This paper explores the place of the Mediterranean as the main source of primitive references for modern art in the noucentista art scene of Catalonia (Spain) in the early 20th century. It does so by focusing on the case of Joaquín Torres- García, a leading figure of the movement and advocate for the modernisation of mural painting. The discussion considers the noucentista conflation of the notions of classical and primitive, examines how it finds expression in Torres- García’s controversial frescoes for the seat of the regional government, and posits its relevance to the Constructive Universalism pictorial idiom developed by the artist in the late 1920s.



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