Thursday, October 22, 2009

Kristian Krekovic and Bill Lewis

Bill Lewis as King Jaime I Chapter 35

I’m making a pause in recounting Helen’s wedding preparations to tell you about something curious that happened a couple of years before I arrived in Mallorca.

You may have read in my earlier posts entitled Vancouver Flashback about Bill Lewis, my first guitar teacher who had been giving lessons and working on guitar construction and repairs for George Bowden in his Mediterranean shop in Vancouver. And how one year Bill came over to Palma de Mallorca to help out in George’s guitar factory, located at the time in the Pueblo Español.

During that time, Bill was introduced to Kristian Krekovic, the Croatian portrait painter.

Krekovic was born in Bosnia in 1901 and after studying in both Vienna and Paris and living for a time with his wife in Peru, he settled in 1960 in Mallorca and became interested in Spanish art.

There he set about painting a large work depicting King Jaime I (James I) of Aragón (The Conqueror) showing his landing in Mallorca at Santa Ponsa in 1229, where together with his fleet of 155 ships he conquered the island, driving out the Moors.

As Krekovic was primarily a portrait painter he needed a model with strong facial features, preferably bearded, to represent King Jaime seated on a rock as he gazed out to sea.

Bill Lewis
I don’t know how they met, but Bill Lewis, Canadian, was the model and became the face of King Jaime I of Aragón.

Here he is in this now famous painting, with the artist standing beside it.

painting of Jaime I by Krekovic
For a long time the painting hung in the Palma city hall – the Ayuntamiento, where I was to see it after my arrival in Mallorca but I believe it has been moved to the Hotel Marina Rey Don Jaime in Santa Ponsa (Mallorca).

There is now a city park and a museum devoted to Kristian Krekovic, who passed away in 1985 in Palma de Mallorca.

Here is another of Krekovic's paintings depicting Mallorquin women in their native costumes:

Mallorquin women in costume - Krekovic
Photo credits of Krekovic's works go to:
The Croatian History Net.
Photo of Bill Lewis thanks to his daughter, Lyra Lewis, to whom I am most grateful.

Next: Cognac Gulch

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Barcelona & Antoni Gaudí

Sharon & Ruth
With Helen in Barcelona 1968

Chapter 34

After our overnight trip on the boat from Palma, Helen and I disembarked in the early morning hours and took a taxi to our hotel, located within viewing distance of the Temple of the Sagrada Familia, the amazing and still unfinished creation of the Catalan architect, Antoni Gaudí. By leaning out our hotel window we could see the tall spires pointing skyward far down the avenue.

view from hotelWe were to meet with José who was free for the day and would take us around the city to see the sights, visiting the Barri Gòtic...the Gothic quarter, the Parc de la Ciutadella...the large city park and of course, the Temple of the Sagrada Familia.

Los NoviosHelen with José walking in the Gothic quarter

I was so wide-eyed at being in Barcelona and to be seeing all these sights. We passed by the famous Ramblas, that beautiful treed avenue where people were sitting at outdoor cafes.

The Ramblas
We visited the Parc de la Ciutadella...

The statue known as La Cascada:

La Cascada
Through the Barri Gòtic to the magnificent Barcelona cathedral, known as La Seu.

La Seu

La Seu
We passed through narrow streets in the Gothic quarter and famous landmarks such as Gaudí's Art Nouveau restoration of Casa Batlló.

Casa Batlló

Barcelona street

Barcelona street
And finally arriving at the enormous and awe-inspiring Roman Catholic Temple of the Sagrada Familia, whose construction began in 1882 and is still not finished. It must be seen to be believed and this was how it looked in 1968 as we walked around taking in as much as we could of the intricate carved facade.

Sagrada Familia

Sagrada Familia

Sagrada Familia
We stopped for something to eat after which they dropped me at the hotel where I wanted to have a long siesta and rest my feet after such an exciting day. Helen and José were to meet with his parents and then go to a movie.....without their chaperone. I had developed a rather bad headache and so I fell into bed and was immediately asleep. I guess I hadn't slept so well the night before on that boat trip after all. But it had been a wonderful day that I would always remember!

Here is a slideshow of these photos enlarged and a few more of our day in Barcelona. They are the original slides I took in 1968, and although they are not in perfect shape I do treasure them. I hope you will also enjoy seeing them. Hasta pronto!

Next: Kristian Krekovic and Bill Lewis
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