Revistes Catalanes amb Accés Obert (RACO)

Romanesque mural painting in Catalonia

Montserrat Pagès


The Romanesque mural painting in Catalonia which was saved from despoilment and dispersion in 1919, when the Junta de Museus
(Board of Museums) of Barcelona embarked upon a major campaign of purchase and removal, is a unique heritage of universal value.
Even though the mural paintings from the Romanesque cathedrals or the great abbeys like Ripoll no longer survive, what has been
conserved is quite notable both stylistically and iconographically. The surviving frescoes were mainly inspired by the art of early Christian
Rome and that of the Gregorian reform, yet also by Byzantine sources and by Lombard and Germanic styles and prototypes, all translated
into highly original programmes of images. The most emblematic works are conserved at the Museu Nacional dArt de Catalunya
(MNAC), such as the apse from Sant Climent de Taüll, a capolavoro of European Romanesque painting, and the apses from Sant Pere
de la Seu dUrgell and Santa Maria dÀneu, both boasting outstanding quality, along with the paintings from Sant Joan in Boí, Sant
Quirze de Pedret, Sorpe and el Burgal. Together with the frescoes at the Museu Diocesà i Comarcal de Solsona, the Museu Episcopal de
Vic, the Museu dArt de Girona and the Museu Diocesà dUrgell, along with the numerous murals and remains of paintings conserved
in situ, many of them discovered in recent years, they enable us to envisage the scope of this Catalan Romanesque art. Of these discoveries,
perhaps the most noteworthy are the paintings from Sant Vicenç dEstamariu, as well as the new images on the triumphant
arches of Sant Climent de Taüll. This article summarises the most important part of this mural painting heritage as well as the most recent literature on the subject.

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