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Artistic Garrotxa

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Artistic Garrotxa

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17 Elements of the PROPOSALS IN THIS TOWN
La Garrotxa county has a close relationship with the world of art. Let yourself be guided by some of its most noted works of art.

Description

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La Garrotxa is an artistic region. Brithplace of many artists, the capital gives name to the school of landscape painting, has museums and exhibitions and also a rich cultural life… the region transpires art. Along this route we will discover some sculptures, secular and religious buildings, museums and other scattered elements around the region. We will not focus, though, on the Modernism, Romanesque or Medieval heritage, since these elements are included in other tours.
Our tour will start in Olot and will travel along different towns of the region to finish in Tortellà, one of the towns with more sculptures.
Our tour will start in the capital: La Garrotxa Museum, housed in the Hospice building, it analyses the artistic activity of the Olot School of Landscape, championed by sibling artists Joaquim and Marià Vayreda, as well as Josep Berga Boix. Two prominent artists, whose work is also well represented in the museum, are the Olot-born sculptors Miquel Blay, Joan Llimona and Josep Clarà, three leading figures of Modernism and Noucentisme. In the museum you will find a painting called La càrrega (1903) by Ramon Casas, which is one of the most symbolic pieces of Catalan contemporary art.
Having visited the museum we will go outside to discover other artistic elements which are part of the public space of the city. One of the most paradigmatic ones is the athletics track. Located on the outskirts of the municipality it manages to fit into the oakwood surrounding it and it even makes it stand out.
Also on the outskirst of town, there are the Moixina settings. The landscape surrounding it, the water, the paths and the vegetation offer different light perspectives depending on the time of the year, the time of the day or the way the sunlight falls on them. This is why at the end of the 19th century they were a source of inspiration for the artists of the Olot School of Landscape.
Another interesting area is the Pedra Tosca Park. Located near the Green Road, bordering Les Preses and Olot, it has constructions perfectly integrated into the volcanic landscape which combine natural and artistic elements.
If we follow the Green Road we will arrive in Vall d’en Bas, where there are two interesting sculptures with historical and social allegories. One is the monument dedicated to Verntallat made by Rosa Serra. He was a hero who led the Remença revolts and is still considered a synonym of the peasant uprisings.
The other one by Modest Fluvià represents a family of farmers and evokes the valleys’ traditional lifestyle.
Now we will discover some sculptures of free, spontaneous creation. At the beginning of the 20th century, during the 90s, there were several meetings between young Italian and Catalan artists in several towns of the region. One of those meetings took place in Santa Pau in 1992 and we can still admire some of the works created at that moment. The most important ones are The Trapezi, and the Nena Blanca Mig Esporuguida.
Two years later another meeting took place, this time in Besalú. In this case, one of the most remarkable elements which can still be admired are the chairs hung in different parts of the town, such as in Rocafort Street.
Along this route we will also discover the Alta Garrotxa, a region that has attracted the interest of several artists who have painted it or described it in their novels. La Punyalada (The Stab), written by Marià Vayreda, starts precisely in Sant Aniol d’Aguja. We will also visit Sant Aniol after a long walk by the river. There was once a Benedictine monastery of which there is only the small Romanesque church of Sant Aniol built in the 11th century left.
Also in the Alta Garrotxa, close the present border with other towns, there is a small Romanesque church dating from the 12th century: Nostra Senyora de les Agulles church. Its name comes from an old tradition which consisted in pinning images of the Virgin Mary in the clothes with needles. According to the belief of that time, the needles became miraculous.
We will leave the Alta Garrotxa mountains behind to go to the valley where the river Fluvià flows. In Argelaguer there is one of the most singular and peculiar sculpture of the region and maybe of the country. We are talking about Josep Pijiula buildings or the Can Sis Rals springs. Towers, bridges, huts and sculptures form a unique atmosphere which has been classified as an asset of Local Interest.
Our last stop is Tortellà, a town with its own history and personality. Production and trade were already part of it in the 18th century, long before the arrival of the Industrial Revolution. This entrepreneur character left a mark in the history of the town. In fact, during the Carlist Wars, Tortellà was always on the Liberals side and it was one of the most assaulted towns.
When we reach Tortellà following the main road, on the left hand there is the Xiruca monument. It is a sculpture by Manuel Solà dedicated to the famous footwear created and produced in Tortellà since the 50s of the last century. Moreover, the sculpture also incorporates another typical product of the town: the wooden spoons.
In Can Santaló Park there is another sculpture: L’Enigma, made by Albert Nogué. On the other side of the park there is another one called La noia del càntir, also made by Albert Nogué. This work of art commemorates the town’s efficient use of the water. This is why the sculpture can be found at the back of the main square, in the place where neighbours used to wait patiently when fetching water. This was also the place where women went by when they were going to do the washing.
However, one of the most special elements are the spoon-shaped streetlights. As an expression of recognition to the spoon makers of the town, who had been a referent of this field since 1762, the town hall decided to substitute the old streetlights by new ones in the shape of spoons.
Along this route we have seen how art can embellish public spaces in towns and cities of La Garrotxa. Sculptures, buildings and even parks give the region an artistic richness which complements its historical, cultural and gastronomic value.
La Garrotxa is an artistic region that transpires art. Sculptures, buildings, paintings, parks, etch. In many places we will see works of art. Whether you like them or not we recommend you to take a look at them and try to work out their meaning.
In Olot we will visit museums which will show us paintings and sculptures, but we will also see many outdoor places with beautiful works of art.
We can also wander around the Tosca forest, a beautiful place that will take us back in time. We can also visit the Moixina settings: a magic place with a beautiful landscape which has been a source of inspiration for many painters and artists.
In La Garrotxa there are also many sculptures in public places with different materials, styles and purposes. Some honour the past, such as the one dedicated to Francesc de Verntallat or the one representing a family of farmers, both located in the Vall d’en Bas. They were created by a series of artists which had several meetings with Italian artists and left peculiar sculptures such as the chairs hung in some streets of Besalú. In this village there are also sculptures which refer to aspects related to the village, such as the Xiruca or the wooden spoons. In fact, even the streetlights are spoon-shaped. Which ones would you like to see first? Would you like to try creating one of these sculptures using mud or plasticine?

Curiosity

In Sant Feliu de Pallerols there is a statue facing the river Brugent. It is called Pescallunes. A legend says that during a full moon night a villager, admired by the beauty of the moon reflected on the river tried to catch it using a basket. Someone saw him and laughed at thim and, from then on, the inhabitants of Sant Feliu are called pescallunes (moon catchers).

Additional data

Recommendation: To wander around Olot and enjoy its art. For example, you can walk along the Passeig Miquel Blay, the Firal where you will see sculptures such as La Lectura, by Blay or L’Orígen, which was created by Emília Xargay. Another interesting place is the Clarà square, surrounded by a beautiful and elegant garden where we will find La Maternitat, made by Josep Clarà.