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.
History between the 16th and the 20th century
It 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, is open to selected visitors only for a few hours each week. Because of the building's history of limited access, the frescoes remain largely unstudied, despite being perhaps Goya's most impressive early work.
During 21st century
The monks have chosen to leave the monastery in August 2012, and asked the Community of the Chemin Neuf to come and continue their mission of praying and welcoming the visitors. Being a non-clostered community, the Chemin Neuf will open the 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 janvier 2012. Retrieved 30 janvier 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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