The ground floor of Maricel de Terra houses the service area, with direct access from Carrer de Fonollar. Up to eleven doors once opened onto this street and gave access to the palace dependencies. Today there are plans to devote part of these service areas to Modernisme interpretation centre.
On the first flight of the stairs there is a small door that leads directly to the patio of Miquel Utrillo’s house. This way control was assured over the Maricel de Terra building. This door came from the El Tallat sanctuary, located in the mountains of the same name, which belonged to the Cistercian Monastery of Santa Maria de Poblet and stood close to the Convent of Vallbona de les Monges.
The entrance hall
The first room we find before entering the Golden Hall is known as the avantsala and serves as the reception area for visitors. It exhibits a collection of very interesting enamel pieces. In fact, what we seeing are reproductions that the Board of Museums of Barcelona commissioned for their Artistic Reproductions Museum. In the 19th century, as a result of the Artistic Industries Exhibitions, great interest was aroused in the sumptuous arts or arts of the object. Across Europe reproduction museums were created to bring masterpieces of the past to the public.
In June 1936, the Board decided to bring the porcelain, ceramics, enamel and glass collections to the Palau Maricel (today at the Maricel de Mar) to be exhibited there.
Some of the works are signed by some of the greatest artists of the time, such as Théophile Soyer (Paris and Geneva) with Afrodita amb amorets (Aphrodite with cupids) and Ernest Blancher. Not all of them are copies, since we also find some originals made on the basis of works from other artistic disciplines, such as the portraits by Rafael. Other pieces of especial interest are the small Viennese chests with drawers that date back to the 19th century. Prominent among the enamel pieces are the neo-renaissance ones apparently by Pierre Gobert, although this assignation has yet to be confirmed.
The Golden Hall
On 18 October 1915, four years after the opening of the Gothic Hall of the Maricel de Terra, the great banqueting hall, known as the Golden Hall by virtue of its exuberant decoration, was inaugurated.
Joiner Joan Marsal was responsible for the neo-baroque décor of these rooms. Utrillo himself said Marsal understood perfectly that one should never copy, but rather create new works inspired by the chosen styles.
At the time of the inauguration, focusing on the decoration of the Hall we might highlight the rich Toledo front, the flag of the Guild of Barcelona Blacksmiths and Locksmiths, the great fireplace from Jaca, Gothic altarpieces and Chinese pieces.
Today, now that the Deering collection has been removed, we may contemplate other works of art, many of which are reproductions. Donatello’s David and fragments of Byzantine mosaics from Ravenna which represent the Emperor Justinian and his wife Theodora are all high-quality copies.
On the other hand, the furniture pieces, unlike the art copies, are very free versions that probably constitute the fruit of their creators’ imagination rather than archaeological copies. Here we find a choir stall, wash basins, desks, tables, etc.
The Chapel Room
The Chapel Room exhibits the ceramic collection, also from the Museum of Artistic Reproductions. Here we may contemplate ceramic reproductions from Manises, Paterna and Talavera, among others.
Presiding over the centre of the room is the free reproduction of a Baroque altarpiece whose central niche features a carving of Our Lady of the Heart. The original is the only preserved remains of the late Gothic altarpiece from the Church of Santa Maria de Montblanc.
The fact that the piece was among the works presented at the 1929 World Fair and that in the old photographs we have of the chapel the image of the Virgin Mary is absent suggests that the copy at Maricel might come from the Artistic Reproductions Museum rather than from the Charles Deering collection, as previously thought.
The Blue Hall
It was decorated with ancient Chinese paintings, a Sinhalese Buddhist Wei To statue and an abundance of imperial fabrics from the 19th century, jade centre pieces and lacquered room dividers, one of which has twelve panels.
For a long time it was known as the Altarpiece Room by virtue of the Charles Deering collection housed there.
Now we may contemplate a whole series of photographic reproductions of the Maricel Palace, thanks to which we may recall the splendour of this building in Charles Deering’s time. We may also admire a small organ which was returned from the Palau Güell in Barcelona, this having been its original location.
Today the room serves as the venue for courses, conferences, seminars, meetings, exhibitions, workshops and other events.
Collection of the Museum Reproductions
Following the opening of the Maricel Palace as museum as a section of Cau Ferrat Museum, the Museum Board contributes, in addition to its own collection of wrought iron, a part of the Museum Reproductions, inaugurated at the old Palace of Industry in Barcelona in 1891 and later merged with the Museum of Decorative Art and Archaeology of Barcelona. These quality reproductions of works of art are intended for universal art education.
In June 1936, the Board decided to take collections of porcelain, ceramics, enamels, glass, sculpture, furniture and mosaic to the Maricel Palace. Some of the works are signed by some of the best artists such as Teòfil Soyer (Paris and Geneva) with “Aphrodite with cupids” and by Ernest Blancher. It also highlights the cofrets with drawers that come from Vienna and date from the nineteenth century. Not all are copies, there are also originals made using other artistic disciplines, such as portraits of Rafael, signed by these artists.
The following for part of the Museum Reproductions, among others, the Virgin in the Chapel of Maricel Palace, the statue of Peter el Ceremoniós, also called Saint. Charlemagne, the original of which is in the Museum of the Cathedral of Girona; fragments of Byzantine mosaics of Ravenna representing the Emperor Justinian and his wife Theodora; Bust of Seneca, a copy of which is preserved in the Archaeological Museum of Naples, as well as copies of other Roman sculptural portraits, like the Emperor Tiberius; copies of Italian artists such as Lorenzetti, Giotto, Luca della Robbia or Donatello’s David. It should be noted the presence of glass objects that describe the history of glass, with objects blown in Murano and the best German glass workshops during the early eighties of the nineteenth century.
Palau de Maricel, Sitges, Spain
The Maricel Palace is one of the most emblematic buildings in Sitges. Forming part of Maricel’s artistic ensemble, also receives the name of Maricel de Terra as a differentiation from the museum also known as Maricel de Mar.
The Gold Room, the Blue Room, the Chapel Room, the Ship’s Room, Terraces or the Cloister, enjoying a splendid view over the Mediterranean, are the main areas that make up the Palace. With a markedly “Noucentista” style, the different rooms are distinguished by a unique decor stressing its character.
The Palau currently has a triple function: firstly, as a place that holds very important institutional and cultural events of the utmost importance in the civic and cultural life of Sitges, such as concerts, lectures or presentations. Secondly, some of the areas host events of organizations and companies that rent its use, as well as civil marriages. And finally, rooms, terrace and cloisters are accessible by Guided Tours that Museums of Sitges organize every Sunday. During summer months, the program of visits extends to include castanet concerts and dinners under a full moon on their magnificent terraces.
The majestic Gold Room is the space used by Museums of Sitges to organize different academic sessions, such as the seminar about the Art Market, Collections and Museums, the Day of Archaeology of Sitges and the International Symposium on Noucentisme. This same area has witnessed a long list of significant social and cultural events, such as the Meeting of Catalan and Spanish Intellectuals promoted by the Catalan Government in 1981 and various courses of the University Menéndez Pelayo, among many others.