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The Monastery of PEDRALBES

November 27, 2015
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3The Monastery of Pedralbes was founded by Queen Elisenda de Montcada in 1327 with the support of her husband, King James II. Following the spiritual currents of the time, the new monastery was occupied at its foundation by the Poor Clare Order, the female branch of the Order of St. Francis, which resided there virtually uninterrupted until 1983.

The building is one of the best examples of Catalan Gothic architecture, both for the church and for the three-storey cloister, one of the largest and most harmonious in this style. As regards the church, special mention should be made of the sepulcher of Queen Elisenda, which has two sides, one facing into the church, where she is dressed in royal attire, and the other giving onto the cloister, where she is shown as a penitent widow. Other highlights are the 14th-century stained glass windows, several sepulchers of members of the nobility and the three choirs: the loft, lower choir and monks’ choir.

Inside the monastery, around the cloister, there is a series of day cells where the nuns withdrew for personal reflection. St Michael’s Chapel is another remarkable building, with murals that the painter Ferrer Bassa was commissioned to paint by the abbess, Sister Francesca ça Portella, in 1343. His work clearly reflects the influence of such important artists as Giotto, the Lorenzetti brothers and Simone Martini. (The temporary exhibition “Murals in the Spotlight” takes a deeper look at the murals in the chapel.) Visitors will also be able to see the chapter house, the abbey room, the refectory, the kitchen, the storeroom, the dormitory and the infirmary – one of the best preserved Renaissance hospital buildings.

Apart from its architectural value, the Monastery of Pedralbes portrays monastic life down through history, thanks to the many objects and works of art it contains, and contributes to an understanding of the life of the cloistered community that lived there until 1983, when the monastery was converted into a museum.

More info: http://monestirpedralbes.bcn.cat/ Price: 5€ (Sundays after 3pm, admission free) Place: Baixada del Monestir, 9. Barcelona Time: Tuesday to Friday from 10am to 2pm / Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 5pm

 

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