Thursday, April 02, 2009

Sitges - Monument to El Greco

In Siges, down by the beach, where Carrer de Sant Pau meets Passeig de la Ribera, you find a magnificent statue of the painter Doménikos Theotokópoulos, better known as El Greco (1541-1614). This does not mean that El Greco once lived, or even were here. The statue is a memory of the time when the Art Nouveau style hit the city at the end of the 19th century.

The sculptor Josep Reynés (1850-1926) was commissioned, by the town of Sitges in 1897 , to build a monument commemorating the famous painter. He made sculptures in Art Nouveau style and has also created the Monument to Doctor Robert in Sitges as well as other artworks in Catalonia.

Reynés is particularly famous for the relief "Barcelona rep les nacions" (Barcelona welcome the nations), a sculptural frieze on the Arch of Triumph of Barcelona (1887) and for another frieze of Llimona in the opposite part of the arch.

The idea of paying homage to an artist with no connection to the city came from Santiago Rusiñol (1861-1931), an Art Nouveau painter and writer that regularly stayed in his house at El Cau Ferrat in Sitges. He frequently hosted Art Nouveau festivals in his home and he grew deeply fascinated by the art of El Greco.

He had, as painter, a strong influence on another world famous artist, Pablo Picasso. Through his love for the Art Nouveau style, he left his mark on Sitges, far beyond the statue of El Greco.

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