Bishop Ubeda and Miquel Barceló shake hands after signing agreement.

20-08-2013
A representation of the parable of the loaves and fishes in terracotta and glass and stained glass windows which will illuminate the area with different tones depending on the time of day and season by Majorcan artist Miquel Barceló will dominate the St Peter's chapel of Palma Cathedral. The agreement was signed yesterday between Barceló and Bishop of Majorca Mgr Teodor Ubeda, as president of the Art in the Cathedral Foundation, bringing contemporary art to the cathedral, which was built between the 13th and 16th centuries. One hundred years ago, Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí was commissioned to restore part of the Cathedral, and his work with its play of light, colour and bold shapes full of symbolism, was highly criticised at the time. “I have a lot to do and very little to say,” Barceló commented yesterday at the signing of the contract in which he is committed to remodel the chapel within 18 months. Barceló presented a model of what his work will be and defined the Cathedral as “a great monument of air,” which inspired the use of terracotta and glass as the only materials made with modern technology to depict the parable. “I like to think one can be radically modern in a place like this, and I think that it was the spirit which the Cathedral's builders had,” the artist said, adding that churches “fulfill the spiritual function of a work of art better than museums, which have become a market and a business.” An area of nearly 300 square metres of ceramic will cover the walls of the chapel like a second coat of terracotta which will be illuminated by five 12-metre high stained glass window. Barceló, who in the words of Canon Pere Llabrés, has captured the theological idea of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes, will also design the altar, candelabra, chairs and benches, and other furnishings of the chapel. Under the terms of the contract, the artist will be paid 3.5 million euros but will donate part of the project (including the altar and furnishings) to the Cathedral. The signing of the contract was attended by government leader Francesc Antich and various ministers and University rector Llorenç Huguet.

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