Joan Miro Versus Pablo Picasso


Two of the best known Spanish artists of modern times battle it out in Barcelona every year. Every year the city received hundred of thousands of tourists, with so much to see in the Catalan capital, if you want to take in an art museum, which one would you choose?

However, before you choose, I have spent time in both art museums whilst on my many camping trips to Barcelona and here are my highlights for each. So which artist’s museum would you visit? Whose camp are you in?

Pablo Picasso

The most popular museum in Barcelona is dedicated to Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), and covers the artist’s formative years in the city, his famous Blue Period and his variations on the Velázquez masterpiece Las Meninas.

The oils that line the walls of the first section are from Picasso’s adolescence. They are mainly portraits, such as the famous Man with Hat (1895). Other works include Carrer de La Riera de Sant Joan (1900), a view from the artist’s studio window, and Passeig de Colom (1917), another view-inspired painting. The next rooms deal with the artist’s social impressions of his first trip to Paris, and include what must surely be one of the most passionate paintings of all time, The Embrace (1900). His ground-breaking Blue and Rose periods are possibly the least represented in the museum, although the space devoted to them does contain The Madman (1904), in which Picasso conveys human suffering with unprecedented skill. The Between the Wars rooms illustrate the artist’s first venture into what would become known as cubism in Figure with Fruit Bowl (1917).

Joan Miro

Set in a Modernist building dating from the mid-1970s, the Joan Miró Foundation enjoys a hilltop position on Montjuïc near to the 1992 Olympic Stadium, with panoramic glimpses of the Barcelona skyline visible from throughout the gallery. Joan Miró (1893-1983) was one of the most prolific Catalán artists of the 20th century. He also worked in sculpture and tapestry throughout his life, but rarely deviated from a bright palette of blue, red, yellow and green. The collections here are spread over 10 salas (rooms), the first stop being the Tapestry Room. The most spectacular piece here is the Foundation Tapestry, which was designed especially for the gallery in 1979. The Joan Prats Gallery shows Miró’s early works and development. Miró was inspired by Van Gogh and Cézanne; Van Gogh’s influence, for example, is clearly visible in the charming Portrait of a Young Girl (1919).

The spectacular sculpture garden on the rooftop terrace is unmissable. Many of Miró’s later works are in the Pilar Juncosa Gallery. A particularly poetic example of this time is The Gold of the Azure (1967). In some cases Miró’s paintings became mere gestures, as can be seen in the last room, which contains three extraordinary, large-scale triptychs. The most powerful of these is Cell for a Solitary Man I, II and III (1968).

I am a big fan of Camping in Barcelona, if you also want ideas on where to go camping, please visit


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