Modernism in Alt Camp
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Modernism in Alt Camp
The Sanctuary of Montferri and the Church of Vistabella: Jujol’s modernism.
Jujol, modernism and territory
On this route we will discover two of the most outstanding works of the modernist architect Josep Maria Jujol. Born in Tarragona, he soon moved to Gracia (Barcelona), where he spent most of his life. However, his repeated stays in La Secuita (Tarragona), especially in summer, reconnected him with his origins and this agricultural, rural, sunny, earthy landscape of Alt Camp, characterised by olive groves and vineyards and dotted with small villages of humble people, was a great inspiration for his work.
A friend, colleague and collaborator of Gaudí, Jujol worked on numerous works by the modernist genius, becoming a key figure in the ornamentation of many of his buildings.
Jujol stood out above all for his great talent for drawing, something we see in his architectural works in the form of mural paintings and in the design of furniture, especially by reusing waste materials. A great visionary of poor art.
With this tour we will enter Jujol’s universe and discover these two small modernist jewels in the Alt Camp region: the Church of the Sacred Heart in Vistabella and the Sanctuary of Montserrat in Montferri. The tour is designed to be done in one morning, from 10 am to 14 pm approximately.
The Church of the Sacred Heart of Vistabella
We will start the route in this peculiar church, which stands majestically in the small village of Vistabella. This church represents Jujol’s commitment to the territory: the use of materials from the surrounding area, which he selected himself, and its structure reminds us of a mountain integrated into the landscape. The spire-shaped bell tower forces us to look up and notice its remarkable presence. The austerity of the exterior contrasts with the warmth of the interior: Its square floor plan allows us to feel how the space embraces us in its central part, where the church pews are arranged. The apse stands out with its colourful mural paintings by Jujol himself, although these were restored by his daughter, as the original ones were destroyed by the fire the church suffered during the Civil War. Its interior is reminiscent of a grotto, a magical place that invites spirituality and meditation.
The Sanctuary of Montserrat in Montferri
The other great jewel of Jujol and Tarragona’s modernism is this beautiful church that reminds us of Gaudí’s Sagrada Familia. For this reason, it is known as the “replica of the Sagrada Família” or “the other Sagrada Família”. Although it is neither a replica nor dedicated to the Sagrada Familia, the truth is that Jujol was also inspired by the mountain of Montserrat, as well as Gaudí: the vaults at the top of the building remind us of the whimsical shapes of Montserrat.
This sanctuary was the brainchild of a Jesuit from Montferri, who had the idea of building a sanctuary dedicated to Montserrat while he was praying to the Virgin in the chapel of the Basilica of the Monastery of Montserrat.
Daniel Maria Vives, the Jesuit, commissioned Jujol to carry out this project, which began in 1925, but work was interrupted in 1932 and was not resumed until 1990. Thanks to the boost given by the Montferri Town Council, Jujol’s project was completed. The church is a compendium of structural genius and beautiful ornamentation: 42 pillars form its catenary arches, a structure already developed by Gaudí, and more than 1500 stained glass windows form petals throughout the interior of the church, combining the colours blue, red and yellow.
An essential visit in this region.
We finish the tour with the craft beers of Montferri.
To complete our modernist route in Alt Camp, I suggest a gastronomic touch: a visit and tasting at the craft beer brewery Les Clandestines, in Montferri.
This small brewery started its activity in 2007, its dedication and relationship with the territory, like Jujol, is demonstrated in the use of ingredients from the area: hops, rosemary, honey… Resulting in a local, sustainable and quality product.
Calendar and timetable:
Subject to availability and prior booking.
Please ask for group rates.
Tickets to the Church of the Sacred Heart of Vistabella: under review.
Tickets to the Sanctuary of Montserrat de Montferri: 5€/general admission and 2€/admission for senior citizens and people with disabilities.
4 hours approximately.
Spanish, Catalan or English:
All spaces are accessible.
Not allowed indoors.