Monday, January 16, 2017

Figurative Sculpture: Caballo (Horse) - El Prat de Llobregat, Barcelona, Spain

Caballo (Horse)
El Prat de Llobregat, Barcelona 
Cataluña, Spain

N 41° 18.219 E 002° 04.664

Short Description: 

Caballo is located in the public arrivals area of Terminal 2B of Barcelona's El Prat de Llobregat airport in Barcelona, Spain.

Long Description:

Caballo is a gigantic bronze sculpture of a horse created by Colombian sculptor Fernando Botero in 1992. The sculpture is 3.4 meters high and 2.5 meters long and is set on a square marble base. The sculpture is created in Botero's his signature style of exaggerated size known as Boterismo. The horse is standing on four massive feet on a bronze plinth. Its head is bowed and tail is down.

A bronze plaque on the marble base is inscribed:

Fernando Botero

Aeropuerto Españales Y Navegación Aérea

The sculpture is a popular meeting place for greeting people arriving at Barcelona's El Prat Airport.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Gothic Architecture: Torres de Serrans - Valencia, Spain

Torres de Serrans 
Cataluña, Spain

N 39° 28.763 W 000° 22.557

Short Description: 

Torres de Serrans is one of the twelve gates that formed part of the ancient city wall, the Christian Wall, of the City of Valencia. it is located at Plaça dels Furs, Valencia,  Spain

Long Description:

The Torre de Serrans (Valencian spelling) was built between 1392 and 1398 by Pere Balaguer in the Valencian Gothic style as part of the city's fortification. Construction began on the April 6, 1392, on the site of an older gateway. It was completed March 1398. The structure is considered to be the largest Gothic city gateway in Europe.

At each end of the structure are pentagon shaped guard towers with crenellated battlements. The towers are joined by a two story structure. On the city side there are three large Gothic style pointed arched openings and the second level. The towers rise above the second level and, on the city side, there are two arched openings below the towers. A central, ground level, arched opening functioned as the city gate. The Serranos Towers are made of hard stone with a limestone façade to give it a smooth appearance.

After one of the main prisons of Valencia burnt down in 1586 the towers were converted into a prison for knights and the nobility, like the Tower of London or the Bastille. In 1887, all the prisoners were transferred to the monastery of Saint Austin and it ceased to be a prison. Since the Torres de Serrans were in active use when the city wall were dismantled, the structure was spared destruction. Today if functions as a museum.

The Serranos Towers became the ceremonial entrance to the city. During the Spanish Civil War, art from the Prado was stored in the towers for protection from Francoist bombers.

Baroque Architecture: Palacio de Dos Aguas - Valencia, Spain

Palacio de Dos Aguas
Museo Nacional de Cerámica 
"González Martí" 
Cataluña, Spain

N 39° 28.366 W 000° 22.481

Short Description:

Palacio de Dos Aguas/Museo Nacional de Cerámica "González Martí" is located at Carrer del Poeta Querol, 2, València, Spain. It's famous for it's Rococo entrance.

Long Description:

The former Palace of the Marqués de Dos Aguas is now the González Martí National Museum of Ceramics and Decorative Arts (Museo Nacional de Cerámica y de las Artes Suntuarias González Martí). In 1740 the entire palace was redesigned in the Rococo, Late Baroque style designed by Hipolito Rovira and sculpted in alabaster by Ignacio Vergara. The museum features an especially magnificent doorway.

Relief sculptures of apparently sleeping men, Atlanteans, flank the entrance. They represent the two largest rivers of the Valencia area, the Turia and Júcar. The figures are a reference to the name Dos Aguas. The jugs of spilling water at the lower left and right are a visual pun on the name of the former owner of the palace. The coat of arms of the Marqués de Dos Aguas is sculpted over the door. At the top is a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary holding the infant Jesus in her left arm. At her feet are a pair of cherubs.

Stone Church Artifact: Holy Chalice (Santo Cáliz) - Valencia, Spain

Holy Chalice
(Santo Cáliz)
 Cataluña, Spain

N 39° 28.502 W 000° 22.507

Short Description: 

An agate chalice reputed to be the Holy Grail from which Jesus drank from at the Last Supper is located in the Chapel of the Holy Chalice in Valencia Cathedral, Valencia. Spain.

Long Description:

In the Chapel of the Holy Chalice (Santo Caliz), above and behind an altar framed by an elaborate stone frontispiece and set behind bulletproof glass, is a 17 cm high by 9 cm wide, highly polished, translucent, dark red-brown agate chalice. Other features were added later, including an alabaster base, gold stem, and an assortment of jewels. The base measures 14.5 cm wide by 9.7 cm high.

The relic part is presumed to be of Alexandrian origin which archaeologists date to 100 BC to 50 BC. According to a paper published by Professor Antonio Beltrán in 1960, “El Santo Cáliz de la Catedral de Valencia” (“The Holy Chalice of the Valencia Cathedral”). The authenticity of the chalice was never refuted.

The first explicit reference to the Chalice of Valencia comes from an inventory of the treasury of the monastery of San Juan de la Peña drawn up by Don Carreras Ramírez, Canon of Zaragoza, on December 14, 1134. In the inventory the Chalice is described as the vessel in which "Christ Our Lord consecrated his blood" ("En un arca de marfil está el Cáliz en que Cristo N. Señor consagró su sangre, el cual envió S. Lorenzo a su patria, Huesca"). Both Pope John Paul II, in November 1982, and Pope Benedict XVI, in July 2006, celebrated mass with the Holy Chalice.

Fountain: Turia Fountain - Valencia, Spain

Turia Fountain
Cataluña, Spain

N 39° 28.590 W 000° 22.523

Short Description: 

The Turia Fountain is located in the northern part of the Plaza de la Virgen in the old part of the City of Valencia, Spain.

Long Description:

The Turia Fountain is an elaborate oval fountain about 60' across by 26' wide. It was created by sculptor Silvestre Edeta and dedicated in 1976. A bronze statue of the Roman god Neptune sits on a platform is in the center with a cascade of water flowing down to a lower level from all sides. The lower level contains bronze sculptures of eight naked women. The fountain is an allegorical representation of Valencia’s Turia River. The eight statues of women have water pouring from jars representing the irrigation channels of the river.

Opera House: Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia - Valencia, Cataluña, Spain

Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia
Cataluña, Spain

N 39° 27.448 W 000° 21.305

Short Description: 

The ultramodern Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia is the opera house and cultural center of the the City of Arts and Sciences> It was designed by AIA Gold Medal recipient Santiago Calatrava and built on the old Turia Riverbed in Valencia, Spain.

Long Description:

The Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia was designed by the Valencian architect Santiago Calatrava, the recipient of the Gold Medal Award from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) in 2005 for his body of work. It was the final structure built as part of the vast City of Arts and Sciences complex that was begun in July 1996 and completed on October 9, 2005. The building was opened on October 8, 2005.

The building features a breathtaking contemporary design. Depending upon your perspective, it has been described as looking like a UFO or a giant fish. The structure has 14 stories above ground has three stories below ground. It is the tallest opera house in the world at a height of 75 meters (246'). The prominent curved roof is 230 m (755') long. The building is 40,000 sq. meters (431,000 sq ft) is size.

The Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia has four venues. The auditorium has a seating capacity of 1,706 and is used for opera productions, concerts, and ballet. The 380-seat chamber music hall is used for ensemble performances, drama, and other events such as lectures, meetings, etc. An auditorium that seating up to 1,520 people is equipped a state-of-the-art film and video projection system, The Martín y Soler Theatre: has a capacity of 400 persons and is dedicated to the Applied Arts.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Stained Glass Windows: Cathedral of Santa Maria of Palma - Palma de Mallorca, Spain

Rose Windows 
Cathedral of Santa Maria of Palma
Palma de Mallorca 
Islas Baleares, Spain

N39° 34.082 E2° 38.891

The  Cathedral of Santa Maria of Palma is called the Cathedral of Light. Restoration of the cathedral began in 1851. In 1901, architect Antoni Gaudí took over the restoration project. Much of his Art Nouveau work can be seen inside the cathedral. Gaudí  superimposing three glass sections of the primary colors, yellow, blue and red,  over the stained glass windows enrich the vibrancy of the color of the light passing through the windows.  His intention was to test the technique before implementing in the Sagrada Familia. He also restored the rose windows and stained-glass windows that had been walled over.

The rose window on the east side of the cathedral is one of the world's largest. It's 12  meters (40 feet) across and constructed with 1,236 pieces of stained glass.

Flanking the west rose window are two smaller identical rose windows , in front of the left and right aisles.

The rose window on the west side is above the main entrance to the cathedral.

The rose window on the west side as seen from the outside of the cathedral.

Exceptional Tree: Olivera de Cort - Palma de Mallorca, Spain

Olivera de Cort
Palma de Mallorca
Islas Baleares, Spain

N 39° 34.181 E 002° 39.003

Short Description: 

An olive tree estimated to be 600 to 800 year old is located in the center of Placa de Cort in front of the city hall of Palma de Mallorca, Spain.

Long Description:

The Olivera de Cort was taken to Palma from a country estate from Pollença, in the Serra de Tramuntana mountains of Mallorca, Spain. In 1999, it was planted in the center of Palma de Mallorca in the Plaça de Cort as a symbol of "peace and unmovable roots in the land".
Genus/Species: Olea europaea

Height: 23

Girth: 23

Age: 600 - 800 years

Historical significance: 

The tree has become a symbol for Palma de Mallorca and a popular tourist attraction In 2003 it was recorded in a list of unique trees in the Balearic Islands.

Fountain: S'Hort del Rei Fountain - Palma de Mallorca, Spain

S'Hort del Rei Fountain
(Garden of the King)
Palma de Mallorca
Islas Baleares, Spain

N 39° 34.085 E 002° 38.787

Short Description: 

A long fountain is the central feature of the Garden of the King (S'Hort del Rei), a medieval garden located outside the walls of the Almudaina palace in Palma de Mallorca, Spain.

Long Description:

A beautifully landscaped long garden fountain is the focal point of the Garden of the King (S'Hort del Rei). The fountain contains two sections separated by a short paved area in the middle. At each end of the fountain
a circular shallow bowl rests in the center of a square stone basin. A stream of water rises from a finial in the center of the basin. Water falls into the bowl and overflows into the stone basin.

A long rectangular pool extends the length of the fountain. The pool has a line of nozzles on both sides. Water, rising up from both sides, falls back into the pool in graceful parabolic arches.

Philatelic Photograph: Cathedral of Santa Maria of Palma - Palma de Mallorca, Islas Baleares, Spain

Cathedral of Santa Maria of Palma
Palma de Mallorca 
Islas Baleares, Spain

N 39° 34.035 E 002° 38.879

Short Description: 

The Cathedral of Santa Maria of Palma is a Catalan Gothic Roman Catholic cathedral located in at the north end of the harbor of the Bay of Palma in Palma de Mallorca.

Long Description:

Cathedral of Santa Maria of Palma is located in Palma de Mallorca, the capital city on the largest of the of Spain's Balearic Islands. It is part of the Ecclesiastical province of Valencia in Spain. Construction for the Catalan Gothic Cathedral of Santa Maria of Palma began in 1229 and was finished in 1601. The earliest historical documents relating to the building of the Cathedral date from 1230 when Bishop Pere de Morella consecrated the altar stone of the main altar. The cathedral was begun by King James I of Aragon on the site of a Moorish mosque. The cathedral is 121 meters long, 55 meters wide and its nave is 44 meters tall. It is one of the largest Gothic cathedrals in Europe.

Restoration of the cathedral began in 1851. In 1901, architect Antoni Gaudí took over the restoration project. Much of his Art Nouveau work can be seen inside the cathedral.

Currently Bishop Javier Salinas Viñals was named Auxiliary Bishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Valencia, in Valencia, Spain, by Pope Francis on Thursday, September 8, 2016.

Archdiocese: Valencia, Spain

Diocese: Diocese of Mallorca

Catedral de Mallorca
Plaza Almoina
Palma de Mallorca , Islas Baleares Spain

Thursday, January 12, 2017

First if Its Kind: First Grimaldi to Reign Over Monaco - Monaco-Ville, Monaco

First Grimaldi to Reign Over Monaco
Monaco-Ville, Monaco

N 43° 43.877 E 007° 25.263

Short Description: 

A statue of the first Grimaldi to reign over Monaco, François Grimaldi (Francesco Grimaldi) known as "il Malizia", is located in the Place Du Palais next to the Ramp in Monoco-Ville, Monaco.

Long Description:

A life-sized bronze statue of François Grimaldi "il Malizia" is depicted disguised as a Franciscan monk. He is standing on a circular stone base wearing hooded robe with a belt of rope hanging from his left side. His right arm crossed his chest to hold his sword hidden under his robe.

The statue created by Kees Verkade and was erected in 1997 to celebrate the 700th anniversary his capture of the Rock of Monaco on the night of January 8, 1297. The circular base is inscribed:


1297 - 1997

A sign next to the sculpture is relates the story of Francesco Grimaldi, ":il Malizia" in five languages. In part is says:

"He was the first of the Grimaldis to reign over Monaco."

François Grimaldi known as il Malizia (the Cunning One), was a Genovese nobleman, the son of Guelf Guglielmo Grimaldi. He became the leader of the Guelphs who captured the Rock of Monaco on the night of 8 January 1297. Dressed as a Franciscan monk, François was greeted at the gates of Monaco's castle He, along with his cousin Rainier I and a small group of men, seized the castle. As the first Grimaldi to rule over Monaco, he was the founder of the Grimaldi dynasty that still rules the principality of Monaco. François (Francesco) Grimaldi died in 1309.

Science Museum: Oceanographic Museum and Aquarium - Monaco-ville, Monaco

Oceanographic Museum

N 43° 43.819 E 007° 25.505

Short Description: 

The Oceanographic Museum and Aquarium is located on top of a a cliff overlooking the Mediterranean Sea at Avenue Saint-Martin, Monaco-Ville, Monaco

Long Description:

The mission of the Oceanographic Museum and Aquarium is to do research in marine science and to sharing its findings about the oceans. The Oceanographic Museum was established by Prince Albert I of Monaco in 1910. The Baroque Revival building is 279' high and constructed of stone from the quarries at La Turbie, France. It took 11 years to build. The world famous marine scientist and explorer, Jacques-Yves Cousteau, was director from 1957 to 1988.

The museum has an extensive exhibition of sea life. It also celebrates the work of Prince Albert I, including the laboratory from L’Hirondelle, the first of Prince Albert's research yachts. An aquarium is located in the basement with a vast collection marine species.

Fountain: Princess Grace Rose Garden Fountain - Fontvieille, Monaco

Princess Grace Rose Garden Fountain

N 43° 43.641 E 007° 25.155

Short Description: 

Princess Grace Rose Garden Fountain is located at the northeast corner of the Rose Garden created to honor the late Princess Grace Patricia (Kelly) of Monaco. Entrance is off the Avenue des Papalins on the Fontvieille section of Monaco.

Long Description:

The Rose Garden first opened on June 18, 1984. It was commissioned by Prince Rainier III to create a place in memory of his wife Princess Grace, who tragically died after an automobile accident.

The fountain is in the center of a circular rose garden and is surrounded by walkways. A 25' diameter 3' high circular basin is constructed of horizontally laid stones. A 15' high, teal colored, iron column rises from the center of the fountain. The lower part of the column is decorated with a pair of winged cherubs who are holding up a vase on top of which is a large basin. Above the basin is a short column. Water pours forth from the mouths of faces sculpted around this column. At the top is a smaller basin topped with a finial which emits a small stream of water.