Sunday, November 30, 2014

Expat Thanksgivings are often not on Thanksgiving

Carving a turkey for Thanksgiving

The American holiday of Thanksgiving is not  << NEWSFLASH >> celebrated in the rest of the world. No surprise there, of course.

If you're an American expat who wants to celebrate Thanksgiving, you need to choose: try to observe the holiday on its intended day (the last Thursday of November), or wait a few days until the weekend. You won't get two days off from work for Thanksgiving. Do you try to make a full observance, with a four day weekend? Just try to squeeze it in on Thursday evening after work? Pretend the holiday is on Saturday or Sunday?

Last year, we celebrated with some friends/neighbors/students on Thursday evening, and again on Friday. It wasn't quite a winner for me.

This year, following the lead of many other expats around the world, we decided to wait until Saturday to celebrate. Just the three of us. Nothing unique. But a classic day of cooking, football (college instead of NFL), and family. We spent our Thursday evening out to dinner with a couple of friends and raised a glass in honor of the holiday, while otherwise letting the day go by as normal.

Seasoning the turkey
Pantsless seasoning, 'cause that's how we roll.
So while last Thursday our Facebook newsfeeds were chock full of photos of celebration, we couldn't quite join in. Cue twinges of envy. And then when we observed Thanksgiving on our own in this foreign land, it felt a wee bit forced.

It's a trade-off for expats. We lose out on some holidays and traditions from home. As recompense, we can gain new ones — but they don't quite feel truly ours.

How much to hold onto our native culture, and how much to forgo, is an open question for us. What do you think? Better to import the old traditions? Or set them free and (awkwardly) adopt new holidays that don't have the same resonance?

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

One month later: Scotland's hugely successful 5 pence charge for single-use plastic bags

We were as bad as everyone else.

Like so many, we would mindlessly accept plastic bags to carry our purchases. Whether it was a cartful of groceries or a sole pack of lightbulbs from the hardware store, most things would come home in a plastic bag. At least we got a second use out of ours, employing the bags for cleaning our cat's litterbox.

Ultimately, however, we were part of the problem.

Plastic bags / single use bags / carrier bags in Scotland
Whether you call them plastic bags, carrier bags, or single-use bags, they now come with a 5 pence charge for each one.
Last month, however, Scotland instituted a small charge of 5 pence per plastic bag. Starting on October 20, these "single use bags" are taxed by the government in an attempt to reduce litter — a huge problem in Scotland and stem the "throwaway culture." The government estimated that more than 800 million bags were given away just by Scottish supermarkets every year. Let that sink in.

Actually, it's not really a tax. The Scottish government requires retailers to charge at least 5 pence — they're free to charge more — for every plastic bag. The funds raised from the charge can be spent in whatever way a business chooses, but many of the leading retailers have publicly committed to giving the proceeds to charitable and environmental causes, as well as to reporting how many bags they've dispensed and how they've used the money.

And, incidentally, the ban is not just on plastic bags, and not just on brick-and-mortar retailers. Online retailers have the same charges. Paper bags are getting the same treatment, as are some plant-based material bags. There are some exceptions. Bags used to carry unpackaged food, whether for humans or animals, are exempted. Thus, the flimsy plastic bags you might use for fruits and veggies at a grocery store come with no charge. Similarly, paper bags used by pharmacists are exempt. A few other exceptions apply.

Scotland is following the lead of other parts of the United Kingdom. In 2011, Wales started charging for single-use bags, reducing usage by 75%. Northern Ireland followed suit in 2013, reducing usage by 80%. England will institute a charge in October 2015.

Italy is the gold standard, having banned single-use plastic bags entirely. Denmark is pretty darn good. It instituted a charge a decade ago, in 2003. Now, it leads Europe (other than Italy) in the lowest usage of plastic bags. Statistically, Denmark uses only four bags per person, per year. Wowza!

Last week, the EU announced a new policy for all of its member countries. European nations have three choices:

          (1) ban the single-use plastic/carrier bags;
          (2) introduce mandatory charges by 2019; or
          (3) create binding government targets to reduce use by 80% by 2025.

European statistics show that 92% — I'm not precisely sure how they got such a precise percentage — of the common plastic bags were used only once and then discarded.

So, how is Scotland doing a month or so after it instituted its 5 pence charge?

Although no official statistics have been released, large retail chains are reporting massive drops in plastic bag usage. Morrisons, a supermarket chain, reports an 80% decrease in plastic bag use. ASDA, a large retail store similar to (and owned by) Walmart, says it has seen a 90% decrease.

That means the changeover hasn't happened gradually. It has been immediate. Consumers have altered their purchasing habits at a snap of the fingers. Although the plans for the 5 pence charge met some resistance, those concerns are long gone.

Assuming the figures from Morrisons and ASDA are representative of Scotland's large retailers generally, we're looking at an immediate reduction of more than 640,000,000 plastic bags just from supermarket chains. That doesn't even take into account other retailers.

Of course, the littering problem in Scotland is much more than just plastic bags. Litter is everywhere in Scotland's urban environments. Even on wilderness treks you'll find a surprising amount of trash. It's reminiscent of America several decades ago before the nationwide anti-littering campaigns. Scotland has a long way to go on its anti-littering message.

Nonetheless, without question, the 5 pence charge has done a lot of good in a very short period of time. We'll have to wait to see the longer-term statistics, but it's hard to imagine consumers will suddenly switch back to the plastic bags. This looks like an unmitigated success.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Monday Exposure: the (probably) oldest tree in Paris

The oldest inhabitant of Paris is an American.

Oh, mon Dieu!

Kidnapped from the eastern seaboard of North America, and then imprisoned on French soil, the hardy senior citizen has survived revolutions, a World War I bomb, pollution, Nazi invasion . . . and, worst of all, the snobby Parisians themselves. Je plaisante, I tease because I love.

Oldest tree in Paris, Robinia pseudoacacia, Square Rene Viviani, 5th arrondissement
The most elderly tree in Paris, a Robinia pseudoacacia.
Its exact date of planting is a matter of dispute. Although a few folks argue the tree was planted in the 1620s or even as late as 1636, most authorities agree the tree was planted in either 1601 or 1602 by the king's botanist, Jean Robin. Appropriately enough, the sign on the tree says 1601, while the placard next to the tree says 1602.

Robin prized seeds and seedlings from visitors to the New World. Serving as the king's botanist/arborist/gardener, Robin had previously created France's first botanical garden at the University of Paris's medical school in 1597 and then cataloged the entire Jardin Royal (royal garden) in the last years of the century. He made plantings around Paris in the early 1600s to start beautifying the largely tree-less city. Since Robin is likely the only Frenchman to have had access to both the seeds and the permission to make plantings, he is widely credited as the planter of the tree.

The oldest tree in Paris (Robinia pseudoacacia) still flowers after 400 years
Even after 400+ years, the tree flowers every spring.
Commonly known as a locust, or sometimes a "black locust" because of its dark bark, the tree is native to the eastern United States. Carl Linnaeus, the famed Swedish botanist and taxonomist, named the tree Robinia pseudoacacia in honor of Robin. As a robust plant that can flourish in poor soil, the locust tree has spread throughout the world. It does well even amidst pollution and hence is often found in cities.

The Parisian tree sits within a small garden square, the Square René Viviani, just across the River Seine from Notre Dame cathedral. In bygone centuries, the square was occupied by a medieval monastery and then an annexe building of Paris's oldest hospital, so only in the past century has the tree had a clear view to the cathedral. The square was opened to the public in 1928.

Square René Viviani in Paris, locust tree marked with red arrow
Square René Viviani, and Paris's oldest tree, as seen from Notre Dame. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia commons; red arrow courtesy of moi.)
At present, the tree measures approximately 50 feet tall, which is substantially above average for a locust tree. It would measure higher still, but a shelling during World War I destroyed its upper branches. Despite its great age, the tree blooms and flowers every spring.

Truth be told, the tree would long ago have collapsed if not for the concrete pillars supporting its leaning weight. A bit of concrete has even been added to some deep cracks in the tree itself, adding strength to its increasingly brittle bark. From the side facing Notre Dame, the pillars are largely obscured by parasitic ivy, which also would have killed off the tree except for judicious pruning by city gardeners. On the opposite side, however, the pillars are obvious.

Concrete pillars support the oldest tree in Paris; locust tree; Square Rene Viviani
One of the three concrete pillar supports was fashioned to look a bit like a tree itself.
In 2010, the city added hand-woven chestnut branches around the planting, as well as a wooden bench. But other than the small sign at the base (pictured above), which cannot easily be read by the naked eye, nothing indicates the tremendous age and stature of the tree.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Equestrian faces: pictures of concentration

Intense concentration on the cross country course at the Blair Castle International Horse Trials
A face of fierce determination.
Yesterday, I blogged about the Blair Castle International Horse Trials. Today, I thought I'd share a few photos of riders' faces as they leapt over obstacles.


Jumping a brush fence at the Blair Castle International Horse Trials
Perhaps not quite as fierce.
Brush fence at Blair Castle International Horse Trials
Mmm, this lip gloss tastes delicious.
Show jumping at Blair Castle International Horse Trials
Already preparing for the next jump.
Leaping over a brush fence
Hey, why isn't that hot chick watching me?
Cross country at the Blair Castle International Horse Trials
Calm and undaunted.
Blinking? Or is it: "Oh, shit!"

For more on the Blair Castle International Horse Trials, see:

Friday, November 21, 2014

Blair Castle International Horse Trials

Show jumping at the Blair Castle International Horse Trials
A competitor in show jumping at the Blair Castle International Horse Trials.
Set amidst rolling hills in the Scottish highlands, the Blair Castle International Horse Trials are the biggest equestrian event in Scotland and one of the biggest in the United Kingdom. Competitors range in age and skill from schoolchildren and amateurs to Olympian and world champion levels.

A young competitor at the Blair Castle International Horse Trials
A young rider approaches the challenge  . . .
A young competitor at the Blair Castle International Horse Trials
attempts to place the box on the pile  . . .
A young competitor at the Blair Castle International Horse Trials
but ultimately has to dismount to stack it.
Rider at the Blair Castle International Horse Trials
An adult competitor charges through the cross country course.
The annual horse trial -- 2014 marked its 26th year -- takes place over four days in late summer. On Thursday and Friday, the top-level riders complete a dressage test, with half the field on the first day and the other half on the second day. All the competitors compete on Saturday in cross country, riding a course more than 3.5 miles in length with roughly three dozen jumps (fences, walls, etc.). Then on Sunday, the riders compete in show jumping, a tight course of high fence jumps. Though the competition lasts four days, each rider only competes on three of those days, and hence the horse trials are often called "three-day eventing."

Wooden horse sculpture
A life-size wooden sculpture available for purchase.
Besides the top-level competitors, the horse trials include many other equestrians, from Pony Club games to adult enthusiasts to professional riders. Their cross country course follows the same path as the elite riders, but with easier and fewer jumps; their show jumping involves lower and easier fences. Meanwhile, with a country fair incorporated into the event, there are hundreds of vendors selling gear, clothing, food, crafts, furniture, and sundry other items. More than 40,000 spectators wander freely amongst the hubbub. Also, dogs are welcome and so many attend that the horse trials become nearly a dog and pony show. Ba-dum ching! Thank you, thank you, I'll be here all week.

{Ed.'s note: Don't try too hard, buckaroo.} 

{Ed.'s note: Ba-dum ching.}

Main entrance of Blair Castle
The front entrance to Blair Castle.
Hosting this massive event is Blair Castle and, at least nominally, the current (12th) Duke of Atholl. The castle was opened to the public in 1936, with 30 rooms available for touring. The castle grounds include 145,000 acres of gardens, woodland, farm land, and moor land. The wooded hills and castle serve as gorgeous backdrop for the event, with the horse trials nestled into hundreds of those acres. Many spectators take a break from the action to tour the castle and its grounds.
Blair Castle as the backdrop for show jumping
Blair Castle as a backdrop for the show jumping.

Attendance at the trials isn't cheap. The gate price per person for one day is £15 on Thursday or Friday, £25 on Saturday, and £20 on Sunday, three pounds cheaper if you buy in advance. Grandstand seats cost another £12 to £22, depending upon which day. Parking is a further £5-6. And the horse trial tickets don't include the £10.50 entrance price to tour the castle. In addition, there isn't much hotel or B&B space in the area, so many hardcore attendees end up camping on the grounds, which costs anywhere from £130 to £256 for two people. If you wanna go all out, you can rent a "luxury yurt" for three people for £1,115.

We attended only on the Saturday of the trials. The castle is roughly two hours from our house, so we got up early and arrived just after the gates opened. Parking was easy. I'd reckon that getting out at the close of the day would be a long wait, but we left in late afternoon, part of the blessing/curse of having a toddler who can endure only so much.

Kate grew up an equestrian, though she hasn't ridden much since her early college days. Her Our main interest was the cross country riding. She might've liked to see the dressage, but that finished the day before. I think that watching even 15 minutes of dressage would've been hell plenty for me. We did watch a bit of show jumping, but a ground-view vantage point is great for the few jumps in your vicinity and only meh for the many others farther away.

Horse crash
Horse crash! Did the rider survive? Did the horse? See here.
Watching cross country isn't exciting, per se, in my estimation. But it is very pleasant. The horses cover more than 3.5 miles on their circuit, though in many places the course turns and folds back near itself, so if you place yourself right you can get a close-up view of one or two jumps and a decent view of several others. The only exciting -- and scary -- moment I had during the horse trials was witnessing a horse crash. I provided a photo journal of that crash in an earlier post, but here's what it looks like at the midpoint:

Between each horse/rider is an interval of a couple of minutes, so you watch intensely for 15-20 seconds and then have time to chat. This is a tailgating event with the occasional passing athlete. Kate says she could happily sit at one or two spots all day, watching and chatting. Which is believable, except she'd likely also fade into a multi-hour nap, undisturbed by the cantering thump of hooves passing by.

My favorite part is walking the course, tramping from one jump to the next, to the next, to the next. It's a gentle stroll in the countryside, with food trucks providing coffee and snacks.

Jumping a log fence into water
Jumping a log fence into water.
Jumping a brush fence
Leaping over a brush fence.
Keyhole jump at Blair Castle International Horse Trials
Only the route for the most advanced riders directed them through the keyhole jump. The next two photos are from the same obstacle:
Barrel jump
Jumping a barrel.
Leaping up a bank from a water obstacle
Leaping up a bank from the water obstacle.
Drop fence at Blair Castle International Horse Trials
"Drop fences," in which the horse has to land on ground lower than where it leaped, can be difficult because the horse may balk if it can't see where it'll land.
Wooden wall jump
Rather than a log or rail, this jump is a (temporary and movable) wooden wall.
Riders have to be careful with the horse's stride as they come downhill and jump. The narrower jumps are for more advanced riders.
Vegetable table horse jump at Blair Castle International Horse Trials
The final jump required the eventers to leap over a table of potatoes.
Three-day eventing derives from the kind of work that military horses used to endure. Those horses needed to show grace and equanimity for parades; strength, speed, and bravery for battle; and endurance and careful training for the various duties around camp or on the march. The modern horse trial tries to honor those attributes with the controlled dressage, the vigorous cross country, and the precise show jumping.

We spent most of our time watching the cross country. But we did take the opportunity to watch some show jumping, as well. You're better off watching show jumping from a grandstand or -- best of all -- on television. Nonetheless, the show jumping always seems to draw the biggest crowds, so what do I know?

Blair Castle as backdrop for International Horse Trials
Blair Castle served as the backdrop for the show jumping arena.
In 2015, Blair Castle's horse trials will serve as the European Eventing Championships. Many of the world's top equestrians will be in competition. For the British, whoever places highest at the event will go on to represent the U.K. at the 2016 Olympics.

The 2015 horse trials will run September 10-13, a bit later than Blair Castle's usual August dates in previous years. Tickets are already selling fast. In the two months since tickets have been on sale, the event's "membership" level for spectators has already tripled the number from 2014. While the biggest sporting event in Scotland this year was the Commonwealth Games, the European Eventing Championships at Blair Castle will be 2015's biggest sporting event, eclipsing even the return of the British Open to the historic Old Course at St. Andrews.

FEI European Eventing Championships at Blair Castle, 10 - 13 September 2015
Book your tickets now for 2015's biggest European equestrian event.

For more on the Blair Castle International Horse Trials, see:

Monday, November 17, 2014

Monday Exposure: Lysicrates Monument

Lysicrates Monument in Athens
The Lysicrates Monument in central Athens.
Generals. Emperors. Gods and goddesses. Heroic deeds. Valiant efforts. Tragic endings. Those are the typical subjects for monuments in ancient Greece.

But not this monument. No, no, not this one. This monument comes with jazz hands!

It is one of, perhaps the, most-copied of all the ancient structures in the world. Erected in 334 B.C., the Lysicrates Monument commemorated the winning show choir at a drama festival. No joke.

At the time of construction, it was one of many such structures on a road Tripodon Street, i.e., the "Street of the Tripods" — that stretched from Athens' theater of Dionysus at the base of the Acropolis to the center of town ("agora"). Each year, several wealthy choregoi were selected to sponsor the choruses for dramatic plays in theater competitions held at the Dionysian theater. With the choruses typically in training for months under the direction of heavyweight playwrights like Euripedes and Sophocles, a choregus was responsible for his troupe's room and board, costumes, props, scenery, and accompanying instrumentalists, among other expenses. If you know anything about Greek choruses, you know they not only chanted or intoned during the dramas, they also sang and danced. Obviously, it is the origin of our word "choreography."

The choregus of the winning troupe was expected to produce a feast and a parade, as well as to erect a monument. Atop the monuments were bronze tripods, which were the prize for winning the drama competition. Considered an honor and duty for influential Athenians, choregei included significant figures such as Pericles and Plato.

Lysicrates Monument depicted in The Antiquities of Athens
The Lysicrates Monument in The Antiquities of Athens.
The Lysicrates Monument is the only surviving monument from the many that lined the street. The bronze tripod, which once sat upon the acanthus finial on top, is long gone. The frieze circling above the columns portrays the god Dionysus transforming pirates into dolphins, though it's partly eroded and somewhat obscured by pollution grime.

The monument was erected by "Lysicrates of Kykyna, son of Lysitheides," but he is not of any particular consequence. Instead, the monument owes its fame to its inclusion in a 1762 book called The Antiquities of Athens and Other Monuments of Greece, by British authors James "Athenian" Stuart and Nicholas Revett. Their slightly idealized descriptions, and especially illustrations, of the Lysicrates Monument and many other ancient sites were influential and trendsitting for their type of architectural history and study. The book and its authors were major forces in a neoclassical architecture and Greek revival in Britain and the European continent.

Driehaus Architectural Prize
Driehaus prize
With its grace and symmetry, as well as its Corinthian columns — the oldest known Corinthian columns on the exterior of a structure — the monument provided an achievable model for architects from the eighteenth century to the modern day. Similar to how 16th century Italian architect Andrea Palladio frequently referenced the Greek temple style, with towering columns surmounted by a triangular pediment, the Lysicrates Monument became a touchstone for architects to insert as a cupola atop buildings or as a folly on the grounds of a country house. It was so popular as a neoclassical model that the new Driehaus Architecture Prize, which honors 21st century neoclassical architecture, issues a miniature Lysicrates Monument as a trophy. 

Among the many structures which feature elements modeled upon or inspired by the Lysicrates Monument are the Dugald Stewart Monument atop Carlton Hill in Edinburgh, Scotland; the Tennessee State Capitol building in Nashville; the San Remo co-op building along Central Park in New York City; the Beacon folly in Staunton Country Park in England; the Old Well on the University of North Carolina campus; and the Lysicrates Monument reproduction in the Royal Botanic Garden in Sydney, Australia.

Dugald Stewart Monument on Carlton Hill in Edinbugh, Scotland
Dugald Stewart Monument
Tennessee State Capitol in Nashville
Tennessee State Capitol
San Remo co-op building on Central Park in New York City
San Remo co-op
Beacon folly in Staunton Country Park
Old Well at UNC-CH
Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney
Despite its outsized influence on neoclassical architecture in our modern world, the monument sits amidst the bustle of Athens without much attention. Its information board is hidden behind the outdoor seating area for a restaurant across the street. Few passing tourists give it pause. Only the numerous street cats seem to appreciate the structure, mostly because of the perching birds eating in the garden.

Lysicrates Monument in Excavation
Lysicrates Monument in excavation.
Lysicrates Monument circa 1860.
Lysicrates Monument circa 1860.
Lysicrates Monument in 1900
Lysicrates Monument in 1900.
The Lysicrates Monument's 2,300+ years of history show the ebb and flow that ancient monuments endure. As one of many such monuments on the Street of the Tripods, it likely was unremarkable when built. Through happenstance and luck, the monument survived while the others perished over the succeeding centuries. At some point, its bronze tripod was repurposed. In the 1600s, the monument was encircled by a French monastery. It rose to fame in the late 18th century from inclusion in The Antiquities of Athens, and remained an inspiration for two centuries or more. In 1821, the monument narrowly survived the fiery destruction of the monastery by the Ottoman Turks. A few years later, it was unsuccessfully offered to English buyers to move across the continent. And now, as the 21st century progresses, the monument slowly subsides into anonymity.

Lysicrates Monument in its small garden
The Lysicrates Monument rests in a small garden in the Plaka neighborhood of Athens.

For another structure modeled on the Lysicrates Monument, see:

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Off to Athens!

We're headed to Athens for a five-day weekend. Wouldn't all weeks be better with two days of work and five days for the weekend? But I digress.

Our flight this morning is agonizingly rather early. Flight time at 6:00 am. Which means we'll be waking up the kid too damn early. Which means we're gonna be those parents, the ones who drag a sleep-deprived toddler along for eight hours of travel (two flights with one layover). Pray for us. The other passengers may seek retribution.

Assuming our fellow travelers let us survive, we'll have Wednesday evening to wander our neighborhood, three full days of sightseeing and exploring, and Sunday morning as a bonus time in case we missed something. Most tour books recommend spending only two days in Athens, but they aren't factoring in a little emperor toddler. To be fair, Jackson's a great traveler, but nonetheless he is three years old; we simply don't tour places as quickly or efficiently as we did in yesteryear.

As with most trips, we're leaving the laptop at home. No more blogging 'til we return.

Parthenon in 1978

So, let me wish you a happy (five-day) weekend! And you, in turn, please wish us καλό ταξίδι (happy travels)!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Monday Exposure: Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya

Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya, National Art Museum of Catalonia, in the Palau Nacional
The Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya bestrides Montjuïc.
The Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya, with its commanding perch on Montjuïc, Barcelona's dominant hill, is more than a mere art museum.

It is a declaration.

Translated as the National Art Museum of Catalonia, it holds a world-class collection of works by Catalan artists, from 12th century medieval frescoes to modern giants such as Salvador Dalí and Pablo Picasso.

Apse of Sant Climent de Taüll, a Romanesque fresco from Catalonia
The Apse of Sant Climent de Taüll, an 1100s Romanesque fresco preserved from a church in Catalonia.
But note the "National" part of the title. Catalonia is not a nation, at least not yet. The regional Catalonian government, however, declared the MNAC to be a national museum back in 1990, and the museum's official (re)inauguration in 2004 confirmed that title.

Head of Christ, by Jaume Cascalls
Head of Christ, circa 1352, by Jaume Cascalls.

Yesterday, more than two million Catalonians participated in an informal referendum -- a "consultation of citizens" -- asking whether they wanted Catalonia to be a state, and if so, whether they wanted that state to be independent from Spain. Approximately 81% of the voters answered "yes" to both questions.

The Spanish government views the referendum as illegitimate. It used court orders to block a more official and binding referendum, calling such efforts "illegal." The national government will not consider an official referendum on independence, rejecting the approach by the U.K. government with regard to Scotland's recent referendum.

Closeup of The Spanish Wedding, by Marià Fortuny
Closeup scene in The Spanish Wedding, by Marià Fortuny.
Nonetheless, Catalonia has grown steadily more assertive regarding its desire for independence. The Catalonians have their own language, called Catalan. They erect monuments to martyrs of the independence movement. Catalonian flags flutter from windows and balconies. They hold independence rallies attended by more than a million people.

And their beloved art is housed in a preemptively-named national museum.

In next spring's regional elections, the pro-independence supporters may run candidates supporting a platform with only one item: independence. Victory in those regional elections would, according to the supporters, indicate an undeniable democratic mandate by Catalonians in support of independence. At that point, they argue, the central Spanish government could not deny their legitimacy.

Ramon Casas and Pere Romeu on a Tandem, by Ramon Casas
Ramon Casas and Pere Romeu on a Tandem, by Ramon Casas, 1897.
Is the name of the National Art Museum of Catalonia a passing fancy, or a harbinger of things to come?

Time will tell.