Charterhouse of Aula Dei
The Charterhouse of Aula Dei (Spanish: Cartuja de Aula Dei) is a Carthusian monastery, or charterhouse, located about 10 kilometers north of the city of Zaragoza in Aragon, north-western Spain. It was declared a national monument on 16 February 1983.
The charterhouse was founded in 1563 by Hernando de Aragón, Archbishop of Zaragoza and grandson of the Catholic Monarchs. The architecture of the enclosed monastery was designed by Martín de Miteza to house thirty-six monks, a complement three times larger than the usual Carthusian community. This monastery, like most in Spain, was closed in 1836, and the monks expelled. The monastery was re-purchased in 1901 by the Carthusians for the exiled French communities of Valbonne and Vauclaire Charterhouses, who arrived in that year in Spain and occupied Aula Dei in 1902.
The major interior decoration consists of a cycle of 11 large frescoes round the monastic church on the Life of the Virgin painted between 1772 and 1774 by Francisco Goya. Only 7 of the original 11 frescoes now remain. The interior of the church, as would be expected for an enclosed community, was open until August 2012 to selected visitors only for a few hours each month. Because of the building's history of limited access, the frescoes remain largely unstudied, despite being perhaps Goya's most impressive early work.
The Carthusian monks left the monastery in August 2012, but asked the lay Community of the Chemin Neuf to come and continue their mission of praying and welcoming the visitors. As a non-cloistered community, the Chemin Neuf is able to give access to the frescoes of Goya weekly (instead of monthly).
- "Goya", 2003, by Robert Hughes - pages 40-41
- (Spanish) "La Cartuja de Aula Dei ampliará sus días de visita". es:Heraldo de Aragón. 17 January 2012. Retrieved 30 January 2012.
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- Description of the monastery (Spanish)
- Goyarestauracion.com: Website of the restorers of the Goya frescoes, with photos of the frescoes and of the monastery (Spanish)
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