Living with art and now also with Chillida


The arrival of Eduardo Chillida’s Rumor de Límites V at Abadía Retuerta Le Domaine strengthens the collection of modern art housed at the abbey. The sculpture, which is now on display in the church, is part of the artistic tour offered to our guests.

«There is no other place in Ribera del Duero with such a rich and diverse art collection,» explains historian Francisco Sánchez de Puerta, who is part of the Unique Experiences team at Abadía Retuerta Le Domaine. Chisco, as his colleagues know him, has designed an exciting tour that ties the four key moments in the architectural evolution of the monastery with some of the most outstanding works of art on display within its walls.

It is both a relaxed stroll and an immersion into the very essence of the property. This is probably the best way to encapsulate nine centuries of history and to get a 360-degree perspective on what Abadía Retuerta Le Domaine is really all about.

The story follows a chronological order and spans from the foundation in the 12th century when the Premonstratensians («the Pre-what?» ask many visitors, who are surprised at the scant trace that remains of this order in Spain) settled on the banks of the Duero river, through to the almost miraculous restoration of a building that boasts notable examples of the late Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque styles.

An eclectic collection

«This is not a museum,» insists Chisco. «It is a space where art coexists with us.” Indeed, this is something that guests staying at the abbey experience when they see, for example, the Miró lithographs on display in many rooms.

Artworks such as carpets, tapestries and furniture are displayed in their intended spaces. Sánchez de Puerta mentions the outstanding collection of Spanish furniture, especially the bargueños, profusely decorated small desks with countless drawers that were characteristic of the 16th to 18th centuries, and, of course, the picture collection. The paintings, dotted around the different areas of the abbey, include works by Palma el Joven, one of the last Mannerists of the Renaissance, or the classical cityscapes of Venetian Vedutism by masters such as Giovanni Paolo Pannini.

Contemporary art is superbly represented by German sculptor Ulrich Rückriem, whose creations are displayed in the open-air garden museum and inside the church. They are now accompanied by Rumor de Límites V, which has been on display in one of the apses of the church for a few weeks now. The sculpture is part of a ten-piece series made of iron, steel or a combination of both materials that Eduardo Chillida (1924-2002), one of the most important Spanish artists of the 20th century, created in 1959 in the forge of Manuel Illarramendi, which he used during the hours when the blacksmith was not working.

Abadía Retuerta Le Domaine has been working closely with the Chillida-Leku Museum in Hernani (Gipuzkoa) to restore this unique piece measuring 93x65x83 cm. Its arrival in the Duero region reinforces one of the guiding principles of this property which, in the words of general manager Enrique Valero, regards its guests as «collectors of impressions, emotions, experiences and art».