Solsona » The Baroque in Solsona
One of our city’s identity traits that has lived through the centuries is its Baroque legacy, which bears witness to one of the greatest eras of its history.
You can feel the Baroque in the architecture of the Episcopal Palace (designed by Francesc Pons) or the Portal del Pont. You can take a closer look and study it in some of the artwork inside the Museu Diocesà i Comarcal.
Painter born in Solsona – Castell Street nº 18 – on June the 2nd 1565. A few years later the Ribalta family left for Barcelona. Later in his life, he moved to the Court of Madrid and finally Valencia, where he produced many of his works. He died on January the 13th 1628. Ribalta is a key piece in order to understand and assess Spanish painting in the seventeenth century. He was a precursor to the aesthetic tendencies that would later dominate in the generation of painters that included Ribera, Velázquez, Zurbarán…
Baroque Works in Solsona
The Baroque sculptural decoration in the main altar, which is the handiwork of sculptor Miquel Vidal, was burnt in 1810 by Napoleon’s army when they invaded Solsona. Six scenes which illustrate moments of the Passion of The Christ are preserved at the Museu Diocesà i Comarcal.
The Morató family of sculptors became very important in Solsona. Carles Morató Brugaroles is considered to be the most important sculptor of the family. He lived in Solsona most of his life, where he opened a sculpture workshop that was later continued by his son Carles Morató Viladot. He lived in the eighteenth-century house in Castell Street that is the town library nowadays. He is thought to be the author of the Mercè altarpiece, the construction of which was ordered by bishop Mezquía and which was presented in 1754. It is still preserved today although damaged and without some of its sculptures and images which were burnt in the Civil War that started in 1936. An image from the altarpiece featuring an angel attributed to Carles Morató was saved and is kept at the Museu Diocesà I Comarcal. Bishop Mezquía also ordered the building of the cathedral’s Baroque doorway in 1768. In 1780 bishop Lasala ordered the building of the inner door which meant the Romanesque façade had to come down. The inner door, which is Neoclassical with a Baroque touch, features a sculpture of Saint Agustine in ecstasy. The main altarpiece in Santuari del Miracle is the most famous and spectacular work by Carles Morató.
The Baroque brought a new town-planning concept, it opened the isolated medieval city to the exterior. Around mid-eighteenth century, the space occupied by the city walls started to be used to build new houses that would go beyond the walls. Also, avenues were built such as the Camp avenue.
Solsona started to transform its houses, streets and squares. Openings in the façades were being made, wrought iron balconies, stucco façades or façades painted with bright colors.
The great diversity of jobs (more than one hundred at the time) bears witness to the commercial activity in Solsona. Some of the most important were the wool carders and the knifemakers, one of the most prominent industries in the city. Today, we can see a good sample of knives and cutting tools in the Tourism Office.