Fifty

50

Ombres reflectides

1920 by Lluís Masriera
Museu Nacional d’art de Catalunya

The Museu Nacional d’art de Catalunya has a curious L-shaped room, packed full of Art Nouveau inspired pieces. Beautiful furniture lines each wall, leading up to a huge glowing chapel — back-lit through stain glass windows with flowers curling up its sides — that commands the end of the room; to walk through feels like stepping back in time and Ombres reflectides provides a colourful backdrop. Colour is the first thing that strikes with this painting; the vibrant intensity is immediate: from the deep marine blue of the sea, diluted for the expanse of sky, to the fiery reds of the upturned parasol. The warmth of these reds burning to yellow give a brilliant sense of sun, carried by the blindingly bright sands that expand behind. A sense of decadence, an atmosphere almost surreal, is cast by Masriera, through the sheer size of the umbrella and its design – birds flying across brightly coloured stretched silk – and the ladies – white scarves blowing, goddess-like – that crouch beneath. Their clothing is silvery in shadow, translucent in light, almost magical; light’s fantastic power of transformation is celebrated – the title is Shadows reflected. Masriera’s painting style is also interesting, not post-impressionist or Modernist but concentrated in places of colour and light; it appears to be bold, almost flat, applied in expressive daubs, yet delicate in summoning the figures reflected in shadow.

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