The spiritual setting of Santa Cecília de Montserrat, a hidden gem of Spanish architecture, is the setting for ‘The Holly Series’, the latest work by the highly regarded Irish/American abstractionist Sean Scully. A series of iPhone snaps for the first time reveals a glimpse into the process involved in Sean’s practice, as he sets out to show how a contemporary artist tackles the ancient art of fresco painting. The fourteen ‘Stations of the Cross’ is just one of the subjects represented in this new series. Sean provided Artlyst with a few intimate snaps taken during the creation of this amazing site-specific work.
Santa Cecília de Montserrat is a Benedictine monastery in Marganell, Catalonia, Spain. The monastery was founded by its first abbot, Cesari, who was sponsored by Sunyer, Count of Barcelona and his wife Riquilda de Tolosa. In 945, Jordi, Bishop of Vich, authorized the formation of a monastery to be governed by the Rule of St. Benedict, with the monastery falling under the bishop’s control. After the death of Cesari, the Abbot Oliva tried to annex the monastery, but met with opposition from the monks of the community. The monastery served as a place of refuge for pilgrims traveling to Montserrat. In the 15th century, it began to decline and in 1539, it was attached to Santa Maria de Montserrat Abbey. The building was looted and burned by French troops in 1811 and 1812 . The Abbot of Montserrat, Miquel Muntadas, ordered its reconstruction in 1862. Until in 1940, it served a community of Benedictine nuns; it was associated with the monastery of Sant Pere de les Puelles. The nuns moved in 1954 to a new monastery, Sant Benet, and since then, the building has operated as a refuge for hikers and as a meeting center.
Sean Scully, was born in Ireland and raised in North London. He currently splits his time between New York, London and Germany. Since the 1980s his abstract paintings have undoubtedly made him one of the leading artists of his generation. Working outside trends and fashion, his canvases remain instantly recognisable and idiosyncratic, capturing something of the human condition, the intellectual, the spiritual and the emotional.