Last updated

Noucentisme in Catalonia (Catalan pronunciation:  [ˌnɔwsənˈtizmə] , noucentista being its adjective) was a Catalan cultural movement of the early 20th century that originated largely as a reaction against Modernisme, both in art and ideology, and was, simultaneously, a perception of art almost opposite to that of avantgardists. In 1906, Eugeni d'Ors coined the term following the Italian tradition of naming styles after the centuries (for example, Quattrocento , Cinquecento , etc.) and using the homonyms nou (nine) and nou (new) to suggest it was a renovation movement. The same year two essential works for Noucentisme were published: Els fruits saborosos by Josep Carner and "La nacionalitat catalana" by the Conservative politician Enric Prat de la Riba.


In the arts

Despite certain similarities between the movements, it opposed Modernisme, the previous movement, and the radical and individualist views and Bohemian lifestyle most of its proponents engaged in. Noucentisme glorified order and what they saw as the spirit of the 20th century and an idealist expectancy of change. The novel was largely excluded in favour of poetry, which was more useful to convey the spirit of the style. The style as a whole shows a predilection for a Classicist approach, Europeanism, Modernism and a struggle to perfect the literary style of language. Artists and politicians were close collaborators.

Its main defining features in poetry are a return to Apollonian classicism, a very refined and accurate language, objectivity and rejection of abrupt feelings and a particular interest in nature. Its stylistical origins in the tradition started by Josep Torras i Bages, the Escola Mallorquina ("Majorcan School") led by the Conservative Joan Alcover and the priest Miquel Costa i Llobera, the French Parnassian poetry and the Symbolists are obvious in most of the works produced in the period that spans from 1906 to approximately 1923. The Vienna Secession was a key influence to their ideal of beauty in architecture. The architect Rafael Masó i Valentí (1880-1935), works mainly in Girona and its regions, is one of the clearest promoters of nineteenth-century architecture. The architects of the first period, as Josep Maria Pericas mix and nineteenth-century modernist elements, especially in civil engineering.

Its most prominent adherent, Josep Carner, known by his epithet of "prince of the Catalan poets" and produced very elaborate, ornate poetry, reminiscent of the Baroque and still admired for his beautiful style and refined language.

In the following decades, though, the name of the movement has acquired a negative connotation of an excessively affected and artificial literature, just the opposite of Moderniste Joan Maragall's Romantic theory of "the living word", that is, spontaneity in creation.

Painters and sculptors of the Noucentista period are Joaquim Sunyer, Joaquín Torres-García and Manolo Hugué (who was a close friend of Picasso).

In politics

"Aplicaciones del Gas" store in Barcelona by Santiago Marco (1930) Marco-Aplicacions del gas.jpg
"Aplicaciones del Gas" store in Barcelona by Santiago Marco (1930)

Catalonia was the most industrialised and therefore wealthiest region of Spain at the time. A change of attitude towards politics among members of Catalan bourgeoisie helped develop the basis of political pragmatism and idealism in Noucentisme. Catalan nationalism was becoming seriously influential in politics for the first time, especially incarned in the right-wing and Catholic party Regionalist League, whose goal, despite having a full national conscience, was to achieve a number of reforms to reassure the hegemony of the Catalan principate within Spain and to become more influential in the decision-making in Spanish politics, instead of achieving formal independence.

Following the disagreements that took place among Catalan politicians, intellectuals and, most prominently, the working class of Barcelona (after the "disaster" of 1898 and the Rif War, especially after what has come to be known as Semana Tràgica or Tragic Week in 1909), a segment of the population wished to disengage from Spain. The Catalan nationalist tradition in the 19th century had relied on protectionist views held by both the bourgeoisie and the working classes. On the other hand, an anti-liberal and reactionary Carlism that reclaimed its ancient rights and privileges still existed in the countryside and helped give birth, through Vigatanisme, to the emerging right-wing Catalanism. These new Noucentista views had partly assimilated and inherited these ideals, but were in favour of more modern values that represented their faith in (most probably far-fetched) idealist changes. A majority of members of the industrial bourgeoisie of the country supported the Regionalist League, which became the most influential party until about 1925.

Now that they had been given the chance, intellectuals of Noucentisme (itself a vehicle of this conservative, Catholic Catalanism), led by Eugeni d'Ors, advocated a project of cultural intervention based on four principles: Imperialism, Arbitrarism, Civility, and Classicism.

Noucentista imperialism was a conservative and up-to-date version of the principles of Spanish Regenerationism designed to make Catalonia the leading region of modernization of the Spanish state and society.

Arbitrarism was a philosophy naming literary creation a symbol of human will conquering reality. Their particular will could be summed up as an "ideal Catalonia" that would come to replace the "real Catalonia" through the remaining two precepts, Civility and Classicism.

Their concept of civility was rooted in a vision of an "ideal Catalonia" equalled to that of a Catalan polis ruled on the principles of culture, harmony, a democratic community life and order versus what they saw as the barbaric countryside.

Their interest in an Apollonian Classicism was not only of a literary nature: they desired formal perfection, harmony and flawless proportion to be everywhere. Mediterraneity came to be seen as a synthesis of the Noucentista ideal.

Their intervention in practice was carried out following three goals:

They chose Barcelona as the natural centre of all these institutional reforms.

Their project was never completely fulfilled, among other reasons because of disagreements between members of Noucentisme, anti-catalanist repression under the 1923–1930 dictatorship of Miguel Primo de Rivera, and the consequent rise to popularity and power of left-wing Catalan nationalist and independentist parties. However, a large renovation of Catalan society took place, especially thanks to the reforms during the period of the Commonwealth of Catalonia and Catalan got its first consistent spelling rules with the reform led by Pompeu Fabra.

They also promoted the creation of institutions in charge of the cultural and official development of Catalan. The Bernat Metge Foundation translated Greek and Latin language classics into Catalan and the Institut d'Estudis Catalans became a regulator body for Catalan. Also dating from the Noucentista era are other official institutions to promote culture and make it widely accessible were Network of Popular Libraries, the Catalan Drama School, the School of Librarians and the Library of Catalonia.

Prominent members

See also


  1. Reixach i Puig, Ramon. "Cent anys de noucentisme. Josep Goday i Casals" (PDF). (in Catalan). Capgròs Comunicació S.L. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 February 2014. Retrieved 21 July 2012.

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Catalan language</span> Western Romance language

Catalan, known in the Valencian Community and Carche as Valencian, is a Western Romance language. It is the official language of Andorra, and an official language of three autonomous communities in eastern Spain: Catalonia, the Valencian Community, and the Balearic Islands. It also has semi-official status in the Italian comune of Alghero. It is also spoken in the Pyrénées-Orientales department of France and in two further areas in eastern Spain: the eastern strip of Aragon and the Carche area in the Region of Murcia. The Catalan-speaking territories are often called the Països Catalans or "Catalan Countries".

<i>Modernisme</i> Architectural and artistic movement originating in late-19th-century Catalonia, Spain

Modernisme, also known as Catalan modernism and Catalan art nouveau, is the historiographic denomination given to an art and literature movement associated with the search of a new entitlement of Catalan culture, one of the most predominant cultures within Spain. Nowadays, it is considered a movement based on the cultural revindication of a Catalan identity. Its main form of expression was Modernista architecture, but it also encompassed many other arts, such as painting and sculpture, and especially the design and the decorative arts, which were particularly important, especially in their role as support to architecture. Modernisme was also a literary movement.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Josep Irla</span> Catalan politician

Josep Irla i Bosch was a Catalan businessman and politician. He was a deputy in the Parliament of Catalonia and the Spanish Congress in 1932, as an Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya affiliate. He was also the last President of Parliament of Catalonia at the end of Republican Catalan resistance in the Spanish Civil War, before Francisco Franco abolished the Generalitat of Catalonia. He was elected President of the Parliament of Catalonia on 1 October 1938. In office, Irla pushed for cooperation with the allies, Basque nationalists and other anti-Francoist groups, though excluding the communists. He became the President-in-exile of the Generalitat after Lluís Companys was executed. During his time as President-in-exile, he established a Government in exile, and appointed Josep Tarradellas as Conseller en Cap. He resigned as President in 1954.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Catalan literature</span> Literature in the Catalan language

Catalan literature is the name conventionally used to refer to literature written in the Catalan language. The focus of this article is not just the literature of Catalonia, but literature written in Catalan from anywhere, so that it includes writers from Andorra, the Valencian Community, Balearic Islands and other territories where any Catalan variant is spoken.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Santiago Rusiñol</span>

Santiago Rusiñol i Prats was a Spanish painter, poet, journalist, collector and playwright. He was one of the leaders of the Catalan modernisme movement. He created more than a thousand paintings and wrote numerous works in Catalan and Spanish.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya</span> Art museum in Palau Nacional, Barcelona

The Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya, abbreviated as MNAC, is a museum of Catalan visual art located in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. Situated on Montjuïc hill at the end of Avinguda de la Reina Maria Cristina, near Pl Espanya, the museum is especially notable for its outstanding collection of romanesque church paintings, and for Catalan art and design from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including modernisme and noucentisme. The museum is housed in the Palau Nacional, a huge, Italian-style building dating to 1929. The Palau Nacional, which has housed the Museu d'Art de Catalunya since 1934, was declared a national museum in 1990 under the Museums Law passed by the Catalan Government. That same year, a thorough renovation process was launched to refurbish the site, based on plans drawn up by the architects Gae Aulenti and Enric Steegmann, who were later joined in the undertaking by Josep Benedito. The Oval Hall was reopened in 1992 on the occasion of the Olympic Games, and the various collections were installed and opened over the period from 1995 to 2004. The Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya was officially inaugurated on 16 December 2004. It is one of the largest museums in Spain.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Josep Carner</span> Spanish poet, journalist, playwright and translator

Josep Carner i Puigoriol, was a Spanish poet, journalist, playwright and translator. He was also known as the Prince of Catalan Poets. He was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature seven times.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Eugenio d'Ors</span>

Eugenio d'Ors Rovira was a Spanish writer, essayist, journalist, philosopher and art critic. He wrote in both Catalan and Spanish, sometimes under the pseudonym of Xènius.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Avinguda Diagonal</span> Thoroughfare in Barcelona, Spain

Avinguda Diagonal is the name of one of Barcelona's broadest and most important avenues. It cuts the city in two, diagonally with respect to the grid pattern of the surrounding streets, hence the name.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Maristes Valldemia</span> School in Mataró, Province of Barcelona - Catalonia, Spain

The Maristes Valldemia school, is located in Mataró, Province of Barcelona - Catalonia (Spain). It is a catholic school run by Marist Brothers, and dedicated to Our Lady the Virgin of the Candle. The ownership is held by Fundació Champagnat, Fundació Privada.

The early modern period in Catalan literature and historiography, while extremely productive for Castilian writers of the Siglo de Oro, has been termed La Decadència, an era of decadence in Catalan literature and history, generally thought to be caused by a general falling into disuse of the vernacular language in cultural contexts and lack of patronage among the nobility, even in lands of the Crown of Aragon. This decadence is thought to accompany the general Castilianization of Spain and overall neglect of the Crown of Aragon's institutions after the dynastic union of the crowns of Castile and Aragon that resulted from the marriage of Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile, a union finalized in 1474.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Rafael Masó i Valentí</span>

Rafael Masó i Valentí was one of the most outstanding Catalan architects of the early 20th century. Masó was born in Girona into a refined, conservative, Catholic family of Catalanist ideology. The personality and professional career of the future architect were marked by the cultured atmosphere of his home, created by his father’s literary and artistic interests, as well as his own love of Girona city and its traditions. Masó was an admirer of Antoni Gaudí but, as a student in Barcelona, he joined the group of artists and writers who were to forge Noucentisme, the movement that developed as an alternative to Modernisme. The civic spirit, the Catalanist outlook, and the forward-looking, pro-European ideas prevailing within the new movement inspired the young Masó, who was also to become a distinguished poet, urban planner, politician, and promoter of art and literature.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Montjuïc Cemetery</span> Cemetery in Barcelona, Spain

Montjuïc Cemetery, known in Catalan as Cementiri del Sud-oest or Cementiri de Montjuïc, is located on one of the rocky slopes of Montjuïc hill in Barcelona.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cercle Artístic de Sant Lluc</span>

The Cercle Artístic de Sant Lluc is an arts society which was founded in Barcelona (Catalonia) in 1893 by Joan Llimona, Josep Llimona, Antoni Utrillo, Alexandre de Riquer, the city councillor Alexandre M. Pons and a group of artists who were followers of bishop Josep Torras i Bages, as a reaction to the anticlerical current present in modernisme and in the Cercle Artístic de Barcelona, which they considered to be frivolous. The society was typified by its vigorous defence of Catholic morals and of family virtue, and its desire to follow in the path of humility that was pursued by the mediaeval guilds.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Casa Trinxet</span> 1904 building by Josep Puig i Cadafalch

Casa Trinxet was a building designed by the Catalan Modernisme architect Josep Puig i Cadafalch and built during the years 1902–1904, officially considered completed in 1904. It was located at the crossroads of Carrer Balmes and Carrer del Consell de Cent, in the Eixample district of Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. Casa Trinxet was "one of the jewels of Barcelona Modernisme" and one of the buildings of Barcelona's Illa de la Discòrdia, because of competing attitudes among Domènech i Montaner, Puig i Cadafalch and Antoni Gaudí.

<i>Vell i Nou</i> Barcelona magazine (1915-1921)

Vell i Nou was a Catalan magazine dedicated to arts that was established in March 1915. Its owner and editor-in-chief was Santiago Segura i Burguess. Later, the magazine was edited by other people, such as Joaquim Folch i Torres, Romà Jori, and Joan Sacs. The format of the magazine was 4 pages measuring 367x270 mm with 3 columns each. It was published weekly until April 10, when it started to appear every fortnight. The editorial office was situated in the Galeries Laietanes (Barcelona). Initially it was printed by F. Borràs, but later changed to other printers such as Oliva de Vilanova.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Josep Maria Ganyet</span>

Josep Maria Ganyet i Cirera is a Catalan computer engineer. Graduated from the Autonomous University of Barcelona in 1988, he then specialized in artificial intelligence.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Galeries Dalmau</span> Spanish art gallery operating from 1906 to 1930; best known for introducing avant-garde art to Spain

Galeries Dalmau was an art gallery in Barcelona, Spain, from 1906 to 1930. The gallery was founded and managed by the Symbolist painter and restorer Josep Dalmau i Rafel. The aim was to promote, import and export avant-garde artistic talent. Dalmau is credited for having launched avant-garde art in Spain.

<i>La Veu de Catalunya</i>

La Veu de Catalunya was a Catalan newspaper founded by Enric Prat de la Riba that was published in Barcelona from 1 January 1899 to 8 January 1937, with two editions daily.