I had seen the sign for the Museu Frederic Mares many times from the Pla de la Sue, the grand square in front of the Barcelona Cathedral, but never bothered to seek it out. Had I but known it is a testimony to the art of pack-rattery, I would have gotten there sooner. The above picture of the lovely lunch at the Cafe d’Estiu became my reward after a Mares Museum visit.
In the museum’s guide book, the author says that Mares, a noted sculptor in the early 20th century, created and sold his work in order to buy more of the things he loved — most importantly, religious sculpture from the 11th through the 19th centuries.
The gentleman pictured here is removing his hat in reverence to the Virgin Mary. The medium is what is called polychrome or painted wood and was created in the early 16th century. I love this stuff, and I hadn’t even been aware what the medium was called.
The gentleman with his cap removed can be seen in the lower right hand corner. I love this mob and I’m struck by how well fed and various the crowd is. Such a far cry from the dour scenes I’d seen depicted in the Romanesque galleries. (Forgive the overexposure and lack of focus. I was sneaking these snaps when the guards weren’t looking.)
This figure fascinates me. I’ve lost the notes for her identification, but I’m impressed both with the figure’s realism and the fact she’s dressed in what appears to be a reed mat.
And while there are gallery after gallery of sculpture, there are also gallery after gallery of … ephemera. Dolls, doll house furniture, fans, perfume bottles, matchbooks, locks and keys, playing cards, pipes and menus. Which brings me back to the cafe which is just outside the entrance to the museum, itself only a stone’s throw from Barcelona Cathedral. I visited the Mares Museum four times in the month I spent in Barcelona, and I barely scratched its surface!