Santa Cecília's Monastery becomes a new artistic area

Santa Cecília's Monastery becomes a new artistic area


Santa Cecília’s monastery in Montserrat and its annexed buildings will be restored thanks to an agreement between Diputació de Barcelona –financer of the works- and Montserrat’s Abbey –proprietor of the architectural ensemble.
F. Abbot Josep M. Soler and Diputació de Barcelona’s president, Salvador Esteve, have just signed a collaborative agreement by means of which Diputació will provide eight-hundred thousand euros which will contribute to the first stage of the works.
The restoration project for the monastery’s ensemble includes the church, various annexed multi-purpose buildings, such as Montserrat’s Nature Park offices, the central courtyard’s restoration and the scenic surrounding’s reclassification. It is a project by architect Xavier Guitart, which will allow to the architectural recovery of the various buildings for their future use, not only liturgical but also artistic.
The painter Sean Scully is going to display his works -especially conceived for this place- in this new artistic area, as agreed upon by Father Josep de C. Laplana, director of Montserrat’s Museum.
Sean Scully visited Santa Cecília’s monastery years ago, he and F Laplana forged a close friendship, and F. Laplana suggested him the possibility to restore the architectural ensemble in order to create a new artistic area in Montserrat’s context, as a way of inspiring cultural activity. Scully’s series Holly will be displayed and he will also paint cylindrical murals for the Romanesque apse, so that they become true 21st century altarpieces.
In 2010 Scully donated his work Oisin’s Mountain to Montserrat; it can currently be seen at Montserrat’s Museum.
The origins of Santa Cecília’s monastery -in Marganell (Bages region), the north face of Montserrat- go back to the 10th century. It is currently in disuse, after being used as a youth hostel and refuge.

The agreement between Diputació de Barcelona and Montserrat’s Abbey
Montserrat’s Abbey and Diputació de Barcelona signed an agreement that foresees a contribution of eight-hundred thousand Euros in two years -2013-2014-. This agreement states that “Montserrat’s Abbey has planned the recovery and improvement of Santa Cecília’s monastery’s architectural heritage –declared asset of local interest- and is going to adapt its architectural ensemble to keep the chapel for liturgical uses, and hold a space for contemporary art which becomes a new artistic focus, emphasizing the work Montserrat develops in their dialogue with culture”.

Historical notes about Santa Cecília’s monastery
The origins of Santa Cecília’s monastery go back to the 10th century, when Abbot Cæsarius purchased this land and built a church, consecrated in 959 to saints Cecilia and Peter.
A first restoration took place in 1450, and the French troops set fire to the whole area and the rectory’s building in 1811; both restored in 1862.
Digging works in 1927 helped to recover the ensemble’s primitive foundations. In 1931 the last restoration was inaugurated. Architect Puig i Cadafalch gave a speech during the opening.