Sunday, 2 November 2008

Art from the Monastery of Montserrat

Madrid has a number of exhibition spaces owned by the non-profit foundations of large companies. Caja Madrid (savings bank) opened its Casa Encendida a few years ago, then this year came the Caixa Forum owned by the bank of the same name. Yesterday I visited the one run by the BBVA, a large bank, what was once the palace of the Marquis of Salamanca, which is opposite the one owned by Mapfre the insurance company.

The exhibition, which opened at the start of October, is of paintings and architectural masonry from the Monastery of Montserrat which, to quote Wikipedia is:

Santa Maria de Montserrat is a Benedictine abbey located in the Montserrat mountain, in Monistrol de Montserrat, in Catalonia. It hosts the Virgin of Montserrat, and the Publicacions de l'Abadia de Montserrat, a publishing house, the oldest press in the world, still running, with the first book published in 1499.

The monastery was attacked by Napoleon's troops in 1811-1812 and left a ruin, and pillaged after the dissolution of the monasteries a few years later. Later in the nineteenth century it was rebuilt and the remains of its architectural stonework gathered together. Over the following hundred years the monastery received donations of art works until today it has an important collection. The exhibition includes works by Catalan painters, and well-known ones such as DalĂ­, Picasso, Monet, Sisley, Pisarro, Sargeant and one by Degas who currently is the subject of a one-man show at the Mapfre Foundation just across the road. It continues a until 7 December.

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