Darlene Foster's Blog

Museum of Montserrat

Posted on: September 8, 2019

In a recent post, I wrote about a day trip to the Monastery of Montserrat high up in the mountains outside of Barcelona. As well as the impressive Basilica which houses a famous Black Madonna, there is a wonderful art museum on site. It is not very big but holds some impressive pieces of art and artefacts. It was worth an hour of my time.

From the website –

Most of the works of art that are housed in the Montserrat Museum have been donated to the monastery by private citizens. The Monks at the Monastery see it as their duty to display the artworks for those visiting Montserrat as a promotion of culture. This ideology originates from a previous monk at Montserrat called Father Bonaventura Ubach. He collected archaeological, ethnological and zoological artefacts during travels to the Middle East and brought them back to the Monastery.

I would like to share a few of my favourites.

At the entrance, a Guadi inspired sculpture of St George, the patron saint of Catalonia

Old Fisherman, painted by Pablo Picasso in 1895 when he was just 14 years old.

Unhappy Nelly, by Edgar Degas, 1885

Madeleine by Ramon Casas, 1892

The Tapestry Merchant by Maria Fortuny, 1870. I love the detail in this painting.

Café des Incoherents, Montmartre by Santiago Rusiñol

Le Givre, temps gris (Frost, Grey Weather) by Claude Monet 1877

Here is a short and very amateur video of the room of Black Madonna paintings and sculptures in the museum.

An then, as I left the museum, I noticed someone had left their clothes neatly folded in an alcove outside. There could be a story there. (and you wonder where I get my ideas!)

I stopped to purchase a jar of honey made on site by the monks and was thankful for a very special day in Montserrat.

65 Responses to "Museum of Montserrat"

Places like this are always worth an hour of ones time! We’ve stumbled upon places like this in Europe and Nepal, often by accident.

I had no idea there was an art museum tucked away up there. Maybe that is what makes these places extra special.

I always enjoy your travelling blogs, Darlene. Spin a yarn about the clothes in the alcove for my next contest in October!

Now there’s an idea. I’ll see what I can do. Xo

Look forward to reading it!

Beautiful. I’ve always wished I could sing but these gorgeous paintings, filled with emotion–I wish I could paint.

But you can write!! We all have something we can do well if we put our mind to it. I am always in awe of the great painters though and I found some of my favourites here.

When my wife and I were in Barcelona, we didn’t have time to make this journey, but your photos and descriptions make me wish we had…great post!

I have been to Barcelona a number of times and never had time to visit Montserrat. It is a day trip. So glad I finally made it this year.

Yes, we want to go back try to expand our footprint! Great writeup!

We, unfortunately, missed this trip when we were in Barcelona. Good for you, Darlene. x .

We didn’t get to visit this place when we were in Barcelona but took a bus trip from Tarragona this May. So glad we did.

I love the portraits, especially the fisherman and Madeleine, perhaps painters can convey more about character than we can in words.

Perhaps it is true that a picture is worth a thousand words. I too love Madeleine and unhappy Nelly. And to think that at age 14, Picasso could capture the character of the old fisherman. Incredible.

Fabulous and I love the painting of Madeleine. And I wonder why Nelly is unhappy.

I have often wondered that myself. Madeleine is one of my favourite paintings. I bought a notebook with the picture on the cover n the gift shop and gave it to my daughter, who loved it!

I love these pictures, Darlene, you know how much I like museums.

Yes, I do know you love museums. We would make great travelling companions.

Writers like us have to use words that painters convey with lines and color! Some of the closeups are very affecting. I’ve heard of the Black Madonna. Thank you for posting these images. 🙂

I assume you are taking a short breather amidst the excitement of you book launch.

I’m glad you enjoyed the pictures. I am always in awe of someone who can paint such amazing pictures. I am sure the effort is the same but I always think it must be more difficult to paint a picture than to write a description.
No time for a breather. Planning a book tour and family visit for the month of October. Maybe a breather after that. Maybe!

Impressive works of art is an understatement! These pieces are amazing. I am stunned by the Picasso when he was only fourteen. How his art changed over the years. The detail in the painting you love is exquisite. Thank you, Darlene. You found a gem at Montserrat. By the way, one of the art colleges in Massachusetts is Montserrat College of Art.

I thought you might be enthralled by these works of art. This was indeed a gem of a find. I love how European names were transported over to the Americas. xo

I was definitely enthralled, Darlene! What a gem! So many places here have English names or areas prefaced with ‘new’, like New Hampshire. I love that. 🙂

Hi, Darlene – The artwork that you captured here is truly stunning. Thank you for the video of the Black Madonna artwork. So captivating!

Thanks! Pleased you enjoyed the paintings and the video.

What a wonderful visit you had! Thanks for sharing the things you enjoyed.

It was a great day! Glad you enjoyed the post, Anne,

So love this blog Darlene I look forward to experience more time in Spain …how cool if we got to go here in 2020 together ….it seems like a wonderful place….and some great art. St Geirgevus also patron saint of England too!

That St. George sure got around. He is the patron saint of a number of places. Here he is called San Jorge. See you soon.

It’s funny — I just looked up the real restaurant, Café des Incoherents, Montmartre, when I saw it posted somewhere, to see if it were still a working restaurant, in case I ever do go to Paris. What a weird coincidence! The monastery must have been an emotional experience, especially to see so many of the Masters hanging on their simple walls. Thank you soooo much for sharing this!

That is a cool coincidence! It was indeed an emotional experience, especially as I didn’t realize these works of art where there. So pleased you enjoyed this post, Claudia.

We just purchased tickets to tour this museum! We leave for Barcelona in a week and one of my must-dos while there was to visit Montserrat. Thank you so much for this post. I feel like it was written just for me!

That is so cool. It is so much better in person, pictures just don´t do it justice. You will just love it.

You certainly find some fascinating places. The artwork is beautiful, and the abandoned (or safely stashed?) clothes are thought provoking. I love the painting by Picasso, such a surprise.

I have been fortunate to find some amazing places. That painting by Picasso astounded me. And those clothes?? Pleased you enjoyed the post.

Beautiful artwork. My favorite was the Gaudi-like St. George.

The artwork is amazing. I love anything, Gaudi! Thanks for visiting.

Wonderful place, I love the “old fisherman” by Pablo Picasso. Intriguing about the neatly folded clothes.

I have seen a few early Picasso works but nothing this early! This place was definitely worth a visit.

Thank you so much for sharing this….I love history and art and love this type of post. Darlene, as you know…there isn’t anything like this here in the US or Canada….our history and culture is so young in comparison to European history and culture!! Great post!

I knew you would enjoy this post. I feel very grateful to be able to visit places like this here in Europe. Happy to share my experiences.

Thanks for this fabulous share Darlene. I loved looking at the art from some of the greats. I especially love Picasso’s painting of an old man done at 14 years old. What a prodigy! ❤

So pleased you enjoyed this, Debby. That Picasso painting took my breath away. Proof that some people are born talented.

I’ve seen Old Fisherman many times, but had no idea Picasso was so young when he painted it. That’s just mind-boggling.

And to think the original is on display at a small museum up high in the mountains. I had no idea he was so young when he painted it either.

Beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

I’m with Jacqui – I want to be able to sing, but looking at these masterpieces, I’d like to be a painter, too. But of course, we paint with our words, don’t we? Can’t wait to hear your story about who belongs to those clothes left behind in the alcove. ;-0

Yes, we paint pictures with words! We’ll see what happens with the abandoned clothes. xo

Love the photos of the paintings. I’m not sure which one is my favourite – possibly Madeleine. All the times I’ve been to Barcelona and I’ve never made it here!

Susan A Eames at
Travel, Fiction and Photos

I think I like Madeleine the best too. It does take an entire day and there is so much else to see and do in Barcelona. I´m sure one day you will get there.

Looks like a most fascinating museum Darlene. I have to admit the clothes so neatly rolled are an intriguing mystery. Definitely the start of a story there.

It was such a great find, quite unexpected. I love when that happens. And the rolled-up clothing…

Interesting to see that painting that Picasso did at fourteen years old. I don’t think one sees many of those out in museums! Seems like a rare treat. Love finding wonderful art treasures in off the beaten track locations and this sure seems like one of those. Good find. The Gaudi influenced sculpture is surprising as it has so many right angles and when I think of Gaudi I think of curves and ornate details.


This was a gem of a find! I too love stumbling upon places like this. The more recent parts of La Sagrada Familia are more like this St. George sculpture. I believe the figures and designs are based on his drawings. Perhaps he was changing his style just before his tragic death.

[…] Some really amazing and beautiful photos here. via Museum of Montserrat […]

Thanks for sharing. You visit the most unique places. It keeps me dreaming of the days when I can go, too.

You are so welcome. For now, you can travel vicariously through my posts. xo

All that beautiful art! Thanks for sharing!

Thanks for the visit to my blog. Glad you enjoyed the art. xo

It is remarkable that most of the art was donated! I imagine that is quite a valuable collection. Wonderful place.

It was wonderful. Glad you enjoyed it. xo

[…] Yes, there is an actual art museum in the mountains! It’s located under St Mary’s Square. While in Montserrat, be sure to visit this place. It includes works by art giants such as El Greco, Caravaggio and Dali, to name a few. Precious artefacts are also displayed here, for example an Egyptian sarcophagus dating back to the 13th century BC. To see more on this Art Museum and the works displayed here please visit here. […]

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