Sean Scully’s hymn to high art in Spain

Claire Wrathall,

Close to the summit of Montserrat, the serrated mountain that rises 1,200m an hour’s drive north-west of Barcelona, on a northern slope overlooking the majestic Marganell valley, stands a handsome Romanesque basilica of honey-coloured sandstone, dedicated to Santa Cecília.

It’s been there more than 1,000 years (it was consecrated in AD957), won fame in Catalonia as a stronghold against the Napoleonic invasion in 1812, and again against the nationalists in the Spanish civil war, after which it became home to two communities of Benedictine nuns. 

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