THEME: THE PATUM (Representation of The Patum of Berga).


TECHNIQUE: Mixed technique on canvas.

SIGNED: 2 / 3 / 2012

DIMENSIONS: Canvas 195x97 cm.

COMMENT: The Patum of Berga is a popular festival whose origin is to be found in the celebrations and parades accompanying the Corpus Christi processions of the Middle Ages. It takes the form of a series of theatrical performances and parade of a variety of effigies through the streets of this Catalan community north of Barcelona.

The Patum takes place every year during the week of Corpus Christi, between the end of May and the end of June, and comprises several parts: an extraordinary meeting of the municipal council, the appearance of the Tabal (a large and emblematic festival drum presiding over the festivities) and the Quatre Fuets announcing the festivities. The following days see numerous celebrations, the most important of which are the parades, the ceremonial Patum, the children’s Patum and the full Patum. The Taba (tambourine), the Turks, Cavallets (papier mâché horses), Maces (demons wielding maces and whips), Guites (mule dragons), the eagle, giant-headed dwarves, Plens (fire demons) and giants dressed as Saracens are all allegorical figures and representations that parade one after the other through the streets, performing different acrobatic tricks and spreading light and music among the joyous audience. All the figures join to perform the final dance, the Tirabol.

The Patum of Berga is a religious ceremony that has preserved its pagan roots and has perpetuated a profane ritual in spite of the religious and civil institutions’ bans on it. Certain elements re-interpreted by the Catholic Church have retained their essence and original character through the centuries. This tradition stands out from other similar festivals of the region that have come down from the Middle Ages because of the its variety, the persistence of its medieval street theatre, ritual sequences and, above all, the continuity which it has been able to achieve for nearly six hundred years.

The continuity of the celebration seems to be ensured. The Patum of Berga is however threatened by transformation, distortion and loss of value in a general context marked by strong urban and tourist development that tend to reduce the Patum to a mass phenomenon. These factors risk denaturing the Patum ritual by encouraging its organization in areas and at dates that are not authentic. Moreover, the hundred year-old Patum figures that require care and restoration by artisans who possess specific secular knowledge and know-how, risk being replaced by modern replicas devoid of all artistic and historical value.



NOTE: Comment removed for


In my pictorial representation of this event, I put on the table each of the groups are more representative than the Patum. Each troupe is in a vertical column on the web, which also represent fragments of music that corresponds to your parade.

I've drawn musical notes on a staff that is blocked by previous color, with its musical values, but without putting the bar or bar lines, and all of them in relief. With this large amount of notes scattered throughout the box, I represent the public, people dancing to the music.

You see, the drawing of the groups is a simple, linear drawing, only hinting at the shape and contour of the figures. It's a relief pattern, made with strings attached in the fabric of different thicknesses for each troupe.

Fire is the most representative in the feast of the Patum and "Els Plens" represent the infernal orgy, one could say it's the end of the party ecstasy. It is 100 devils "fuets" (big and large firecrackers) in the head and tail, dressed with fresh herbs to protect themselves from fire and green mask. I have therefore placed this carnival in the center of the table, with oval and deformed circles represent the "Plaça de Sant Pere" (St. Peter square, where it represents the Patum), which together with the intense blue, red, black and green suggest this hellish orgy of fire. This troupe only acts in the representation of the night.

As for color, I used a variety of colors and complementary to each other to represent the party atmosphere and bustle that is formed in the plaza between the groups and people. A square as I said earlier represented by oval circles and deformed in the center of the painting with the colors that best interpret this noise. Reds, blacks, blues and oranges and yellows that suggest the fire, hell and night, green representing the devil and "Les Guites" (The Dragons), and a light blue and white sky and hints days. The mixed good and evil, always in contention, reverence and mockery, peace and war, the fun, the bustle, the atmosphere, sensations and feelings, all these elements and the general holiday magic in my heart is what I wanted to represent in my box.