Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Graffiti fresco...

In Barcelona.

A Barcelona priest commissioned street artists - graffiti artists - taggers, to paint the apse in his church, L'Hospitalet's Santa Eulalia.  It is magnificent - a fine example of contemporary Catalan iconography.
“Even though the press is scandalized by graffiti artists,” he said, “for me graffiti is just another artistic technique.”

The result is a spectacular splash of colors – rich blues, bright reds and greens, on the rounded ceiling dominating the main sanctuary. But don’t think street art. In fact, the style of the painting is faithfully Romanesque, with static, two-dimensional renderings of Saint Eulalia, the Virgin and Baby Jesus and the congregation. Borr says he sent his two young graffiti artists to school before he let them near the place.

“I told them they couldn’t start until they visited a museum in Barcelona to study the Romanesque style I was interested in,” he said. “So they went, and studied, even took out some books.”
Only after that could the project come together.

One of the two ‘graffiteros’ was Raul Sanchez, who’s tag, or signature for street art, is House. House said that when Father Borr hired him he was surprised, and nervous, and thrilled. 
“Only a graffiti artist can tell we used aerosol cans to do the work,” he said by telephone from Alicante. “We tried to conceal that. In the Roman period spray paint obviously didn’t exist.” 
House said that if the spray-paint style had been too obvious it would have been away from what Father Borr wanted.

Not that House completely conformed. - Full story here.

This story supports for me what I've always said about iconography:  It is painted, not written.  Likewise, medium and technique is not a magic formula to transform a work into sacred art. 

It is wonderful to see this accomplished within an architecturally traditional church. 


  1. wow, I really like this as well. recently I read a brief piece about the discovery that Picasso was using common house paint for his work, as it delivered that flat, smooth quality.

  2. What would've happened if Picasso had used spray paint?

  3. What a really beautiful job they did!!

    Speaking of art, I can't find your post on the little old Spanish grandma's "restoration" to the 19th century painting of Christ by Elias Garcia Martinez. Sad sad story, but since it's not Jesus any more but something...else, I think I'm not blaspheming when I find all the internet memes on it just hysterical! If you haven't made a post on it yet, why the heck not??! It is right up your alley!

  4. Anonymous7:38 AM

    That's awesome. Any story celebrating an unexpected healing--especially when told by an artist named, of all things, 'House'--grabs me from the get go.

    This 'graffiti' (if only all graffiti looked like this) reminds me of the other-worldly folk art that adorns the mission churches of New Mexico.

    Thumbs up.


  5. It does have a New Mexican feel - but it is clearly Catalan.


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