The Museum of Reial Acadèmia Catalana de Belles Arts de Sant Jordi is a direct continuer of one of the first art museums that existed in Catalonia, Llotja's School, which was established by the Junta de Comercio in 1775.
The School created the Museum with pedagogic purposes, assembling works that the students would use as a model such as exercises of the teachers and of the winning and pensioned pupils. Soon it began to expand by funds coming from churches and convents affected by the Peninsular war and the disentitlements, and also by acquisitions and various donations that raised the Museum’s level and representation.
The Academy took charge of this Museum the School the moment of its creation, in 1850.
When the modern museums of Catalan art were formally organized, at the beginning of the 20th century, the Academy contributed in a decisive way with the deposit of a selection of important pieces of its Museum, that includes works of Manuel Bayeu, Salvador Mayol Annibale Carracci, Francisco Pacheco, Joan Ribalta, Antoni Viladomat, Francesc Lacoma, Antonio M ª Esquivel, Lluís Rigalt, Benet Mercadé among many others.
The Museum of the Academy is a center of reference to the Catalan art of the XVIII and XIX century. In the historical headquarters of the Casa Llotja de Mar it keeps basic works of artists like Damià Campeny, Antoni Solà, Josep Flaugier, Claudi Lorenzale, Marià Fortuny, Lluís Rigalt, Pau Milà and Fontanals, Pelegrí Clavé, Ramon Martí Alsina, Antoni Caba, etc. Both the genres and the thematics that prevail in the art of the Neoclassicism, the Catalan romanticism and the realism are represented: mythology and history, religion, portraits, landscapes or flower painting, made by the students of Fine Arts as exercises for the accomplishment of prints.
There are also peculiar works - paintings and sculptures - from European artists -Pierre Mignard, Onorio Marinari-, spanish -Josep Camaron, Josep Vergara, the Bayeu, Mariano Salvador Maella, Vicente Lopez, Federico de Madrazo-, from the members of the Academy and from the teachers of Llotja's School. It also includes contemporary works of current members of the Academy.
Between 1999 and 2002 the Academy has published the catalogues of the collections of painting and sculpture of the Museum and also one of Lluís Rigalt's drawings.
For more information click here (introductory text of the Catàleg del Museu de la Reial Acadèmia Catalana de Belles Arts de Sant Jordi. I-Pintura by Francesc Fontbona).
CURRENT CONTENTS OF THE COLLECTION OF THE REIAL ACADÈMIA CATALANA DE BELLES ARTS DE SANT JORDI
The collection is formed by more than 700 paintings dated between the 15th and the 21st century. The majority remains in the Academy, though more than one hundred of them are in different museums and entities: Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya, Museu Frederic Marès of Barcelona, Museu Frederic Marès of Mont Blanc, Escola Superior de Disseny i d’Arts Llotja, Cercle del Liceu of Barcelona i Palau de la Generalitat de Catalunya.
As for the MNAC collection, most of the works were submitted in 1906 to the Museums of Art of Barcelona, a deposit of 131 pieces – out of which 39 have been retrieved-, to collaborate with the project of the Deputation of 1893 to create a Provincial Museum of Fine arts. Nowadays, many of these paintings are part of the permanent exhibition of the MNAC, at Montjuic's Palau Nacional. The most important works of the Academy’s collection, 9 of the paintings created by Annibale Carracci for the chapel Herrera of San Giacomo degli Spagnuoli (Rome), which joined to the academic funds in 1851, or the famous series of 20 pictures about the Life of San Francisco, of Antoni Viladomat, form a part of this temporary deposit.
Likewise, the collection possesses at the moment 6 of 26 pieces deposited by the State to the Academy in 1868.
Besides these works, there are 170 paintings included in the old catalogues of which nowadays the location is yet unknown.
SCULPTURE AND DECORATIVE ARTS
There are more than 250 the pieces of sculpture and medals in the institution, between reliefs, busts and statues in plaster, terracotta, marble or bronze; ornamental medallions and some objects, which chronologically reach from 1798 until 2009. The medals - models in chalk, reproductions or works in bronze-, belong basically to the series of nineteenth-century reproductions of Renaissance medals, to the series of models in plaster of the medalist Antoni Parera Saurina (1868-1946) and to the donation of the contemporary medalist Ramon Ferran (1927). One of the sculptures, the portrait of the architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner of Eusebi Arnau, is in the temporary deposit of the Casa-Museu Domènech i Montaner of Canet de Mar.
The funds of sculpture is completed with 23 pieces that either are part of the decoration of the House Llotja -statues of the court or of the main stairs-, or come from the same collection that the Academy’s sculptures generated by the activity of the Art school, like Damià Campeny's works. For this reason they were also included in the catalogue of the sculpture, published by the Academy in 2000.
DRAWINGS, PLANES AND PRINTS
The collection also preserves more than 5.000 drawings of different origins and typologies (centuries XVIII-XXI), which have been joining to the academic collection along its history as donations, legacies and acquisitions. Unfortunately, and unlike what happens with the painting and the sculpture, of the numerous collection of drawings that should remain coming basically from the pupils and the teachers of the Art school’s works - as is usual in the majority of the Royal Academies of current Fine arts-, almost none of the drawings and planes are still here, because, according to the scanty news that we have, the majority of the collection went out of the House Llotja when the School left the building.
We can find drawings of Vicenç Rodes, Joaquín Mosterini, Lluís Rigalt, Marià Fortuny, Pau Milà, Josep de Manjarrés, Ramon Martí Alsina, Agustí Rigalt, Vicenç Genovart Alsina, Enric Monserdà, Apel les Mestres, and of Joaquim Renart, Serra Goday, Fita, Emili Gra, Montserrat Gudiol, Enric Llimona, Lluís M. Saumells or Josep Ma Subirachs. There is also a great number of the winning works of the International Contest of Drawing of the Fundació Ynglada-Guillot, which is organized annually since 1959.
703 of Lluís Rigalt's drawings have been published in the third volume of the academic collection’s catalogues in 2002, and can be consulted in this page. Likewise, Marià Fortuny's drawings can also be consulted.
As for the planes and architecture drawings, about 1.500 remain in the collection, mainly coming from Apel·les Mestres's legacy and of the School of Architecture, with an important representation of works by Josep O. Mestres Esplugues, the Bladó brothers, Josep Casademunt, Francesc Daniel i Molina, Elies Rogent or Francesc de P. Nebot.
We also find about 1.000 prints made between the XVII and XXI century, as well as several counterfoils of the 20th century. The bound prints and the illustrated books that remain in the Library should be added to these works. The most outstanding artists are Salvatore Rosa, Giovanni Volpato, Gerard Audran, Raphael Morghen, N.-E. Edelinck, A. Hoffmann, N. Berghem, D. Danckerts, Pasqual Pere Moles, J. A. Salvador Carmona, Manuel Esquivel de Sotomayor, Marià Fortuny, Joaquim Pi i Margall, Antoni Ollé Pinell, Joan Barbarà, Josep Benet Espuny or Marià Casas Hierro.
THE PERMANENT EXHIBITION OF THE ACADEMY
The permanent exhibition of the Academy collection is opened to the public and it is in the same headquarters of the Academy, inside the space that nowadays the institution preserves in a part of the second floor of the Llotja building, though historically this floor was addressed completely to the Academy and to the Art school. It is, therefore, a historical space, but also an alive and active space, which continues developing the whole academic activity.
The tour is established in nine of eleven rooms of the Academy -two are kept for offices-, corridors and lounges that, in spite of the refurbishments made throughout more than two centuries of existence, possess the singularity of preserving the air and the disposition of the artistic nineteenth-century galleries, which provides the space with an exclusive character in Barcelona. But, this peculiarity also determines the expository speech of the collection, as it has to adapt to the existing spaces, so it is not possible to establish a rigorously chronological or thematic order.
373 works are exposed, among which there are also included pieces of contemporary art, thanks to the contributions made by the academic artists when they enter to the institution. There are specifically 269 paintings, 72 sculptures, 24 drawings, 3 prints, 4 ceramic pieces and 1 enamel, which is distributed in the different rooms that can be visited, from the entry up to the library.
The access to the collection is free during the established schedule: from Monday to Friday, from 10 to 14 h. Guided visits for groups can be held also previous consultation (more information here).