ARTUR RAMON art gallery starts the year with Mestre de Cabestany. Sparkles of marble, an exceptional exhibition of four pieces by one of the most important sculptors of the Catalan Romanesque, in conjunction with four pieces by the same author that are part of the Barrachina collection – today at the Museu del Castell Peralada.
The exhibition, which opens on January 19, is a collaboration with Palau d'Antiguitats and Clavell & Morgades Antiguitats and features an architectural installation by Antonio Sanmartín of aZCON architectures. In addition, this exhibition offers an unprecedented hypothetical reconstruction of the western facade of Sant Pere de Rodes, where the eight sculptures come from.
On the other hand, the exhibition also includes a catalog with two studies by two of the greatest experts in medieval art in Catalonia: Jordi Camps and
Manuel Castiñeiras. Overall, the new exhibition at the Barcelona gallery is a tribute to Jaume Barrachina, who passed away in 2020, who was the greatest historian on the figure of this medieval sculptor.
The Master of Cabestany is an inescapable reference in the history of Romanesque sculpture and one of the greatest exponents of medieval art in Catalonia. His works, easily recognizable, are present in centers of the western Mediterranean such as Sant Pere de Rodes, Santa Maria de Lagrasse in France or Sant'Atimo in Italy. The Master of Cabestany left an immortal mark on the portal of the monastery of Sant Pere de Rodes. An essential artistic ensemble to understand Catalan Romanesque art of which only fragments have reached us as a result of the destruction suffered by the monastic ensemble.
In this unique exhibition, you will be able to see four unpublished pieces from Sant Pere de Rodes alongside four pieces by the Master that are part of the Barrachina collection at the Peralada Museum. They will do this through an unprecedented reconstruction of the portal of Sant Pere de Rodes, and a unique museography by Antonio Sanmartín of aZCON architectures.
In the words of Artur Ramon, Sergi Clavell and Albert Martí Palau, "the Master and chance have brought together three antique dealers who represent a new generation of professionals through four pieces that we would never have dreamed of having ". The creators of this exhibition have explained that the new exhibition "wants to explain the need for antiques in the protection and dissemination of our heritage and the tasks it carries out, sometimes complementary to institutional ones". And they conclude that "what renews and excites us is the adventure of discovering new pieces, reconstructing their identities, studying and disseminating them, preserving them and taking them to the best destinations".
4 exceptional pieces of Catalan Romanesque
The first of the sculptures to be seen in the new show at Artur Ramon Art is a bearded male figure head that features the prominent eyeballs and examples of the obsessive use of the drill typical of the Master of Capestany. It is a technical prodigy from around 1160-1163 that was found at an undetermined time among the ruins of the portico of the monastery of Sant Pere de Rodes and that was part of a larger fragment, possibly under the dividing epigraphic cornice of the upper eardrum
Suspended in the reconstruction of the front of the Catalan monastery, it will also be possible to see a human body that was part of the scene of the healing of the hemorrhoid. It is the representation of two human figures located in two different planes, with feet similar to those of the figure of Christ from the relief of the Apparition on the Sea of Galilee that comes from Sant Pere de Rodes and can be seen in the Frederic Marès Museum.
The third of the unpublished pieces of the cover of the monastery of Sant Pere de Rodes presented to Mestre de Cabestany. Espurnes de Marbre is another fragment of a human figure. Made of marble, it is the head and part of the right shoulder of a male human figure full of detail that would have been part of one of the historic representations that once covered this part of this building. And the last sculpture that is part of the new exhibition at Artur Ramon Art is a fragment of a relief, corresponding to a human figure, which consists of part of the folds of a piece of clothing.
The proposal of the Mestre de Cabestany exhibition. Espurnes de Marbre impresses thanks to the amazing assembly of Antonio Sanmartín, of aZCON architectures. The architect has taken the 8 fragments of the cover of Sant Pere de Rodes – the four unpublished and the four from the Barrachina collection – and placed them on an open hemispherical vault, another closed, the maps of the Master's geography of the Timpà de Cabestany, the geography of the Nave of Sant Pere de Rodes in real size, the surface of the reconstructed portal and the depth of the three naves of the church. The pieces, delicate and wonderful, appear four suspended and four resting on marble gravel. “It is not an immersive or virtual experience. Nothing is virtual here, everything is tangible. The invention will be the fragment of knowledge that each of us will make when entering and leaving the exhibition at the Artur Ramon Art Gallery in Barcelona", explains Sanmartín.
As a complement to this exhibition, a book is presented that presents new points of view and new discoveries about the historiography and career of the most important medieval sculptor of Romanesque art in Catalonia. Apart from the information on the pieces, it offers two studies by Jordi Camps i Sòria – until recently curator of medieval art at the MNAC – and by Manuel Castiñeiras, professor at the UAB and expert in history and medieval art.
Master of Capstany. Espurnes de marbre is the first proposal of the year at Artur Ramon Art. The exhibition can be visited from January 19, 2023 to February 24, 2023.