples of patronage are the “Palau de la Música Catalana”, a plot in the old town given by the marquees de Castellbell, or the financial effort from 1888, when the richest people of the time, under the leadership of the mayor Rius i Taulet made possible a successful Universal Exhibition. The School of Art “la Llotja” (financed by the Junta de Comerç) also played a key role in promoting young talents. The grants given by this institution allowed many young artist of the time to travel abroad and afterwards bringing back home all that they had learnt.
VII – Maria Luisa Denis Reverter - Santiago Rusiñol. The later started a career as a writer sending letters to Maria Luisa, who later would be his wife. She is known for her literary works and no so much as a painter. His husband was the true animator of the Modernist movement in Barcelona. As a many-sided artist he developed a paintings style of a deep melancholic touch, together with some theatre works. The main theme in the later are the conflict in between generations: a conservative petite bourgeois family, thrifty and industrious, with a son that turns into a black sheep because he wants to go his way. But despite all the criticism towards the social Class that Rusiñol belonged, he never refused the rents from a factory near the Ter river which was managed by his brother Albert. This vital contradiction was a source for distress for many artists of the time. And some of them solve the strains with suicide or the mental health hospital. Rusiñol, beyond his own artistic achievements is a key figure from a golden generation that always tried to cut the edge. He was in Paris with Casas, Clarasó, Utrillo and Pere Romeu. He was in the cafeteria the 4 Gats, a meeting point for the artist community, and there Rusiñol became a role model for many young artist. He used to spend the Summer in Sitges, where besides the palace called Cau Ferrat, is worthy to see the monument to El Greco. Rediscovering this painter from the 16th C. was basic for the artist of late 19th C. and early 20th C. The Tenebrism and mysticism of El Greco was inherit by the Modernist artist. Also very important influence for the Catalan painting of the time was the English prerafaelism. It was a way to escape from reality. Even in landscapes and views from gardens, that load of melancholy of someone missing something is ever present. Rusiñol died in Aranjuez in 1931, where he used to spend large seasons in that village painting its gardens By the 30s the Modernisme was long forgotten. Longing for a youth and a fame gone was added to the intimacy that always professed artists like Rusiñol, Casas and Clarasó.
VIII – The sepulchre of Pere Llibre (which died in 1888, at the date of the bright awakening of that city of the wonders) shows a leaning angel towards the gravestone. This attitude of wing creatures interacting with its protected ones is often repeated in the cemetery. The sculpture is a work of Josep Campeny and his style can be descried as a meeting point in between the coldness of the classicism and the restless ethereal works of the Modernist artists. The very same body, showing more masculinity is miles away from the Modernist sculptures. The angel bears a weaved cloak and he is crowned by a diadem while places a ring of flowers over the tomb. The circle stands for the continuity life-death. Edgeless is that geometric form, a never-ending movement. In the one hand, to place a crown of flowers on a tomb could be the ancient way to lock the soul, avoiding a return to life from that. When someone does not accept the place where has to be, he can turn into a ghost. The reason why in cemeteries are some many angels is due to the function that these androgens creatures play. (The sex of the angels was during many centuries a very hot point of debate for the theologians). These spiritual wing beings are god’s messengers, couriers and heralds of the almighty, they will know in the final judgement who to help to climb up to heaven. By this times the people though seriously in the resurrection of body and soul. Therefore when someone lost some part of the body, that extremity was kept and when the burial day came, the arm, leg or whatever, was reincorporated with the whole body. Some aromatic herbs grow wildly next to the tomb. Thyme, rosemary, lavender and other herbs always were used in the burial ceremonies to purify the atmosphere. It was a hygiene measure that also helped the audience to forget thoughts of putrefaction.
IX – The pantheon of Manuel Ferrer i Barral shows a figure with sword in hand, a work by Rafael Atché. The pursuit in any funerary piece is to wake up some ideas that the people has about death. That goal is achieved through the use of symbols, which can be more or less explicit. The sword comes to represent how firm is faith. The little church is of Byzantine style (fashionable in the times) though the free Modernist line is also present, lightening the whole work. In that time architects had an open range of models in which to inspire their works, revivals more or less similar to the original. (We call this appetite for old architecture as Historicism and thanks to it the study of past styles was improved. In Catalonia, Puig i Cadafalch and Domenech i Montaner studied and spread the knowledge of the Catalan Romanesque). The end product used to be a kind of eclectic cocktail of different styles. Look closer at the foot of the building; one can find the signature from the architect: “labró… me fecit…” (it was carved by... Made me...)
X - Ferreres i Candi, in line with his condition of Anatomy professor opted for a hyperrealist work, of baroque photographic poignancy. It is like an epitaph made sculpture.
In the End-of-Century Barcelona, the medical profession became prestigious and necessary as happen with lawyers and other Liberal Professions. The strength of that step in between upper and middle Class shows the chances to climb in the social scale. At the same time, the existence of a large group of professionals reflects the vitality of the economy, increasingly demanding more and more services.
XI – In the Estruch tomb we find once again a slim feminine figure by Clarasó, an idealised idea of beauty of the time. She is like a soul leading a parade. This woman prototype was much of the like for the Modernist artist.
The very same dreaming character of the artist, unhappy in a world of facts, made them tend to those ethereal muses, ghosts, spirits... The maid stands over a rustic tumult. That is an easy way to gain altitude without big works of architecture. Moreover, a tumult expresses very rightly the idea of returning to the earth where all of us come from. Let’s remember how many people in Ancient times were buried under piles of stones. The maid goes blind, with a bandage over her eyes; is it not Faith, blind?. We find a bush with yellow leaves, the colour of mysticism that together with white, makes the flag of the Vatican. Colours also have a great load of symbolism. Red stands for violence, white for purity, green for hope... In a Cemetery, we have to run away from colour explosions that could lead us to gladness. Likewise, excesses of darkness or black are to be avoided. The best combinations are green, white and grey. In the arm, holding the bronze cross, the stone suffers from the illness of exfoliation. The used stone was the soft potter's clay from the hill of Montjuïch. In the picture, a portrait of Enric Clarasó by his friend Ramon Casas. The latter is also an unavoidable character from the Catalan Modernism built up around the Cafeteria 4 Gats. In the Passeig de Gràcia is the Casa Vinçon. In the time it was the house of Ramon Casas and became a place where most of the influential people of the time let themselves be drawn. Ramon Casas always knew how to capture the psychology of the model. Also very interesting are some charcoal on paper portraits done by a teenager Picasso when he was in the 4 Gats. For sure, Picasso, Nonell, Casagemes and other young artist criticised the sculptors that where working in Montjuïch. These youngsters represent a new generation that refused angelical and pre-Raphaelite evasions from reality. They wanted to face death in a more crude way. They lived the dark side of “la Bohème”, the existential anguish generated by the changing times.
XII – Balague. Where we see an adolescent angel by Llimona, so quietly sitting down on the tomb. Is that aesthetic sensitivity, of an inwards emotion, what makes Barcelona’s cemetery so especial. The attitude projects sweetness thanks to the shaping of the figure with a flowing line: the hairs dressed after the typical modernist waving line and in the corners dropping leaves locking the tombstone with a natural touch... Achieving unity of sculpture with the base that supports it is one of the greatest contributions of the Modernisme to the History of Art. The boy doesn’t look like something attached but fits perfectly in his sitting place. This scene could happen in the real life; while a horse never would jump into a podium to become a monument to decorate a square.
Just in front of, stuck on the rock, we can find a big stone placard with the carved names of Francesc Rius i Taulet, Celestino Barallat, i Leandre Albareda. It is the commemorative placard dedicated to the opening of the Cemetery in 1883. Rius i Taulet was the mayor of Barcelona, promoter of many important projects directly influencing the growth of the city, as the very same graveyard and the Exhibition of 1888.
That event was key to the city. Now it is seen as the starting shot to all the Modernist fever that Barcelona lived for around 20 years. The success of the Universal Exhibition came to confirm the expansive chances that industrialisation opened to Catalonia. After the success of the 1888 Exhibition, since then, when Barcelona tries to redefine itself uses the formula of organising international events. The Exhibition left us the monument to Colom, the Passeig Colom, embellished the city with lights and palm trees and in the Parc de la Ciutadella some buildings from the time still can be seen. Rius i Taulet assumed the responsibility of the organisation of the Exhibition, after the original promoter abandoned because he had not the capacity and means for it. Barcelona could fall in shame before the whole world if the Exhibition was not ready for the time. As the Spanish Government rejected any fiscal help, Barcelona’s mayor had to sought the compromise of the Catalan capitalists. Very stubborn, moving earth and heavens, the mayor could lead finally a successful Universal Exhibition, with all the works ready at time for the Opening. As gate for the exhibition area was chosen the currently Arc de Triomf, though it is funny to remember that monsieur Eiffel proposed to the Council the tower that one year after was built in Paris.
XIII – We are facing the funerary monument paying honour to Blanco de Erenas. He was from the nobility and made a career in the military. The helmet and the epitaph express the ideals of honour of that member of the aristocracy.
That pantheon is a two facades one, with a good combination of oppositions with male and female angel figures back to back. J. Campeny injected a lively touch to these playful warden angels. The sculptor was able to chisel an instant of these creatures, as they would have been taken by a photo camera. The marquees Blanco de Erenas got the Office of “Capità General de Catalunya” in the last third of the 19th C. It was a time of social turmoil and political rows between Liberals and Right-wingers, of violent demonstrations, of the “Carlistas” Wars.
The followers of the Pretender Carlos, “carlistas”, had many followers in Catalonia and the Basque Country. It is due to the respect that the pretender Carlos promised to the Autonomy of Catalonia and the Basque Country. On the contrary, the Liberals or followers of the Queen Maria Cristina were up for a uniformisation of all Spain, with the same laws and duties, thus building a centralised State.
The military power always treated very rudely popular revolts, Trade Union strikes and Catalan Nationalist demonstrations. Blanco de Erenas was responsible of the huge repression Barcelona experienced since 1856. The reputation gained in Catalonia was considered a good background and Blanco de Erenas was promoted to assume the position of “Capitan general” in the last Spanish Colonies: Cuba (79-81) and Filipinas (93-96). Despite Blanco de Erenas assures in his tomb that: “I did what I had to do”, his receipt of violence and denial of any social and Catalanist claims, made the things worse. In the Colonies all ended up in the War of Cuba for its independence; while Catalonia went through the “Tragic Week”, a fiscal protest call the “closing up of cash-boxes” and the creation of the Catalanist party Solidaritat Catalana. The latter is a union of different Catalan parties that decided to join forces after the military ransacked two newspaper offices cause they made comics about the Military. In the Spanish elections Solidaritat Catalana won many seats and thus the Spanish Government agreed to give to Catalonia some kind of Autonomy, the so-called “Mancomunitat catalana”.
XIV – Torras. Once again Llimona is working for a Torras, though this time the angel is rather a fearful guardian. Modernisme is a very decorative style and one of the ways to achieve that is with the interweaving of Celtic inspiration. Celtic and Scandinavian manners open a whole range of possibilities for local artists, a bit tired of Greco-Latin examples. The never-ending knot of the Celts also express very good the idea of eternity of the ongoing regeneration of the matter. Having a look to the angel from behind we can see an iron bar holding the heavy wings.
XVI – The chapel of the Barbey Poinsard shows a style very common in the cemetery, Neogothic. Very few families risked for their mausoleums the extravagance of the waving curves of the Modernisme. Contrarywise, grave Gothicism was a sure investment as it was institutionalised as the religious and funerary art per excellence. Nevertheless even in the Neogothic pantheons one can find a playful and free line. It depends the degree of orthodoxy following that Gothicism that we go from full Gothicism to full eclecticism. Juli Barbey Poinsard was the president of the “Companyia d’Indústries agrícoles” and made a fortune with the sugar beet, with factories in Cuenca, Jalón and Épila. We can read “Qui credit in me etiam si mortus fuerit vivet” (who believes in me, though dead, shall remain alive). Engraving of messages comes to appease the sadness for losing the beloved ones. These engravings were also useful for the very same maecenas (the future resident of the tomb) that with time commissioned the house for eternity to the artist. Some other famous epitaphs are: “qui credet in me, habet vitam eternam” (who believes in me, eternal life shall have), “non obbit, abiit” (no dead, gone), RIP (rest in peace) and Roman sentences like “Sit tibi terra levis” (be the earth light for you).
a) – Palà Ferres. Angel lifting up a fearful girl, making very clear the carrying duty of these wing creatures. Very skilful was the sculptor as he injected movement into these figures. The long cloak hides the base where the pair stand up. Indeed it seems a they are taking off. The angel shows the efforts to start the flight while also communicates all the care given to this conduction of a human soul. The latter gave herself fully to her fate.
b) – To talk about the sepulchre of Mercedes Casas de Vilanova is to talk about the “Desconsol” (the affliction), one of the most celebrated sculptures of the Catalan Modernism. This girl whom we can’t see her face is one of the four elements making up this sepulchre. The stairs, the girl, the ghostly figure and the coffin, all are wrapped by some kind of falling-off, with round and curvy corners. Some years later, Joseph Llimona isolated the figure of the girl, undressing her to shape her in marble. This work is to be seen in the MNAC (National Art Museum of Catalonia) and one of the versions is right in front of the Catalan Parliament. A spider net covers the face of the sitting woman, an unexpected gloomy touch to the scene. We are attracted to the scene due to the effective play of opposites: youth versus elderly; cold resignation versus absolute grief.
Following up the path very decorative stand a pair of fènix dactilifera (very helpful to appease the sadness). Within the family of the palm trees the phoenix canariensis are very appropriate as there is no breaks in between trunk, branches and leaves. Together with the cypress tree the star tree of the cemeteries is the palm tree. Though we have to use it with moderation as the dark green of the cypress tree must dominate the scene. Let us remember how the palm tree always was a symbol for resurrection.
The very same name phoenix for Palm tree is very informative. The martyrs use to hold palm leafs, and in Easter the palm leafs is present in all celebrations. The meanings of flowers and vegetation is sometimes shared by different cultures, while sometimes the simbology of trees and plants can be very different. For the Chinese people the peach tree stands for eternity, while in the Christian graveyards fruity trees are almost out of sight.
The business of the Regordosa goes hand in hand with the recent history of the “Pont de Vilomara” village. There, making the most of the river current power, a cotton factory was installed. With the introduction of the Steam the factory went through some changes and the family start to split the investments taking shares in other companies (as rail companies). By the end of the 19th C. Catalonia was adopting modern ways of the Capitalism. It was the transition from family companies to Corporations playing in the Stock Exchange for capital. What here is known as “Societat Anònima” was the common formula to finance public works, infrastructure necessary to built up a modern Nation. Nobody wanted to risk too much and thus splitting the capital in many shares the required financial effort was shared by the industrialist of the time.
XVIII – Bonaplata’s Pantheon is a perfect example of the success & conquering vein of the burgess class. That man was one of the leading tycoons of the upper class.
Bonaplata was the owner of “La Maquinista Terrestre i Marítima”. When Catalonia and Barcelona was yet a rural country, the iron works of la “Maquinista Terrestre i Marítima” in Barcelona, supplied with irons to shipyards, rail companies, markets, buildings and industries. Bonaplata and the “Maquinista” factory were also actors in the main social rows that Catalonia went through the industrialisation. The anti-Trade union stand and total denial of any labour rights lead to Bonaplata to radical solutions like the Lock Out. To face the general strikes taking place in Barcelona since 1870, Bonaplata and his fellows did not hesitate to call the army for help in order to stop the working Class actions. The temple, which show classical lines is wrapped by a circular fence, and rising up a cubic masse crowned by a trapeze. We can see the symbol of the sun clock with wings, open reference to the limited span time of each of us, how life flies away. Quite high, the monument is crowned by a maid, holding a palm leaf in her hand, in winning attitude. She announces resurrection facing the sea, as if the wise business man still nowadays would say: there in the Port lies the economic wealth of Catalonia.
VII bis – Once again Santiago Rusiñol, accompanied by a Clarasó angel. That very human creature, holding a plume in the hand writing Eternity is the last homage from his friend sculptor. Almost yearly the trio Casas, Rusiñol and Clarasó exhibited their works in the Sala Parés Art Gallery. The angel, of uncertain sex, has a gorgeous eucalyptus behind. Looking at this tree comes to us some of the ideas people has about death. The tree’s height speaks about ascension, rising to heaven, metaphysical movement, spiralwise which is the shape of movement after Gaudí. As the tree loses its skin that tells us about the expiring condition of everything, how the things change to preserve the essential. Eucalyptus leaves are also useful from an aromatic point of view.
See this tomb. It has lost the name of the family. That is the first step of the Cemetery Board to do not renew the property to the heirs of the deceased. Next step is the following advert stick in the tombstone: “This sepulchre has been included in a list of eviction following article 66 of Cemetery laws. If you wish to keep the property, address yourself to the offices…”. Whether by agreement or silence the funerary properties can return to the Cemetery board, which depend from the Council. As one can have a car parking, a seat in the theatre or in a stadium, in the times, and still nowadays, to have a space in a graveyard is something valuable. As any market good, a funerary property is liable to be sold. In those cases is when the artistic stand of the sepulchre is at more risk.
XIX - Francisco Riviere Chavany. Despite the real engine of the Catalan industrialisation was Cotton, by the turn of the century the Catalan economy was quite diversify. Somehow, the needs of the Cotton industry help to the appearance of other industries. To weave it was needed wires and steel components. To make steel it is need iron and from that Catalonia has none. Imported from the Spanish province of Cantabria or from the Basque Country, here that iron was treated to make small pieces. One of the mightiest companies of the time was the one founded by a Frenchman who landed in Catalonia, Riviere Bonniton. Their sons Francisco and Fernando knew how to follow the market needs while calling for Protectionist laws as the maintenance of the last Spanish colonies, in order to have a sure market in which to put their products. Nowadays, Riviere S.A is one of the companies of the group CELSA, which is present in Cerdanyola del Vallès, Cantàbria, Wales and Poland.
XX – Josep Maria Gines sepulchre shows a very rare design, far from the typical lines of the Catalan Modernisme. The carved rose has much in common with the Mackintosh style from Glasgow. That is the principle of synthesis or simplifying the lines to get the essential, far from copycatting the real shapes of the flowers.
XXI – De la Riva’s pantheon, decorated both by Jujol brothers and Eusebi Arnau. These artists created a whole zoo of wicked beasts like the ones of the Medieval Bestiarium. The Modernist artist were of the side of the fear and mystery. In the Medieval Age, the Romanesque Art was making the most of fantastic and fearful monsters to capture the attention of the audience. The many expressionist gargoyles are in dialogue with each other in a tied theatre scene. When it came to be decorative, the so-called “horror vacui” was a usual option. The “horror vacui” (fear to the void) is right the opposite to nowadays minimalist. It is a temple of a Neogothic look and that can be seen even in the typography similar as the one it was used in the Middle Age. In the buttresses’ stand up angels of Eusebi Arnau, with a touch of light immateriality which was the artist’s trademark. This type of roof, with an eight sided tower and four or eight figures is quite common in the neogothesque temples.
XXII – The sculpture work of Nieto’s chapel was also made by the Jujol brothers. Once again we are talking about neogothic. The gothic lines gave prestige and splendour as the people associated that Art to a sound religion, the Roman Catholic one. And not by chance this temple is quite similar to the one next to it. The future afterlife neighbours copied from each other styles while also recommended artist and sculptors. And despite there is no artistic plan for the cemetery, some areas show a concentration of styles. Thus: the Modernist yard, the gothic yard, and so on. Mister Nieto was partner in the business of Coma, Ciuró i Cros, a cotton factory in Salt, in the banks of the river Ter. That river, together with the Llobregat and Cardener, was one of the main axes of the Catalan industrialisation. The Cotton businesses went through different crisis as the “cotton hunger”, consequence of the lost of the colonies which lead to difficulties of cotton import. In the last decades of the 20th C. as the dinosaurs, most of the textile companies disappeared. Nowadays, the industrial factories which show the birth of the revolution ideals of the working class, are reconverted in public facilities for the enjoyment of culture.
XXIII – Simón Font, Arturo; Simon Font, Francisco. That could be perfectly Jujol’s yard. When an artist was working in a Pantheon, he was also preparing a showcase for potential clients. Besides the sculptural work of the Jujols the building itself is from Domènech i Estapà (unfairly known as the “bad” as we also have the famous Domenech i Muntaner). Domenech i Estapà is the one of the Water Towers, the old Gas Natural company headquarters, the Palace of Justice, and partially the Palace Muntaner. We see the central decorative role of the front rose. Simon surname goes hand by hand with the surname Muntaner, to thus make Muntaner & Simon, the biggest Publishing Company back then. Once again, as happen with the textile, we have to talk about rivers. But in this case the water element was seek not for power but to make the paper paste. Starting off with just a book shop, afterwards Francisco in association with the Muntaner widened the business to the production. The picture corresponds to the Muntaner & Simó publishing Company. What is nowadays the Fundació Tapies was once a place with 240 workers and 21 machines, production, administration and management in three floors. The funny thing is that the architect, Domenech i Muntaner, was a nephew of one of the owners. This publishing company, also with investment in South America, played a key role in wide spreading Art Noveau in Catalonia. Their illustrated editions are nowadays very worthy pieces of art, prime examples of binding.
XXIV – In Padró’s tomb, who was commander in the Merchant Navy, the symbols of his profession are obvious. Maritime transport was a key element in the economic growth of the time, exporting the Catalan goods to the last Spanish Colonies overseas. Despite the anchor could refer us to the deceased’s profession, this sea tool also turns into a religious symbol. Notice how the anchor has a cross shape while its function for the ships talks about the soundness of the faith and to be good anchored to don’t get lost in the unknown territory of the afterlife.
c) – Walking through this path looking at this flat sepulchres with rich typography (waving line coming out from the principle of the crack of whip), is like dropping into another Social Class. Likewise Society is divided in Social Classes and categories within the later, a cemetery shows also a clear social stratification. So that would be the street of the petite bourgeois, with individual tombs bigger than a niche but smaller than the great pantheons of the Upper Class. The Working Class only could afford niches while the Outcast or the victims of political reprise went with their bones to common graves. (Nearby there is the common grave “Fossar de la Pedrera” paying honour to our martyr president Josep Companys, as well as the International brigades and other freedom fighters). Climbing through the sepulchres, the ivy, also sometimes chiselled. That way to embrace death with intense green serves the propose to express the immortality of the Soul. Druids used this plant in their rites and it was believed a good defence against bad spirits. Ivy is also connected to the tree of life, the one who was in the Eden’s Garden. At the end of the Bible we find once again the tree of life: “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saint to the churches. To those who win I will give them to eat from the tree of life that is in the middle of the Paradise”.
XXV – Portabella, as so many families in this cemetery made a fortune with the cotton. In 1861 Pere Portabella had a shop in Duc de la Victòria Street and by 1890 he had a factory in Barcelona’s New Town, the Eixample. Before us a sober temple of Doric style with friezes engraved of Hellenistic style. That is a curious work of Enric Clarasó, who is more known by his three-dimensional works. The subject of the four friezes is the funerary rites of ancient Greece. Over the threshold an oil lamp expresses the idea of light in the darkness till reaching the ecstasy of God’s contemplation. Also we can see an “ouroborus”, snake biting its own tale, being from mythology present in cultures from all over the world. Head and tale, the beginning and the end, a continuous and never-ending wheel, life and death meet together.
XXVI – Seeing the Pantheon of Olano Iriondo family we can understand the patronage role of the rich people of the time. Their big expenditure, no doubt for their own interest, made possible a rich and diverse artistic decoration. A total of three sculptors participated in this pantheon, each of them giving their own accent, ending all in a eclectic work of gothic reminiscences and an horror vacui fever. José Olano Iriondo was a Basque who came to live to Barcelona. He was a shipper who also run a coal mine in Fígols. His interest for the mine lead him to enter in the rail track business, planning the rail line Manresa-Guardiola de Berguedà in order to feed the steam machines of the cotton factories. The son of José was awarded with the title of Earl of Fígols (and in the same trip the king took also the chance to make earl to Sir Güell). Then, the rich people wanted to dress their name with a shield of nobility. The family Güell had the following device: “Yesterday peasant, today Sir”. Let’s pay attention to those little angels, so rococo, holding phylacteries with the titles of fides (faith) and spes (hope). Also notice the rich symbology of the gargoyles as the seahorse, playing with the cypress leafs.
Why all this collection of animals in fearful attitudes? It could be a kind of protection to keep away foreign elements, desecrations. In the façade, a representation of Lord’s resurrection while the Roman soldiers slept. As happen with miracles, the resurrection of God’s son is the ultimate prove for Christians on the existence of life after death.
XXVII - Merceditas Vives i Casañes tomb shows the manners of the very same architect of the cemetery, Leandre Albareda. He was up for heavy volumes though lightened by curvy forms, as clearly can be seen in the base of the temple, easily sitting down on earth. Leandre Albareda got married with a daughter of the President Macià (the first Catalan President of the Modern era). The so called grandpa was an epic character who restored the Generalitat (Government of Catalonia since the Middle Ages). Thousands of people gave the last good bye to the “grandpa” in one of the more massive funerals Catalonia has seen. The funerals of the poet Mossen Cinto Verdaguer, Antoni Gaudí and the anarchist Durruti also saw large numbers of citizens crying or paying homage to those great men.
XXVIII – In the pantheon of the Ubios y Ibarra we see a sculpture of the most renown sculptor of the second half of the 19th century, Agapit Vallmitjana. His works, as the ones of his brother Venanci, have the traces of the Roman “savoir fair”: the classical cannon, the earnest, dignity and stillness. That option, by early 20th C. was a bit old-fashioned and conservative. In the first modern graveyard of Barcelona (Poble Nou) the Vallmitjana brothers made much works of art. But maybe, his most famous piece is the sculpture land marking the entrance to the “Palau de Pedralbes”, the queen Isabel II presenting the baby who became king Alfonso XII.
The Vallmitjana brothers were the link in between the orthodox Neoclassicism of Damià Campeny and the Modernist generation. The old as teachers of the young, in the school of Art “la Llotja”, the pupils taking the best of the distinguished masters to create something new and original. Looking at the interior of that Neogothic temple one can appreciate a great work of stain glass window. That craft was broadly developed in this time. The thoughtful maids represent the cardinal virtues, which are: temperance (sheathed sword), prudence (mirror), justice (sword and balance) and strength (lion’s skin). Also in some pantheons are visible allegories of the theology virtues, those given to us by God: faith, hope and charity.
XXIX – Manuel Malagrida Fontanet was born in Olot and there, thanks to his fortune, pushed forward the Enlargement of the city. In Olot he built upon the ideas of City-garden that Ildefons Cerdà tried to develop in Barcelona (la ciutat comtal). Established in the capital, Malagrida, managed from his palace in the avenue Passeig de Gràcia his business of Tobacco trade.
This pantheon communicates perfectly the ideas of domination and conquering (from heaven also?) from one of the greatest tycoons of the time. The eagle, a well known symbol for empire, is combined with the verticality of the stone masse, launching our regard and the name of Malagrida up to the sky. Very classical slightly softened by curvy touches. Eagles in attitude of taking off, landmarks the imperial attitude of the son of Olot.
XXX – Juan Flo Escudé commissioned one of the most noteworthy funerary pieces in the cemetery, simple but full loaded of sensitiveness. Leaning on a rounded box with floral decoration, rest a maid. It is the idea of capturing an instant of tender grief, melancholy. This adolescent lifts her eyes looking to the sky while her hands are in praying position. This sculpture, beyond turning into a prime example of naturalism, also shows the new way to face the death and the mourning, more humane, displacing the religious feeling to a second ground. Notice that the tombstone beneath is out of place. There is no danger that the remains get lost, as the bones are underground. Therefore, visible open-air sepulchres are in most of the cases just decorative.
XXXI – In the Gener pantheon, we can appreciate the style developed by one of the greatest and busiest sculptors of the time, Josep Reynes. As he was not of the Modernist trend he is a bit forgotten nowadays, but his work shows a great personality. His Realism is closer to the heavy Greek ropes, than to the ethereal veils of the modernist girls.
His chisel was able to confer dignity and transcendentalism to the faces in standing up and frontal positions. Inside, the remains of Heribert Gener and family. That man was manager of a textile factory powered with steam. He suffered an attack in the very same factory, in Vilanova. By late 19th C. the Trade Union was an organised movement. The UGT was founded in 1888 to defend the construction workers from the 1888 Universal Exhibition. And by early 20th C. anarchist ideas and ways had much support in Catalonia. A trend within the Anarchism was up to violent actions in order to achieve social justice and egalitarianism. The Radical Party, also known as lerrouxista after the surname of its leader, often called for violent actions and the burning of churches. The terrorism was also promoted by the employers, who contracting gangsters to kill the Trade Union leaders tried to put an end to the Working Class claims. That social unrest was completed by unfair imprisonment, cruel tortures and executions in the castle of Montjuïch. One of the fathers of the modern school, Francesc Ferrer i Guardia paid for all the turmoil of the “Setmana Tràgica” (Tragic week) when he was shot by the authorities in Montjuïch in 1909. These were the times of “the city of the bombs”. Once again a Neogothic proposal warded by grave maids, with the attributes of the crucifixion, as the nails and the pike. But despite all the solemnity of the grave Gothicism, in the temple there is also place for playful life thanks to the Modernist wrought iron cross crowning the building.
XXXII – Outstanding tomb the one of the Santacreu-Roig where Enric Clarasó brought our sculpture to the summit of intemporal Art, the one that never turns old-fashion. Muscular strain, flesh, strength, induction to the audience to believe in the immediate strike of the sculpture, Memento Homo. “Memento homo, quia pulvis es et in pulverem reverteris”. Remember man how in the early times we use to cave our own graves to our beloved ones. Remember man how all us we will end as dust reintegrated in the earth.
See how the buttresses supporting the terraces are made with piles of non carved stone. Is not that an excellent way to give a natural character to the cemetery, with a discrete human intervention?. To our sight the stones open a joyful chromatic play, to ease our eye from the monochromatic condition of sepulchres and asphalt paths. Lights and shadows at play, together with the different colours of construction materials and nature make possible a nice walk.
XXXIII – Baltasar Fortuño y Ferrús- Emilia Rios i Berrios. A maid angel with clear feminine curves and a face expression of gladness looking forward to heaven to a new bright life. In her hands are the symbols of the palm leaf and the poppies. That is a work of Josep Campeny. He enjoyed much prestige and never lacked jobs to do, probably due to his skill to bring together the earnest of Classicism with the dreaming condition of the Modernism.
XXXIV – Campassol i Borrell. There, a common model for sepulchre: an angel standing up over a podium around a pillar. His body is stretched in spiral, with a serious face, much aware of how grave and solemn is this moment when one is awarded with access to Heaven. Another interpretation is to see this angel as a guardian with defiant attitude to make sure that nobody will annoy the quietness of the deceased.
Great backdrop the one of the cypress trees. With them we can create wide screens or corridors bringing our sight to the end of the paths. The so-called “punts de fuga” are the best places to locate monumental pantheons.
XXXV – Clarà. He was one of the best sculptors of the generation after the modernists. From the light forms, a flowing and tender line we go to sound volumes and some geometrisation of the body; that was what has been defined as Mediterranism. The later is a sculpture trend within a broad philosophy movement called Noucentisme. Eugeni d’Ors was the herald of this new aesthetic outlook. The main idea that the Noucentisme put on to dethrone the Modernism was the following: the real Catalan character is far from the sensualist forms of the Modernism. Here, the culture always was Mediterranean, as the Greeks, all more serious and balanced. A new prototype of female beauty was put on, the “ben plantada” (thicker, tanner than the slim pale modernist girls). The ideas of the Noucentisme were taken by public authorities (Mancumunitat or Catalan Government of the times) and some of the best examples are the monumentalisation of Plaça Catalunya and the buildings of the Mercat de les Flors). As we keep walking upward through the cemetery we get closer to this new conception of the arts.
XXXVI – Family Guarro; who built a fortune with paper factories in Torre de Claramunt, Capellades, a village with much tradition in this industry. Still standing there, there is a Paper mill from the 18th C. The Guarro “empire” had 52 paper mills Spain wide. In the mouths of many smokers, the papers produced in the paper factories of the Guarro. Their first office in Barcelona was in the carrer Ample and with their growth they move the headquarters to Via Laietana, a building designed by Puig i Cadafalch. (That is a very sober work, matching with the Napoleon III imperial style of the whole avenue. Nowadays the building is the savings bank “Caixa d’Ingenyiers” next to the “Caixa de Catalunya”).
XXXVII –Alomar Estrany. Let’s remember how important was then the Chemist sector to feet the agriculture with fertilisers and the textile industry with bleach to colour the fabric. Alomar & Uriach, as so many companies till late 20th C. had their headquarters in the old town. This company had offices and depots in the palace Dalmases in the very noble carrer Montcada.
Before the coldness of a sepulchre of clear geometrical lines, a vital androgen angel by Llimona. He seems waiting for the deceased waking up to bring him to the kingdom of God. The whole piece shows a cut in steps like a pyramid, always useful to communicate the idea of ascension.
XXXVIII – Perfect example of Neoegyptian mausoleum. In the times we are covering, the discovering of the ancient Egypt was a great influence to redefine the social perception of death. Also a great input for the artist was the Egypt of the Pharaohs both in architecture forms as with new elements of symbology, as bees and beetles. The Judaeo-Christian belief in life after death is inheritor of the Ancient Egypt. Let’s remember the practices of embalm where heart and other organs where preserved in canopied vases to be used in the afterlife. The small boats placed in the sarcophagus where used to travel through the underworld; while the “book of the death” was the guide to know how to behave in the unknown. The name Mausoleum comes from the gigantic sepulchre that the satrap Mausolo made build for him, in what is nowadays Turkey, by the 4th century B.C. In ancient times was one of the seven wonders and nowadays the term is used to define any tomb of remarkable size. The other term used to descry big and rich sepulchres is Pantheon. Its etymology talk us about “many=pan” and “god=theos”. The circular walled and domed building of Rome with that name was the temple dedicated to all planetary gods.
XXXIX – Felix Valls i Taberner was one of the greatest in the cotton sector. His Company had the name of “Manufactures Valls” and had a industrial colony in the banks of the river Cardener, in Palà de Torroella, a village nowadays known as “Colònia Valls”.
Around 60 families worked and lived there. The spread of industrial colonies obeys mainly to it location, next to the rivers where to find power for the weaving machines. (The coal for the steam machines had to be imported, with the consequent negative influence on the profit of the factory). A second factor to opt for industrial colonies was the social peace. In big cities like Barcelona, the workers could easily find socialists and anarchist-revolutionary ideologies and action strategies. The Valls i Taberner family still is nowadays an important clan in the Catalan industrial fabric. They are the bankers of the “Banco Popular”. Once again we are before a Neogothic chapel, which links good with the conservative character of a cotton industrialist. In the summit of the chapel stands up an angel with sword in hand and a hard and steady attitude. The pantheons’ roofs are excellent watchtowers for the seagulls, real lords of this domain.
XL – Nicolau Juncosa . Fearful representation of a secular image of the last moment in the life of oneself. As we can see in the death’s dance represented in the village of Verges, the dame of the scythe saves no one
(nemini parco) as the time is short (“lo temps es breu”) written in one of the standards of the skeletons dancing in the Parade of Verges. Death embraces the chosen one with a shawl in a great work of chiselling creating a seemingly transparency of the stone. The man, so down, seems as he has already given up, prey of her new companion. And to recreate exactly the main facial traits of mister Juncosa, the sculptor used the technique of the “death mask”, a wet rope on the face of the deceased all covered with plaster till gets dry. At its turn, the stele shows how proud the burgess people were of their deeds in life. In a very low relief we can see a urban scene with depots and chimneys from factories.
Mister Andreu i Grau also invested in the real estate business. While Barcelona suffered from cyclical epidemics, residential areas outside the city were very welcomed by the upper class. Another argument to get away from the city centre was the turmoil of the Tragic Week, when for three days, the rich people of Barcelona, didn’t abandoned their homes fearing for their life. From a health and from a revolutionary point of view, Barcelona was too dangerous. Knowing that, the residential areas of Park Güell and Avinguda Tibidabo were planned. The Doctor Andreu, as promoter of the Avinguda Tibidabo, was very successful because the area could be reached by public transport and the residential area had the street as backbone. Contrary wise, the new semi-Arcadia planned for the Park Güell was a failed development.
Joaquim Malagarrida was the representative in Catalonia of the so-called Cleveland Gas. These were times when the cities started to get public light in the street by the City Council. As the oil and petrol were put aside, the new option was the gas, coming out from a coal treatment (as the factory placed in the Barceloneta). But despite all the efforts of Malagarrida the business man who won the call for tenders was a Frenchman living in Barcelona, Lebon.
The headquarters of his company were in a prominent building in Gran Via cornering with Balmes street. But let’s pay attention to the trumpet remembering some verses of the Apocalypses from St. John the evangelist, final stage of the moral book which is the Bible. In the Revelation, chapter eight, we are talk about the disasters right before the final judgement. “And I saw seven angels standing in the presence of God: and there were given to them seven trumpets… And the first angel sounded the trumpet: and there followed hail and fire, mingled with blood: and it was cast on the earth. And the third part of the earth was burnt up: and the third part of the trees was burnt up: and all green grass was burnt up”. The trumpet is suspected of another meaning, that of being a representation of the soul, as the breath flies out from the trumpet.
The Bible is one of the favourite books when it comes to choose an epitaph. There are many passages that in a mysterious tone call the attention over death, and the one of Job and the Psalms is a basic one. Job 7: “Remember that my life is but wind, and my eye shall not return to see good things. Nor shall the sight of man behold me: thy eyes are upon me, and I shall be no more. As a cloud is consumed, and passeth away: so he that shall go down to hell shall not come up. Job 19: “For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and in the last day I shall rise out of the earth.26 And I shall be clothed again with my skin, and in my flesh I shall see my God”.
XLVI – Esteve Monegal built his fortune thanks to the import of cotton from America. That was the main raw material which need the Catalan industrialisation. After trading with cotton, the importer enter also in the business of the manufacturing as he purchased a factory of fabric in Casserres. The son of Esteve, Josep Monegal i Nogués, was Mayor of Barcelona at the beginning of the century and as some other industrialists he also build a textile industrial colony. Hydraulic power, paternalism, the will to move away the workers from Trade Union temptations, were the main reasons for the industrial colonies’ spread. The Monegal saga are still present in our daily life thanks to the perfumes from the brand Myrurgia. The circle stele has some Celtic appearance and stands on a sound base. Despite being of a discrete size and no great architecture intervention, this tomb calls powerfully the attention of the wanderer. That is thanks to the deep magnetism of the essential forms of the old Cosmovision, a cross within a circle. Before Columbus and Copernicus it was believed that God sat down on a throne an at his feet a dome, which was the sky. The later was a circle and was comprising a square, which was the Earth. From the centre of that the earth’s navel was to be found. And from the later a fundamental axis was fixing earth and sky while four rivers, four winds (the cross) had also the earth’s navel as the origin. This stele, with pine trees and bushes around is framed by two caves at both sides. This way to urbanise the space can be defined as troglodyte, and matches perfectly with the idea of Holly Wood where people were buried before becoming urbanites.
In the Revelation Chapter 20 we can read: “And I saw the dead, great and small, standing in the presence of the throne. And the books were opened: and another book was opened, which was the book of life. And the dead were judged by those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead that were in it: and death and hell gave up their dead that were in them. And they were judged, every one according to their works. 14 And hell and death were cast into the pool of fire. This is the second death. 15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the pool of fire”. Concerning the sculpture, the playful and spontaneous positions of the figures is one of the trademarks of the Modernist style. Despite Josep Campeny was rather classic, in this work we can tell the influence of the Modernism.
e) – The sepulchre of Bertrand Montserrat has the undeniable trace of Josep Llimona. A loving mother holds a baby in each of her arms, so delicate, folded hair in undulation, sheer feminine idealisation. The serious look of Josep Llimona is right the contrary from the sweetness he was able to give to her maternities. A liver illness and the lost of her wife with 36 years shaped a shy and suffering character of one of the greatest sculptors of all times.
XLVII – Maucci, with a book in his hand, as he was the man from the Maucci Publishing company. This time we are talking about an Italian entrepreneur that after some businesses in Argentina ended in Barcelona to built a little empire. His publishing company was the source of books that loaded not only shelves in Catalonia but also in America.
Next to the aforementioned tomb we find this one that has lost the name of the deceased. But the lying angel, looking up to heaven joyful, has not forget the name of his protected. It is the very sheer relaxation of someone who is sure that will enter in Heaven. Taking part in the vitalist scene: herbs, leaves, branches, even the spider net covering the face of the young, the tombstone and the rustic cross.
XLIX – Carmen Macià, widow of Serrat, a very austere sepulchre piece with crying woman embraced to the tombstone. The round lines of the figure helps to ease the sharp angles of the sarcophagus (the eater = phagos / of the flesh = sarx). The cloak’s hut that covers the face of the crying woman increases the weight of the sadness, while her upwards regard comes to communicate the connexion earth-heaven. Maybe she is asking the almighty to bring back to life the dead. The position of the woman, slightly vertical and uneasy makes a great contrast with the quiet horizontality of the sepulchre. Contrast like movement-stillness, verticality-horizontality is one of deep schemes of most of the sepulchres.
L – Here we have a type of sepulchre quite common to see when beyond the function of buring someone, there is also the will to make a monument. Namely, on a base the bust of the person to be remembered. We can read: “Barcelona a su hijo adoptivo” (Barcelona, to his adopted son). Pascual Madoz was a politician from mid 19th C. (much before the times we are covering in this essay). As Finance Minister he brought forward the Laws of sale of Church lands (desamortització de Mendizabal). With that operation the tithe was abolished and many lands and urban properties were taken out from Church ownership. In Barcelona for example, up to 80% of Church properties were freed and in the place were churches or convents were standing up, Food-Markets, Theatres or Squares were erected. As a lawyer Pascual Madoz also lobbied hard for one of the greatest achievement of the country’s agriculture. “El canal d’Urgell” (a canal diverting water from the Segre river to water the lands of Urgell county) came to solve the secular wheat deficit from Catalonia. Our man is also known for writing the “Diccionario geográfico de España”. Despite he died abroad and decades before opening the present cemetery, it was a popular money collect, who made posible the removal of his bones and the building of this tomb-monument. Beyond paying honour for someone gone, this kind of posthumous remembering are also propaganda for the political fight, in this case a great liberal politician to annoy the conservative followers.
The perspective created by the cypress trees lead our eyes to a tomb that later we will comment. As a majestic vegetal high corridor, the sharp tops of the trees filter the sunbeams, lighting in the right measure this peaceful yard and its delicate inhabitants.
Modernisme, perfectly symmetrical, with stairs at both sides and all toped by an angel from the sculptor Atché that give a whole pyramid form to the pantheon. The flight of steps brings us the idea of laden. In Jacob’s dream he saw angels running up and down through this laden that connects underworld, the world of the alive, and heaven. In this case seems clear that the direction will be upwards as the angel’s finger pinpoints. Remarkable also the brightness from the marble flat stones over a seemingly brick structure. Getting closer we can see the pantheons underground. The pantheons are therefore (due to hygienic reasons) of the hypogeum type (hypo means down and geo earth).
LV – For Eduardo Puig i Valls was chosen the theme of the angel carrying the soul for whom the gates of Heaven are open. Despite the deceased was not a girl, an innocent adolescent virgin fits perfectly to express the idea of purity of who, clear of sins, shall won a place in Heaven. The family Puig i Valls with the lawyer Marià leading the clan, are linked the coal mines of the Berga area. They were shareholders and promoters of the train line Manresa-Berga, thought as an artery which could feed the factories alongside with coal. The family solidarity focused always in benefiting the own family business, can be seen in the studies of Forest Engineer in which Rafael Puig i Valls enrolled. But let’s remember that the coal mines of Berga never fulfilled the expectations. Catalonia continued being dependent on the coal from Asturias (north Spain) and Wales. Concerning the train network apart from the line Bcn-Mataró also important was the line Reus-Tarragona. Reus was in those times the second Catalan city, so proud with its motto Reus-Paris-London. In these three markets the price of the liqueur was established since the 18th century. With the phiylloxera plague ruining Reus hinterland, the agriculture switched the vineyards for hazelnut exploitations. One hundred years ago, the most modernised axes were along the rivers Llobregat, Ter and Cardener and along the littoral, specially in the Maresme county and around Reus.
In the Port of Barcelona are loaded and unloaded nearly 45 million tones of goods, there is a traffic of 2 million containers, and 1’2 million crew shippers come every year to the terminals next to the World Trade Centre. The name “Porta d’Europa” (Europe’s Gate) chosen for the lifting bridge that started an ongoing strategic plan for the Port, tells us about the will of the Port managers. Together with València and after Algeciras Port, Barcelona’s haven is the most important of the Iberian Peninsula. With the Delta Plan the current surface will be doubled with new esplanades and wharfs. The oncoming replacement of the Spanish rail width to the European width will also help the intermodal competitiveness of this engine of the economic growth.
This little hill remains us those clearings in the middle of the forest where the Celtic druids celebrated their ritual ceremonies. This uplift platform for the rest of Leandre Albareda´s soul is such an homage to one of the promoters of the cemetery and to his designer. Seems as the very same Albareda would be proudly looking at his work, watching over that all stays right in this city of the dead.
The pantheon-monument dedicated to Leandre Albareda was made by Antoni Rovira, the architect of some Food-markets in Barcelona like the ones of Barceloneta, Concepció, St. Antoni, besides the Wax Museum which in the times was the site of Banc de Barcelona. In this tomb seems clear the influence of the egyptism, with the obelisk standing on a circular base. Such a sharp form lead our sight up to the sky, towards heaven, terminal and everlasting station of the chosen ones.
For the Catholics the career to heaven starts in earth where the seed of the good deeds shall be awarded in the day of the final judgement. Other religions, like the Calvinist consider that all is beforehand already written down, predetermined. During the life, one only can search for signs, indications to reckon if one shall be a chosen one. The Presbyterian Church has recently soften this stand due to its severity, and has indulged that all children shall won heaven for sure.
The phylactery over the sitting angel shows a gothic typography and is a declaration of intentions. The audience must know the deceased’s life, miracles and deeds, his contribution to the progress of the city. This pantheon, as the ones of other important people of the time, goes beyond its religious function. It is a publicity tool, a display of greatness, to transmit ideology.
When it came to design Montjuïch´s graveyard much studying attention was paid to other cemeteries. Likewise happen with the general design of Barcelona’s New Town. His father, Ildefons Cerdà, looked closer to the planning and measures of other New Towns around the world. After Celestino Barallat, gardener of the new graveyard, Paris’ Cemeteries were bad examples. Both Perè Lachaise as Montmatre were “piles” of stones. Graveyards from the United States, like New York, Baltimore, Boston, Philadelphia o Cincinnati, were good examples, the right models to learnt from. The green pre-eminence and much room in between sepulchres was the rule to apply. In some graveyards in USA also are common small lakes with lotus flowers on the surface. Beyond a pleasant walk, a lake also leads us to the supreme sailing, the transition from this, to another life crossing a lake with a boat. The Greeks did not go straight up to heavens but through an underground lake. Aquatic plants come to represent the boat for transportation. Indeed, the lotus flower was central in the Egyptian theology and for Hinduism and Buddhism it is still very important. A flower born from the mud, opening itself clean... what makes us think that? Besides, its aroma was also very appreciated in the ancient burial practices to purify the atmosphere. Inside Tutankhamen sarcophagus were found some remains of this flower.
Following the path we find a weeping willow, with its falling branches, down… This resin coming out from the trunk, are not the tears of who is crying for the lost of the beloved one?
LVIII – Gironella, where lion’s hoofs hold an austere sarcophagus. The lion is one of the animals more repeated in the Christian iconography. In the free standing sepulchres inside churches and cathedrals, at the feet of nobles and kings used to be a lion, as symbol of strength. In Romanesque churches we also see sometimes lions swallowing humans. There is no birth, nor death without a traumatically transition from one state to the other. Thus, the Man- eating monster comes to represent the unavoidable tunnel to walk to start a new life.
g) – Exceptional subject for a cemetery Saint George is, and this one even more atypical, as an archaic Georgos, far from the typical knight. He is dressed with a light armour and holds a dagger and not a lance or a sword.
He is almost naked, and evil is not a dragon but wear fat alligator. This Llimona sculpture is such an exercise of virtuosism: the body position achieving balance through counterweight, and our hero so serene despite the transcendence of having killed the beast, that lifeless, overcomes the boundaries of the podium, linking the sculpture’s upper part with the architecture underneath.
LIX – The Boada family chose an eclectically chapel, a wrapping under a Neogothic skeleton, and all commanded at the top with a prominent angel. He is bearing a sword and a crown and he is dressed with an exotic Persian costume. The discovering then of many old civilizations from different continents was helping to the renovation of the arts, to bring some new ideas and elements into scene. The basic idea of what was Fine Arts was abandoned. (beyond Greek and roman stuff it was a broad Art landscape to discover). We can see the “crismó”, anagram for “Iesus Xhristos” in Greek. Besides, the cross as the Christian sign per excellence also can be read as a tree with underground roots, growing up to the altitudes, and one day from its fallen fruits new life will be born.
To appreciate, the skill of J. Reynes to load his angels and allegories with a deep spirituality, so thus exposing the audience who saw the statues to a sound respect for the unknown. The Neogothic option tell us about the high selfconsideration of the client. Once again, the cypress trees at the background create a great scenario.
LXIII – Federico Carreras de Campa with a characteristic angel by Rafael Atché, well body built though with a face full of sensitivity. On the temple’s wall we can read a Bible’s passage: “Have mercy of me, have mercy at least...”
The angel opens a book, the one of the deed’s, the key to enter in Heaven. Another way to read this book, is that the later is the book of the seven seals, described in St. John’s Apocalypse, announcing the Final Judgement… “And I saw, in the right hand of him that sat on the throne, a book, written within and without, sealed with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel, proclaiming with a loud voice: Who is worthy to open the book and to loose the seals thereof? And no man was able, neither in heaven nor on earth nor under the earth, to open the book, nor to look on it. And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open the book, nor to see it. And one of the ancients said to me: Weep not: behold the lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David, hath prevailed to open the book and to loose the seven seals thereof. And I saw: and behold in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures and in the midst of the ancients, a Lamb standing, as it were slain, having seven horns and seven eyes: which are the seven Spirits of God, sent forth into all the earth. And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat on the throne.” That is the outbreak of the end of the world, when sins will be judged. The noble dress of the figure leads us to thinks that we are before an angel and not before a representation of Jesus Christ. Anyway, this and other holly figures are chiselled in white stone as that colour is the best to communicate the idea of purity. We see both the expensive marble and in other occasions the “blancatxa”, soft stone from this very same hill of Montjuïch. The later, opposite to the grey potter's clay also from some quarries in Montjuïch, is very soft and therefore easy to be attacked by erosion with the run of the time.
LXIV – We have in this pantheon another representative from the Publishing Industry, linked with a land watered by rivers (and its water needed to make the paper paste). The history of Joan Bastinos is that of a self-made men, a son of a craftsman, that could enter as trainee in a printing Workshop, then he got married with the daughter’s owner, then inherited the business and he made it bigger and bigger. Most of the school books of the time came from his printing machines.
The Art Deco in Catalonia was cut short by the prestige that enjoyed the Noucentisme style, protégé of the political party Lliga Regionalista. Vallès i Ribot was MP of the Federalist party of Pi i Maragall, one of the four presidents of the short lived 1st Spanish Republic. From Catalonia Vallès i Ribot shaped a political option based in the republicanism and leftism trying to overcome the rightwing Lliga and the radical opportunism of the Lerrouxisme. It was not a very successful operation but in the long run the ideology workout and the experience gained helped two decades afterwards to give birth to the political party ERC.
Modernism. Once again an example of the means and values of the middle-high Class of the Barcelona of the times. At some distance a twisted iron bar and in each of the ends a Catalan flag (senyera) stretched on the ground; the burial place of Jacint Verdaguer. Mossen (priest) Cinto Verdaguer was a very popular person then, and not only due to great poetry and novels as “l’Atlàntida” and “Canigó”. His breakage with the almighty López family, after working for them as personal priest, expresses the interclass strains from the times. The personal conflict Antonio López versus Cinto Verdaguer is like the working class struggle, that overcoming the patron’s submission in the form of the paternalism, starts to be organised in Trade Unions, to demand Rights using the tool of strikes; and as answer there is nothing but an absolute denial by the upper and dominant class that does not want to get rid of the privileges that enjoys, making imposible to reach a decent Social Justice. In the crossing of Passeig de St Joan with Diagonal there is the monument dedicated to the peoples’ poet, to whom thousands of people paid the last homage in his burial day.
i) – In the tomb of Josep Domingo Foix we see how Modernisme was still surviving in the 30s. One of the achievements of the Modernist sculpture was to show female nudity, even in something so chaste as the funerary Art. For some artists, specially for the catholic ones associated in the “Cercle artístic de Sant Lluc”, the question of the female nudity was not easy to handle. Most of the artists who worked in this cemetery were members of the aforementioned association, which also run as Art school. The architect Enric Sagnier and the sculptor Josep Llimona played a very active role in the “Cercle artístic de Sant Lluc”. In the first years, classes of naked models were prohibited. When finally nudity was accepted, that was done only for the male members. Female artist could not draw naked male models.
Looking to the pedestrian as in levitation before the column a triumphant angel as an apparition. Also quite remarkable the interaction of colours, plants, stone materials and metallic ones. Colours are meaning loaded, an here the yellow of a bush communicate us mysticism.
k) - Jaime Puncernau was one of those Catalans who despite emigrating to Cuba always had in his heart his motherland. Notice the chiselled Catalan flag behind the piece. Therefore, and thanks to the fortune gained in America, he asked to be buried in this cemetery. Maybe he developed his affection for Art visiting the Cemetery of La Habana. We can read: “Aixecat per albacea de finado en cumplimiento de su última voluntad” (built by the deceased’s representative complying his last wish). The date of the sepulchre is 1916. Then, the Modernisme was being substituted by contending Art deco and Noucentisme. Nevertheless the figure still bears that naturalism and spontaneity characteristic of the Modernism vein, with a clear symbol of the everlasting sleep, the fence’s opium cast in iron. In the background a torch suggest purification through the fire; and almost hided but centred an ourobourus, already commented.
Impressive gigantic stele dedicated to the Frenchmen and Spanish died in the II World War. Around the stately monolith roots come out the earth. Plants and trees can turn into touching effects that wake up the senses of the cemetery’s wanderer. Trees growing next to a tomb are the best materialisation of life’s regeneration. About the subject of the metamorphosis the ancient Greeks gave us the story of Philemon and Baucis. Zeus and Hermes, just before the Flood fell into the world, decided to prove Humanity to check if there was somebody worthy to be saved from destruction. They wandered dressed as beggars, looking for hospitality. Nobody welcome them into their houses, no compassion for those unknown poor people. Only when reaching Phrygia they were warmly welcomed in a humble house of straw. An elderly couple were living in this house. Despite the guests looked so poor the foreigners were treated in the best way, and to them were given the best dishes: flesh and fruits of the forest. When Philemon was at the edge to kill the last remaining goose, the Gods revealed up their true identity. Then the Gods brought the loving couple up to the summit of the highest of the mountains from where to contemplating the flooded world. In that summit the Gods built a palace for the couple and asked them for a wish to be fulfilled. The elderly couple asked Zeus that the moment of death would come to both at the same time. Nor one neither the other wanted to cry the death of the beloved one. Fulfilled the wish at the moment of death, then Zeus turned the corpses into an oak and a linden. Thus, they lived one next to each other without interruption, regenerated thanks to the seeds, one giving shelter to the other. A popular Andalusian verse also expresses the same idea of a body turning into a plant: “sin queré pisé una fló; que en tu sepultura estaba; de tu cuerpo salió un ay! Que se me clavó en el alma”. (unaware I step into a flower from your sepulchre, and your body uttered an Aiyyy! like an arrow went into my soul).
LXX– The family Godó needs no presentations to the Barcelonians. In a country where rivers where used to generate power and make paper paste it is no wonder that a rich journalist industry was also developed. La Vanguardia, el Brusi, la Humanitat, la Veu de Catalunya, el Cu-cut, l’Esquella de la Torratxa, la Ram-bla… are names for daily and weekly press of the times. This variety demonstrate the big range of political and social options then and still nowadays. The mausoleum shows an excellent state of conservation, and that is a sign that current generations of the family take care to keep in good shape this heritage. The Neogothic style enjoyed then much prestige as communicator of dignity and empire. No wonder that many mighty sagas of Barcelona opted for this medievalist style in their pantheons. Likewise that is connected with the conservative and far rightwing ideals of the Catalan Burgess Class of the time. It is remarkable how the social and political stand can switch within the same Social Class in the span of just one generation. The fathers of all these recorded capitalists made possible the “Desamortització de Mendizabal” (Church displacement) and the I Republic. They, as new Class that came into scene, had to fight for the abandonment of the old structures. Once they got in the saddle, they always expressed a deep resistance to change. Part of the Catalan burgesses, considering that the II Republic (1931-1939) went to far, to fight it back gave their support to the fascist upheaval.
l) – Sober Pavilion with slate roof and frieze in the four sides and gargoyles in the four corners. The eclectic pantheons are very rich and diverse in symbology. Under our feet the wide blue sea, a littoral quite different as the one they could see hundred years ago. Much more different it was the coast in the Middle Ages. From the still standing old shipyards, Drassanes, ships were dispatched right into the port where nowadays there is the old Customs building. In the other point of the medieval Barcelona, the sea was covering what nowadays is the neighbourhood of La Barceloneta (land won to the waters). The history of Barcelona is a secular conquering to the sea. From the very early city of the Romans, the sea is century after century further from the sea.
n) - Serra Trias. As a confirmation that the delicate and sensual times of the Modernisme were gone, this sepulchre crudely shows the very same dame of the scythe? Gloomy figuration, that together with the stone coffin with sharp corners communicates aggressiveness pushing you back. Also the dark colour of the stone is far from the virginal whiteness of the Modernist. In the background the scenario created by the cypresses, pines and palm trees, a moderate stimulus from different tones of green and forms of the tree cups.
fact that death is. The carpet shows a decorativeness of Modernist influence and the mortuary coffin is curvy though much more stagnant than in the Modernist time.
p) – In the Esteban Fargas Carner tomb a thoughtful woman stands up dressed with the characteristic lightness of the Modernist ropes. Placing the figure at the end of the sepulchre is a resource for all the piece to gain in deepness.
q) - Brutau with this wandering soul, an striking representation of a woebegone woman, perhaps a wife that just lost his husband. Slim woman, tall, fragile, female prototype of the turn of the century. The woman walks blind bathed in tears, knowing no destination, as a ghost. She is there, lost, since then, shocking the visitor, waiting that someone knows how to give her consolation. She is standing on a burial mound build with multicoloured rocks, a great lighting and chromatic game.
How lost she seems, finding no direction… as so many other melancholic, absent beings inhabiting these gardens… Also wanders through these paths, in between trees and pantheons, transported by the cats, the spirit of an age, the sensitiveness of artists who could capture an idea of love, life and death.
- Guia del cementiri de Montjuïc. Neus Aguado. Institut Municipal dels Serveis Funeraris de Barcelona.
- Fàbriques i empresaris (els protagonistes de la revolució industrial a Catalunya). Francesc Cabana Vols. I a IV. Enciclopedia Catalana.
- Principios de Botánica Funeraria. Celestí Barallat.
- El arte funerario del Cementerio de Reus, de la grandiosidad al detalle. Rosa Besora. Programa de Doctorat 1996
- Els cementiris de Barcelona, una aproximació. Carme Riera.
- Guia del cementerio del Sudoeste. Ayuntamiento de Barcelona. 1954
- Barcelona a través dels seus cementiris (un passeig pel cementiri del Poble Nou). Elisa Martí i Lopez. (Fitxes artístiques: Lídia Català; Maria Isabel Marín).
- El Cementeri del Poble Nou (una visió històrica). Margarida Nadal i Plà; Jordi Pujol i Forn. Serveis Funeraris de Barcelona S.A
- En busca d’una arquitectura nacional. Domenech i Montaner
- El Cementeri Vell. Xavier Francesc Fabré
- Museu de Tàrrega; publicacions URTX. A redòs de l’imaginari medieval. Un tema antic, el monstre andròfag i psicopòmpic. Josep M. Miró Rosinach
- Exposició temporal al MHC sobre “Els cementiris d’ultramar”. Fotos Pilar Aymerich.
CONTENTS OF SUBJECTS:
- Cotton/textile factories……………………..IV; V; XV; XVII; XXII, XXXI; XXXIV; LIV; LXVIII
- Cotton/trade…………………XXV; XLVI
- Rail………………...XVII; XXVI; LV
- Real estate………..IV; XV; XLI
- Steam and wool……………………...II
- Metallurgy, iron………………..XVIII
- Metallurgy, steel……………….XIX
- Liberal professions (Doctors)………………X; LII
- Corporations……………………..XVII; LIII
- Chemist…………………………..XXXVII; LIII
- Stock Exchange…………………………….LIII
- Dry fruits………………………..LV
- Banking…………………………….XXXIV; LXIX
- Paper mills……………………………XXXVI
- Publishing industry…………………………..XXIII; XLVII; LXIV
- Public works…………………L
- Merchant navy……………..XXIV
- Joseph Llimona………………………………I; XII; XIV; b)
- Rafael Atché…………………………….IX; LI; LXIII
- Enric Clarasó……………V; VIIbis; XI; XXV; XXXII; LVII
- Eusebi Arnau………………………...XV; XXI; XLVIII
- Germans Jujol…………………………………XXI, XXII
- Josep Campeny………………………VIII; XIII; XXXIII
- Martinez Fortuny……………………………..XLIV
- Josep Reynes…………………………………XXXI
- Agapit Vallmitjana……………………………….XXVIII
- Manel Fuxà…………………………………….IV
- Antoni Rovira…………………………………II; LVI
- Josep Vilaseca………………………………..IV
- Leandre Albareda……………XXVII; LXVIII; LI; LXVIII
- Puig i Cadafalch……………………….XV; XVbis; LX
- Doménech i Estapà…………………………..XXIII
- Modernisme…………………………….….I, XV; XVbis; XVII; XXIII; XXVII; LXVIII; XIV; XLV; LI; LII, h); LXVIII
- Neogothic……………………………………..XVI; XXI, XXII; XXVIII; XXXI; XXXIV; LXI; LXX; LXXI - Neoegypcian……………………………………XXXVIII
- Neoclassical…………………………………….XLII; XLIV
- Art Deco…………………………………..LXVI
- Broken column……………….III
- Column…………………………XV; XVbis
- Angels …………………………I, II, VIIbis; VIII; a); XXXIV; XLII; XLVII; XLVIII; LI; LV; LXIII; LXXI
- Maid, spirit……………………..V; q)
- Alfa et omega……………………..XVbis; LXVIII
- Dame of the scythe……………………XL; n)
- St. Jordi (St. George)……………….g)
- Gargoyles………………….XXI; XXVI; LIV
- Torch…………………………k); m)
- Sand clock..................XVIII
- Opium flower……………….III; k)
- Cypress………………………….III; IV; L; XXXIV; L
- Palm tree…………………………..b)
- Palm leaf……………………b)
- Aromatic herbs………………VIII
- Pine tree…………………………..XLVI; n
- Willow tree…………………………LVI