12 July 2008 - 16 November 2008

The painted heaven. The altar canopy from Tost

The altar canopy from Sant Martí de Tost (Alt Urgell) is an exceptional work of Catalan Romanesque art, parts of which are conserved in two different museums. While the Museu Episcopal de Vic holds the front beam and the crestwork, the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya conserves the painted wooden panel. In order to give the public the opportunity to admire, for the first time, the work as a whole, the two institutions have decided to produce this temporary exhibition. This represents the first step in a larger process of reuniting Romanesque works whose elements have been scattered around Catalonia, a project that was initiated by the Junta de Museus de Cataluña in 2000. The highly evocative exhibition ‘The painted heaven. The altar canopy from Tost’ has as its centrepiece the reconstruction of the original work. This reveals the very singular nature of the altar canopy, a liturgical furnishing whose function was to cover the altar and, as an attribute of power, symbolically represent the celestial vault.