Catalan landscapes, Picasso’s inspiration

Follow in Picasso’s footsteps through Horta de Sant Joan and Gósol and explore these two towns in Berguedà and la Terra Alta which inspired this universal artist. 

La Terra Alta, the land which captivated Picasso

“Everything I know I learned in Horta,” said the painter Pablo Picasso. This is how the master of brushwork referred to Horta de Sant Joan, a municipality in Terra Alta. We encourage you to explore some of the nooks and crannies of the town which inspired this universal artist.

Picasso was in Horta de Sant Joan during two separate periods. The first was in 1898, when he was only 16 years old. Ten years later he returned to change the direction of his work and begin his pictorial Cubism. The painter’s time in the village is remembered in the Picasso Centre, a venue which displays his ties with the area.

The Picasso Centre is in the former hospital building, a Renaissance construction dating from 1580. It hosts a permanent exhibition which helps visitors to grasp Horta de Sant Joan’s influence on Picasso’s work. He painted Cubist compositions such as The Reservoir, Horta de Ebro (1909) and The Factory (1909) during his second spell in les Terres de l’Ebre.

The Picasso Centre holds high-quality facsimiles of all the paintings the artist produced during his time in the town and others he painted inspired by this rural community in Tarragona province.

When you finish your visit to the Picasso Centre, head for the Plaça de la Misa where the town hall is and also where Picasso had his studio. Nearby is Santa Bàrbara Mountain in the Pàndols-Cavalls range, one of the places from which Picasso drew his inspiration. At the foot of this mountain is Sant Salvador monastery, the next stop on the Picasso Route. Founded in the 13th century by the Order of the Knights Templar, the church is built around a Renaissance cloister. It also bears Pablo Picasso’s imprint as it hosts a photo exhibition about him.

Gósol (Berguedà)

Gósol (Berguedà)

Gósol: the Berguedà which captivated Picasso

Come and join this experience which blends art and hiking. It’s a cultural route featuring painting classes and visits to the Picasso Centre in the town and local natural landscapes such as Mount Pedraforca.

In May 1906, Picasso came to Gósol on the recommendation of a friend in search of inspiration to complete a portrait commissioned by Gertrude Stein, his first patron. He stayed there for four months and produced 302 works in all, including Young Man from Gósol and Woman with Loaves. During his time in this village in el Berguedà he laid the groundwork for his new artistic period in the early 20th century.

A visit to the Picasso Centre in Gósol will help you understand what inspired him and why his stay there was crucial in his life and artistic career. He changed his palette of colours and the way he drew the faces in his paintings with a polygonal structure in a foretaste of Cubism, the artistic movement he started and which unmistakably identifies him. The Centre houses objects such as the artist’s notebook, a collection of old photographs and the everyday tools of the time that he used.