Valencia (iii) – Photography Focus 1: Modernista architecture
Regulars to my blog will not be at all surprised to know that I was never far from my camera(s) as I traversed the quaint streets, wide esplanades and picturesque squares of Valencia. Photography, like art, is like an inseparable part of my inner personality, almost like an extra limb by which I can capture the compositions which line up and freeze into photo form in my mind’s eye as I look around me. Valencia was, unsurprisingly, ripe fodder for my photographic expressionism, and so many photos have resulted, that I thought it would be prudent to post my body of work thematically.
First up is a concentration on Modernista architecture, the movement of architecture which paralleled, and to some extent expanded our own art nouveau style, an artistic drive which embellished buildings with floral, leafy detail, replaced straight lines with daring curves and undulations, and generally rewrote the rules of conservative architectural standards.
Valencia’s offerings of Modernismo are not as abundant or over the top as the prized examples of Barcelona’s Gaudi-led architecture, but there are nonetheless plenty of buildings to rave about. As a starting point, I was delighted to learn, upon arriving out our hotel, the Vincci Palace, that the hotel itself is set within one of Valencia’s most admired Modernista offerings, complete with elaborate miradores (corner balconies) of which (I was even more excited to discover) our room boasted one of two. In the same street (the Calle de la Paz), various other buildings overflow in Modernista detailing, from plaster rendering which looks almost alive with curving creeping plant details, to equally elaborate ironwork, but all combined with something of a Valencian focus as plaster and stone combines with softly-toned ceramic tiles.
Beyond the Calle de la Paz, examples of Modernismo are sprinkled across the city’s historic quarter, as wooden miradores, rounded windows, and examples aplenty of differing building shapes and styles standout from the more conventional linear architecture all around. In the impressive Plaza del Ayuntamiento, a plethora of decorated domes, statues and curving, meandering details are scattered across the architecturally diverse central square, while beyond, the Modernista facade of the grand central station, the Estacion del Norte, makes for an impressive entrance to the city’s main transport hub. Also in the centre, the grand Mercado Central is built in the Modernista tradition, with elaborate ironwork, coloured stained glass and more ceramic detailing proclaiming a central food market place for the people built in the Modernismo style.
It is without further ado that I share a gallery of the garlanded, stucco-covered, elaborately decorated buildings and street furnishings which make Valencia’s historic quarter a must-see centre of the Modernista movement.
All photos are strictly the copyright of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown © 2013 and The Daily Norm. All rights are reserved.