News

100 years of Caravaggio at Montserrat
14 / 03 / 2017

The Museum of Montserrat Museum organizes a conference to celebrate the centenary of the arrival in Montserrat of the painting Penitent Saint Jerome, the only work of Caravaggio in Catalonia. The lectures will take place on June 2 and 3 and will bring together some of the best specialists in Caravaggio internationally. These are the programmed presentations:
 
Friday, June 2, 2017
 
Artur Ramon, art historian and antiquarian
"Penitent Saint Jerome". Status of the complaint
(Lecture in Catalan)
 
Silvia Danesi Squarzina, Emeritus Professor of Art History. University La Sapienza, Rome
The origin of Montserrat’s "Penitent Saint Jerome". The Giustiniani Collection
(Lecture in Italian)
 
Gonzalo Redín, art historian. Professor of the University of Alcalá
Correcting Caravaggio: Guido Reni vs the "destroyer of painting"
(Lecture in Spanish)
 
Rossella Vodret, art historian. Former Special Superintendent of the Museums of Rome
Latest historiographical investigations on Montserrat’s “Penitent Saint Jerome”
(Lecture in Italian)
 
Saturday, June 3, 2017
 
Ana González Mozo, researcher at the Technical Documentation Office of the Prado Museum
Restoring the "St. Jerome" of Caravaggio. Technical aspects
(Lecture in Spanish)
 
Gianni Papi, art historian, researcher and specialist in Caravaggio
The influence of the Caravaggio revolution in Spain
(Conference in Italian)
 
Artur Ramon and Josep de C. Laplana
Conclusions
 
Penitent Saint Jerome by Caravaggio has rooted strongly in Montserrat. There is no doubt that it plays a stellar role. This painting is not only the flagship of the Montserrat Museum but has become a reference in the artistic world of our country. It is fitting that we celebrate the centenary of its arrival in Montserrat, which was not without its adventure. It was around April 22, 1917. The painting arrived with a surrogate identity, not its own. In 1915 Fr. Bonaventura Ubach attended the auction of furniture and paintings at the Palazzo Magni in Rome, and he did not resist the temptation to bid for an impressive picture that represented, in half a body, the figure of an old half naked man that evoked the characteristic image of Penitent St. Jerome. In the auction, the painting came out as a work by Francisco Ribera, the Spagnoletto. It should be said that for centuries the figure of Caravaggio did not raise much interest. He had been a damn painter. However, these statements were completely strange to Fr. Ubach, who only wanted a great St. Jerome to preside over his bureau of Bible studies.
 
The discovery that the false Ribera of Montserrat was an authentic Caravaggio took place in 1943, when the most renowned caravaggist Roberto Longhi published an article with the drawing of St. Jerome, which he had taken out in 1914 at the Palazzo Magni, before the auction, and he considered that the picture lost was a real Caravaggio. This article fell into the hands of art historian Joan Ainaud de Lasarte who, instantly, identified the drawing of Longhi with the picture of Montserrat. Following the discovery, the work was restored and presented for the first time in an anthological exhibition of Caravaggio in Milan in the year 1951. From this moment, started the solita storia of the authentication of this new Caravaggio, that wanted to be added to the corpus of the painter.
 
Today no specialist doubts the authenticity of the work, which is also endorsed by documentation. We think that this epic deserves a study, a recognition and a celebration. In these days we have gathered six experts, who are the highest authority in the subject, to synthesize the various aspects related to Montserrat’s Caravaggio.
 
Information and registration:
museu@larsa-montserrat.com / 938 777 745