The Four Geniuses: Gaudí, Picasso, Miró and Casals – Following In Their Footsteps

Part 1 – Preparation & Thoughts

By Jackie De Burca – Follow Jackie on Twitter

Before our exciting trip to follow, humbly, in the footsteps of the four geniuses – Gaudi, Miró, Pau Casals and Picasso – I have started thinking about one of my favourite subjects. This is the effect that our environments can have on us; potentially what happens if we change our environments and of course, how these elements inter-play with the influences and work of the artistic people that we most admire….and our own creative processes as well!

I have to admit that I am actually very happy that we haven’t visited, as yet, any of these four places. So our first impression and connections with them will be as we hold in our consciousnesses the spirits and legacies of these amazing men. At the time of writing, this blog is only a few months old, and so we’ve only travelled to a small amount of towns and villages so far. However before losing myself, and maybe yourself, in my thoughts about this journey, let me just tell you about the Four Geniuses Route. It takes in the following spots connected with these four creative geniuses:

The Four Geniuses Route – A Brief Overview

Gaudí and Reus – Reus is the town where Gaudí was born and lived until he went, aged 18, to Barcelona to study architecture. The years of his studies spanned from 1870 to 1878, but this was because they were interrupted due to his military service. In 1878 he sold his home in Reus and moved to Barcelona.

Four Geniuses MiroMiró and Mont-roig – Joan Miró didn’t go to Mont-roig until he was 18 years old, at which stage he went in order to recuperate from typhoid fever. But from there on in, he spent 65 years going there in the summertime, to immerse himself in this special village and its lovely surroundings, where he found his creative inspiration. He said ‘All of my work is conceived in Mont.-roig.’

Four Geniuses Pablo Casals

Pau Casals and El Vendrell – Commonly called Pablo in Spanish, Casals was born on 29th December 1876 in El Vendrell. He is recognised internationally as one of the greatest cellists of the 20th century, as well as being one of the finest orchestra conductors and performers of his era.

His musical studies took him to both Madrid and Barcelona, and during his career he performed in some of the world’s most important concert halls. However he went into exile because of the outcome of the Civil War. Although he died in Puerto Rico, his remains are now in the El Vendrell cemetery.

Four Geniuses PicassoPicasso and Horta de Sant Joan – If you love Picasso’s work, you may already be aware of this following quote:

“Everything I know, I learned in Horta.”

His first trip was when he was ill with scarlet fever, and lasted from the summer of 1898 until February 1899. At the end of the trip he was filled with good energy again, because of the Els Ports mountains and all of the surrounding pristine nature.

Read and see photos of Horta and the Picasso Centre by clicking on Horta de Sant Joan Spain Travel Guide.

After reading those summaries, do you notice a trend like I have?

Two of these great men were born in the places that they are connected with on this route, so in other words these places would have been like the Earth womb for them, once they had left the warmth and nurturing of their mothers’ wombs.

The other two creative geniuses both came to their places on this route, at times where they needed to recuperate from illness. So perhaps we could say that these two men knew the intrinsic value of the healing nature, and later the all-important inspirational influence, of the energy of these special places.

Check this out – it’s a quote from an article by the wonderful Bruce Lipton:

“However, environments are not static. Changes in the environments generate a need for “new” perceptions on the part of organisms inhabiting those environments. It is now evident that cells create new perception complexes through their interaction with novel environment stimuli. Utilizing a newly discovered group of genes, collectively referred to as “genetic engineering genes,” cells are able to create new perception proteins in a process representing cellular learning and memory (Cairns, 1988, Thaler 1994, Appenzeller, 1999, Chicurel, 2001).”

Pablo Casals museum garden El Vendrell SpainThere are two reasons I’ve included the quote above. The first reason is to illustrate how a renowned bestselling author explains the process of perceptions and environments, and new perceptions that occur due to our interaction with new environments. So on one hand the two geniuses who were born in these places of this route, would’ve had the impact of these environments during the stage of life where it is known that we live through the subconscious – up to the age of six or seven years old. In a more obvious way these environments were their first interaction with the outdoor physical world having left the wombs of their mothers.

The second reason is to highlight that in the case of the two geniuses, whose first experience of these places was during a time of illness, so in other words when they needed extra nurturing, I feel that they would have been extra sensitive during these periods. So the theory that I am proposing is that they were therefore potentially more open and more affected by their new perceptions, which were triggered by these novel environment stimuli.

I would love any feedback about these thoughts that you may have. As soon as we have followed in these four geniuses’ footsteps, I will be writing about the experience, so do check back to hear how it went.

A Brief Note On The Subject Of Genetics & Spirit

Another obvious trend for me is that each of the four geniuses had a strong pre-disposition genetically to being a talented creative.

Gaudí – his father was a coppersmith and his mother, the daughter of a coppersmith

Miró – his father was a silversmith and watchmaker (his father had been a blacksmith) and his mother’s father was a cabinet-maker.

Casals – his father was a musician – a choirmaster and parish organist.

Picasso – his father was an artist. art professor and curator at a museum

So being pre-disposed genetically and then finding environments, or being born into them, that could encourage creative talent and perceptions is very much of interest to me, when heading off humbly on this route.

On a personal note, I have also had a strong sense of my Mother’s spirit being around me, more than normal, in this period of preparation for this trip. She was a skilled artist, although she didn’t practice so much in her later life, and because of this I grew up in an environment where Picasso wasn’t a stranger, and where art was very much revered.

Some photos above are courtesy of our hosts