Church of Belen

Chapel of the Sacraments, Church of Belen, Barcelona; fresco mural; 1950

I painted this ‘Last Supper’ fresco mural under the pseudonym FLAMMA. It measures approx. 5m high x 4m wide.

FRAMMA was a group of artists which got together while studying at the Fine arts
School of Sant Jordi, Barcelona, in 1949. The purpose of the group was to revitalize
painting and sculpture in public buildings, many of which had been re-furbished -after the destructions during the Civil War (1 936-39)- with what was called ”Sants d’Olot”,’ mass-produced plaster sculptures.

There were several murals commissioned for this church and these we distributed
between three of us. In the Chapel of the Sacraments there are five frescoes; my own of the Last Supper plus four more. These other four were projected by Juan Lleo but I had to paint them because he had to enroll in the compulsory military service. The third member of the group was Domenec Fita. Fita made the project for the Baptism chapel but while painting the dome of that chapel he fell down from the scaffolding and broke his back. At the time I was in Italy with a scholarship but on my return I took upon myself the responsibility to finish the dome and to paint the mural under it following his project,
cartoons and written observations.

The fresco of the Last Supper was in perfect condition when I saw it last during my visit to Barcelona in 2004. The chapel of the Baptism had heavy humidity filtering from the Ramblas Avenue outside the church affecting the lower section of the mural, which had been badly damaged.

I was surprised to see that the Programa de Restauracio Monumental of the Diputacio de Barcelona had not removed all these paintings from the church – which is considered a historic monument – in their attempt to restore its baroque style.