Cemeteries: open-air museums

Pantheon of the Martorell and Bofill families, in the cemetry in Poblenou, work by the architect Elies Rogent and the sculptor Venanci Vallmitjana.

Pantheon of Francesc Permanyer, in the cemetry of Poblenou, work by the architect Elies Rogent and sculptors Agapit and Venanci Vallmitjana.


Cemetries in Barcelona are open-air museums. Neogothic, neoclassic and modernist pantheons, structures that remind us of the obelisks in ancient Egypt. Sculptures of angels and mournful characters are some of the pieces we can find. This art results from the wishes of the wealthy families to perpetuate the memory of their family members and usually built by distinguished architects and sculptors. Now, the UB project Art Funerari (funerary art) aims to highlight this heritage in Barcelona and Catalonia, which is not much known. In site tours and online tours around the cemeteries of the city and science days are some of the main ideas of the project.

In the website of the project one can see the information sheets that show the main art pieces of the new cemeteries of the city so that those interested can visit them on their own. There are online tours to different cemeteries which you can access via the website.There have been some tours in the cemetery this October and there are still more to be scheduled. To take part in these tours, one needs to previously register in their website.

The sessions of Patrimoni funerari catalŕ will take place in Desember 10 and will gather architects, art historians and other scholars to talk about the architecture and funerary art and the anthropology of the death. Those interested can attend the sessions, but previous registration on the website is required.

The project Art Funerari wants to share an unknown heritage: the cemeteries reflect the urban expansion of Barcelona. The cemeteries feature works made by great architects and masters such as Ricard Giralt, Josep Fontseré, Josep Oriol Mestres, Joan Nolla and Elias Rogent. Also, sculptors such as the Vallmitjana’s, Rafael Atxé, Rossend Novas, Joan Roig i Soler, Eduard B. Alentorn and Enric Clarassó had their works there; as well as forgers such as Masriera Campins and Codina Brothers; and glassworkers such as Rigalt, Granell and Eudald Ramon Amigó. 

Art Funerari continues the work carried out at the UB on the dissemination of heritage of the University and the city of Barcelona. A project on the architect Elias Rogent was carried out in these lines, and the Vallmitjana Year took place in 2019. Art Funerari is organized by the Unit of Institutional Relations and Protocol of the UB and the Vice-rector’s Office for Arts, Culture and Heritage, in collaboration with the Directorate of Urban Architecture and Aeritage of the Barcelona City Council and Cemetries of Barcelona.

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