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Course Description
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Art History: Art and Artists
Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF)
Barcelona, Spain

Subject Area(s) Level(s) Instruction in Credits Contact Hours Prerequisites
Art History 300 Spanish 3 45 Spanish Language: 1 semester required 2 semesters recommended

The focus of this course will be exploring Spanish art through the Barcelona Art Collections.

This is an introduction course for students who:

  • Desire to obtain a broad overview of Spanish art
  • Have the necessity of a survey of the cultural background of Barcelona
  • Wish to have a live approach to Barcelona's art works

Students do not need to have any specific background in Spanish art or in art history to take this course.


This course is primarily a lecture course, presented in module form, supplemented with discussion, films, and online materials. There are classes outside of the University building: visits to the Museums. These visits are made during the class time and they are equivalent to a usual in-class, with the exception of Dalí's Museum, which is a non-compulsory visit. In any case, students should understand that during an out-class occasional events may occur.


The course proposes to complement a theoretical overview of Spanish art with a practical approach to the works of art. Barcelona has a great art variety and richness, but there are some artists who have their main museum in the city, and who have an international prestige. These artists are: Gaudí, Picasso, Miró, Dalí and Tàpies. They are the main subjects of this course.

1. Antoni Gaudí

Organicism and Gaudinism. The European Art Nouveau architecture. The Art Nouveau in Barcelona. The new middleclass society. Eusebi Güell, the best client of Gaudí. The new architecture. The new geometry. The searching for the artistic form. The nature as inspiration. The "mozárabe" influence. The new Gaudinian style. The Mediterranean in his works. His collaboration with Jujol
Visit to the Sagrada Família and to the Pedrera

2. Pablo Picasso

Picasso & Barcelona. The works of adolescence. The first trip to Paris. The works of "feelings". Painting without eyes. Living in France. The nudes of Fernande. The formal experiments. Geometry. The "Démoiselles d'Avignon". Pre-cubsim in Horta d'Ebre. Braque and the cubism. Abstraction. The "great" Picasso and the "Meninas" series.
Visit to Picasso Museum

3. Joan Miró

His studies and his first works. The meaning of Montroig in his paintings. "La masia" and the beginning of the Mironian universe. The first trip to Paris and the first contacts with the vanguard. The surrealism and the "painting-poetry". The searching for a spontaneous style. Primitivism and childhood. The European wars. The exile in Mallorca. The Mediterranean root. The universe of Miró. Textile works and sculpture.
Visit to Miró Foundation

4. Salvador Dalí

The childhood in Figueres and Cadaqués. The Academy of Fine Arts and the University Residence of Madrid. Meeting Lorca and Buñuel. Lorquian style. Freud and narcissism. The films with Buñuel. Trip to París and contact with the surrealism. Reality and surreality. Gala is there. Living in France and breaking with Surrealist Group. Exile in U. S. A.. Fame and success. The new physics and the philosophy of truth. The intuitive and spiritual world. Religion and Metaphysics.
Visit to Dalí Museum in Figueres

5. Antoni Tàpies

The beginnings and his long illness. The first drawings. Meeting "Blau" art group and publishing "Dau al set " review. Joan Brossa and the poetry. The influence of surrealism. The magical style. Sign and symbol. The sacred art. The "materico" style. The informalism. The textile and the prints. The wall. The common objects. The "povera" arts. Epiphany.
Visit to Tàpies Foundation


Antoni Gaudí
MARTINELL, Cèsar, Gaudí. His life, his theories, his work, Editorial Blume, Barcelona, 1975
DALASI, Ricardo, Gaudí furniture & objects, Woodbury, New York, 1980
MOWER, David, Gaudí, London, 1977
SWEENEY, James & SERT, Josep Lluís, Antonio Gaudí, Ediciones Infinito, Buenos Aires, 1961

Pablo Picasso
Chipp, Herschel Browning, Picasso's Guernica history, transformations, Berckley University, USA, 1988
V. V. A. A. Picasso, Paisages 1890-1912, Ajuntament de Barcelona, 1995 (English translation at the end of the book)
V. V. A. A., Picasso 1905-1906, Ajuntament de Barcelona, Barcelona, 1992 (English translation at the end of the book)
V. V. A. A., Pablo Picasso: sculpture, ceramics, graphic work; Tate Gallery, London, 1967
Warncke, Carsten-Peter, Pablo Picasso 1881-1973, Taschen, 1995

Joan Miró
ERBEN, Walter, Joan Miró 1893-1983, Tachen, 1988
V. V. A. A., Miró escultor, Fundació Joan Miró, Barcelona, 1987
V. V. A. A., Ver Miró, la irradiación de Miró en el arte español, Fundació "La Caixa", Barcelona, 1993 (English translation at the end of the book)
V. V. A. A., Klee, Tanguy, Miró, Fundació Miró, Barcelona, 2000 (English translation at the end of the book)
PENROSE, Roland, Miró, London Thames and Hudson cop. 1985

Salvador Dalí
DALÍ, Salvador, The Secret life of Salvador Dalí, New York Dover, 1993
DESCHARNES, Robert, Salvador Dalí, New York Harry N. Abrams, 1985
GÉRARD, Max, Dalí--Dalí-Dalí, Atlantis cop., 1985

Antoni Tàpies
CIRICI y PELLICER, Alexandre, Tàpies: witness of silence, Tudor, N. Y., 1972
V. V. A. A., Tàpies, the complete works, Köneman, 1997

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