The Imprint of Miró in Palma de Mallorca
One of the things that struck us most about Palma is the marked presence of art, and not only in art galleries. We saw sculptures scattered about everywhere so, take note – when you’re strolling around streets and parks, you’re likely to bump into works by such renowned artists as Chillida (at the end of the Rambla), Calder (S’Hort del Rei) or Oppenheim (his “Upside Down Church”, located in the Porta de Santa Catalina, is amazing).
But, king of them all, as far as art is concerned, is undoubtedly Joan Miró. The Catalan artist had strong ties to Palma. He spent the last 27 years of his life on the island of Majorca, where he produced one third of his entire oeuvre. Indeed, you can still feel his presence in Palma, 34 years after his death. And, in many instances, we came across creations of his incorporated into modern architectural ensembles, as in Es Baluard, The Pilar i Joan Miró Foundation and the Parc de la Mar. We spent a weekend in Palma, hot on the heels of Miró and, truth be told, we were fascinated by his vast production, still very much in evidence in the Balearic capital.
Miró – Over 50K Followers A Year
When it comes to this great artist, the paramount landmark here is clearly the Pilar i Joan Miró Foundation, which receives more than fifty thousand visitors each year. The venue is unique in that you feel enveloped by Joan Miró’s creative atmosphere, set up by the exhibits, workshops and a natural environment full of inspiration. Miró will also go down in history for his collaborative endeavours with such eminent architects as Josep Lluís Sert, a member of the second generation of architects in the so-called Modern Catalan Movement. Miró coincided with the exiled Sert in Paris after the Spanish Civil War. In 1956, he settled in Majorca, specifically at Son Abrines, where he was fortunate enough to have a magnificent studio designed by his good friend, Sert. The current Foundation building was designed by Rafael Moneo.
The other venue where visitors can enjoy the work of this artistic genius is Es Baluard, Palma’s Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art. On display there are works by the leading artists and movements that converged – and continue to do so – in the Balearic Islands, from the beginning of the 20th century until the present. Their offerings are exhibited in relation to other domestic and international art contexts.
The building, designed by Lluís García-Ruiz, Jaume García-Ruiz, Vicente Tomás and Angel Sánchez Cantalejo, is set on three floors which interact with one another, as well as with the exterior and the city walls, by means of ramps, skylights and large interior balconies, articulated by way of an indoor street complex. But, what most caught our eye was the way the exterior spaces are conceptualised as exhibition areas and walkways via a spectacular path leading along the walled perimeter. The large cistern has also been retained as both an exhibition space and an area for staging activities.
Miró Takes the Laurels in Palma
However, Miró’s presence goes further still. On a stroll through Palma you may come across three creations by the master of the avant-gardes – two sculptures (one on the Avenida Jaume III, near Passeig Mallorca, and the other at the foot of the Royal Palace of the Almudaina) and a mosaic (Parc del Mar). You can also admire two of his works in the Juan March Museum Foundation, namely “Peinture (Femme, Tige, Coeur)” and “Le Perroquet”, both from the interwar period. The Museum is a must-visit if you’re eager to take the pulse of contemporary Spanish art, and is located in an amazing 17th-century palace at number 11 Calle Sant Miquel. Lastly, just 200 metres away stands the Hotel Joan Miró, the only hotel themed around the celebrated contemporary artist, with its rooms and other areas inspired by his work. It also boasts 28 original works by Joan Miró displayed at different spots around the hotel.
Creativity Spreading To Other Disciplines
The omnipresence of art in the city means creativity tends to be everywhere. Even in holy sites, as in the Cathedral, adorned as it is by the creations of modern and contemporary artists, notably Gaudí (Modernist baldachin and pulpit) and Barceló (Chapel of the Most Holy). Design wins out handsomely from this creative urge – a host of studios have sprung up throughout the historic centre, and hotels, too, have jumped on the bandwagon. We can recommend the Nakar Hotel, a member of the select international network of Design Hotels, located on Avenida Jaume III, the city’s major shopping hub, and very near Passeig Mallorca, a strategic area on account of its proximity to the Santa Catalina quarter. Its interior concept and design is the work of Majorcan designer Marta Rotger, who opted for a sober, rationalistic style in its lines and forms. The hotel’s other claim to fame is its CUIT Restaurant, located on the 8th floor, affording spectacular views over all of Palma de Mallorca. And the food is divine, too! Their chef, Miguel Calent, is running on a high and his creations are based on the Majorcan culinary tradition with Mediterranean influences, filtered – we might add – by renewal.
Gear up and steep yourself in the brilliant universe of Joan Miró in Palma de Mallorca. Check out our flights here.
Text and images by Los Viajes de ISABELYLUISmore info
Nine Essentials In Palma de Mallorca
When talking about Majorca, we usually limit ourselves to the wonderful beaches and landscapes to be explored and tend to ignore its main city, Palma. Tucked away in this enchanting port city with a centennial history are numerous gems that make this a must-visit destination on the island. Following are some pointers to landmarks that make this city so alluring.
1. A Cathedral Filled With Surprises
You can’t help seeing it – Majorca Cathedral protrudes well above all other buildings in the city. Also known as La Seu, this monument in Levantine Gothic style is characterised by its lofty bearing – it is one of Europe’s tallest Gothic cathedrals – and its huge rose window, also one of the largest of its kind, while the interior is crammed with surprises. It features the legacy of Gaudí, who rearranged the interior in the early-20th century, incorporating Modernist ornamental elements and a baldachin on the unfinished altar. Then there is the amazing ceramic mural of Mediterranean inspiration which crowns the Chapel of the Most Holy, the work of Miquel Barceló, which visitors are unlikely to miss.
2. The Characterful Lonja
This must-visit 15th-century building, designed by Guillem Sagrera, was once the headquarters of the School of Merchants. Nowadays, visitors are dazzled by its helicoidal columns, which end in groined vaults that look like palm trees at first glance. The construction is enormously inspiring, capable of transporting the viewer to a time when Palma was a major trade centre.
3. A Route Through Miro’s Majorca
The imprint of Joan Miró is ever-present in the city where he spent the last 27 years of his life. Be sure to visit the Pilar i Joan Miró Foundation to see the artist’s house and workshop, in addition to a small part of his vast oeuvre. And, still in the same area, the recently opened Marivent Palace gardens feature twelve of Miró’s sculptures.
4. A Good Measure of Contemporary Art
In Palma, contemporary art is not limited to the figure of Miró. If you head for Es Baluard, Palma’s Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, you can also see works by the leading artists and movements that have come together and still converge in the Balearic Islands. Another venue you should make a point of visiting is the Juan March Museum Foundation which houses a highly interesting collection of contemporary Spanish art.
5. The Waterfront Promenade
Like any decent seaside resort, Palma is fringed from one end to the other by a long waterfront promenade which affords a different angle on the city. The view is stunning when you draw level with the Cathedral, and the promenade also has leisure areas where locals do various sports or just lounge around and chill out.
6. De Luxe Cuisine
Palma has splendid and highly assorted culinary offerings. The local tradition, in the form of tapas bars and restaurants offering locally sourced products, exists side by side with establishments that have reinvented Majorcan cuisine and taken it to a new level, and those serving up international cuisine. Don’t hesitate to try Majorca’s typical and essentialsobrasada,a spicy, pork sausage, or to put yourself in the hands of gourmet chefs with their bolder gastronomic interpretation.
7. Santa Catalina, The Hipster Quarter
This erstwhile fishing quarter has undergone a facelift and a marked transformation in recent years, becoming one of the most attractive beats in town. We recommend visiting it at dusk, when the establishments get into full swing, and refueling by opting for a hearty dinner in of one the area’s trendy restaurants.
8. Terraces with Views
Another way to enjoy the city is from one of the rooftop terraces which some bars and restaurants have tucked away. There you can order a small feast while soaking up the breathtaking views. One such spot with magnificent views is the Nakar Hotel, which offers an excellent culinary assortment served up by Majorcan chef Miquel Calent.
9. An Ensaimada as a Souvenir
You cannot possibly leave Majorca without an ensaimada under your arm. This is a giveaway at your destination airport, but there’s no resisting the delight of eating one. Filled with angel hair squash, custard, chocolate and even sobrasada – or without a filling, if you prefer – you can get your hands on this tasty souvenir in numerous pastry shops. Among our favourites are Forn Fondo and Horno Santo Cristo.
Book your Vueling to Palma de Mallorca, explore its streets and let yourself get carried away by the charm of this city.
Text by Los Viajes de ISABELYLUIS
Photo by SBA73
Five Culinary Enticements in Majorca
While “The Times” recently described Palma de Mallorca as “the best place to live in the world”, it should be noted that Majorca is not just Palma and that you are likely to come across your “ideal spot” at any location on the island. I imagine that the Germans would agree, too… On this, the largest of the Balearic islands, there are so many hedonistic enticements that they can scarcely be encompassed in a single getaway. That is why many finally decide to “occupy it”. With the island’s gastronomy as a pretext, here are some key venues in Palma and the rest of the island for tasting it, according to one’s appetite and urges. Some might seek a simple snack; others, a full-blown banquet.
Ensaimada. You will get tired of seeing them everywhere, but at Ca’n Joan de S’Aigo they make the best ensaimadas, which are also for takeaways. Plain or filled with custard, cream or apricot. Don’t be put off by the queues or the time-worn appearance of this pastry shop, arguably resembling your grandparents’ living room. If you’d rather try something different, go for the gató or the cuarto, two traditional, homemade Majorcan sponges.
Sobrasada. Still in Palma, you will come across lots of grocery stores that sell sobrasada. The legendary one is Santo Domingo, where you can see it on display in all its shapes and varieties. The sobrasada sold at the Xesc Reina delicatessen, or La Luna, in Sóller, is delicious spread on toast and honey.
Enogastronomy is on a high, riding on the back of names, paradigms and also Michelin stars. The island is now a foodie destination of the first order, thanks to the cuisine and “gastro-activism” of such chefs as Andreu Genestra and Fernando Pérez Arellano. Both use ingredients sourced locally which they show off in style in reasonably priced/quality tasting menus.
Andreu, in the Son Jaumell hotel, and Fernando in the spectacular Castell Son Claret, grow and pamper much of the raw material for their dishes in situ. Andreu also explores new techniques in his recipes, such as smoked spices, while Fernando dishes up signature breakfasts coveted by other hotels on the island.
Stop off at Claxon, preferably with a prior booking, to discover the “composite cuisine” typifying this establishment, with its garden, lunch menu and portions menu. Amid the bustle of Santa Catalina, head for Patrón Lunares, featuring well-known dishes reworked with aplomb and served up in ingenious guises. You can also have a drink at both places.
Rialto Living is the place to head for in downtown Palma if you’re looking for a classy, arty, cultured multi-disciplinary space with fine cuisine. A new restaurant will shortly be opened on the first floor, but you can meanwhile take a seat at one of the café tables and order a snack, or try their fusion cuisine.
And, Two Stayover Options in Palma
Sant Francesc. The hallmark of this hotel, housed in a listed building in Palma’s historic centre, is the well-being of their guests. With spacious rooms and common areas, a rooftop swimming pool, a cocktail bar and a substantial collection of contemporary art and photography, no wonder this spanking new hotel is already one of the “Small Luxury Hotels of the World.”
Can Alomar. On the most exclusive stretch of the Born de Palma promenade, this classical-style luxury hotel affords panoramic views of the Cathedral and harbour from its rooftop solarium, as well as from its restaurant terrace, where sipping a drink on high is an elating experience.
Delicious, isn’t it? Why wait to discover these five gastronomic idylls in Majorca? Check out our flights here.
Text by Belén Parra (Gastronomistas)
Photos by Belén Parra y Vera Lair