When I worked for a Latin record label, I almost visited Cuba. There where several Cuban artists on the roster and a team was sent for a photoshoot for the album artwork for an influential band called Los Van Van. I was thisclose to going but was ultimately not sent with the crew. (The album, Llego Van Van, later won a well-deserved Grammy.) Growing up in Miami, I was also exposed to both the beauty and politics of Cuba. It’s a country that has always fascinated me.
I visited my Mother recently and found a gorgeous book she had bought called Living in Cuba written by Alexandra Black and photographed by Simon McBride. I eagerly picked it up and she told me “Oh, you’re going to love the architecture!”. She is a generous soul and graciously gave me the book. (You can protest, but it will get you nowhere.) So, I am sharing it with you.
Ms. Black traveled from coast to coast to fully capture the flavor and magic of Cuba. She writes on all aspects of Cuba — the livelihoods, the cities, the architecture, the design and the artistry. Mr. McBride complimented her writings with gorgeous photographs. This is truly just a sampling.
A Moorish arch with Italianate fresco artistry. Here’s a closeup of the art. Lovely.
Do click on the images above to enlarge. On the left is the 17th century Casa de la Obra Pia and on the right, a 19th century indoor courtyard.
(above) Fresco artists came to Cuba in the 1500s with the Spanish conquistadors. The Spanish had learned the craft from the Italians but most chose to use less figurative work and more dainty designs with the bold colors.
It is said that upon seeing Cuba, Christopher Columbus declared it the most beautiful land that was ever seen – and promptly claimed it for Spain. It’s a beautiful mix of sandy shores, colors and an exotic atmosphere. It also showcases various design styles including Art Deco, Art Nouveau and Baroque. I do hope to visit one day. You?
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