The Palau Dalmases is located between Calle Montcada, 20, and Calle Banys Vells, 13, in the Ciutat Vella district of Barcelona, where the names of the streets take us back to the Middle Ages.
The history of the origins of this Palace dates back to the Middle Ages (17th century), as recorded in the documentation of some urban planning works on Montcada Street.
According to historians, the first texts referring to the house appeared in the 14th century. Therefore, we have to imagine a house in the Gothic style, which belonged to the ecclesiastical cathedral hierarchy. The names of its two inhabitants of those times are also known: Bernat Sapila and Guerau Sespluga.
Owned by the medieval church, it passed during the Modern Age to great families of Barcelona, such as the Boixadors and the Grimau, before it was reformed and grew.
These palaces and large centers were the residences of the nobles of Barcelona, located on Montcada Street, Merced street, and Paseo del Born, among others.
Montcada Street is the urban space of the renovated Palaces.
PALAU DALMASES HISTORY
Detail of the iconographic motif on the staircase of the Dalmases Palace with the representation of the Rape of Europe, where Jupiter falls in love with Europa, the daughter of Agenor and Telefasa, who appears as a docile and beautiful white bull to kidnap her and take her to the island Greek from Crete.
The house was severely damaged by bombings during the 1697 siege of Barcelona and was subsequently abandoned. Finally, in 1698, the owners sold it in a dilapidated state to Pau Dalmases Castells (from whom it receives the name), who built the house again, with smooth stone walls and an important sculptural decoration. His son, the intellectual Pau Ignasi Dalmases, was one of the most interesting personalities in Barcelona.
The current appearance corresponds to the 17th-18th centuries, in a Baroque style, although the house has been renovated and expanded over the centuries.
The mythological scenes depicted on the stair rail correspond to two iconographic themes: Neptune's Chariot and the Rape of Europa. Neptune's Chariot could symbolize maritime trade in the Barcelona of the Habsburgs. The Rape of Europe to the Bourbon monarchy, Felipe V as Jupiter, who with the imposition of his force wants to dominate all the kingdoms of Spain.
Palau Dalmases with high-quality baroque sculpture. The Solomonic columns and the ornamental staircase with a mythological theme (early 18th century) unique in Catalonia.
Son of an important merchant from Barcelona, Pau de Dalmases y Castells. He was born in Barcelona in 1670, where he died in 1718.
The Dalmases family was a great example of the social mobility of the classes of modern Barcelona in the 17th century, whom in a few generations gained access to privileges. In their origins they were farm workers, later they became merchants, to finally grow in wealth until they obtained the title of knights.
Pau Ignasi Dalmases in 1709 obtained the title of Marquis of Villalonga.
There were four social classes in Barcelona at that time: the highest, a composite elite, the ruling class, known as the "honest citizens", followed by a very diverse middle class, with a superior of merchants and a inferior of artisans. The working class, and the poor who subsisted on the charity of the parishes.
PAZ IGNACIO DE DALMASES Y ROS
Detail of the railing showing the ornamental richness of the monumental staircase in the Palau Dalmases courtyard
Pau Ignasi Dalmases stood out for his erudition and desire for knowledge, at just 18 years old, in 1688, he was a doctor of Arts and Philosophy, and he became a historian. He traveled through Spain and France, where he maintained contact with other intellectual figures of his time.
In 1689 he acquired the title of Baron de Pierola. In 1692 Carlos II made him a knight, a privileged title.
In 1700 he was archivist of the Academy of the Distrustful, a literary academy, inspired by the Italians (the name indicates the distrust of knowledge) for the study of Catalan history, language and poetry. Inaugurated in 1700 by intellectuals, the most important of which was Pablo Ignacio de Dalmases. The successor of this academy will be the Academy of Good Letters of Barcelona.
In 1701 the Cortes called him as the first official chronicler of the Principality of Catalonia.
He was a great learned scholar who also worked as a diplomat. His political ideology was Austrian, supporters of Archduke Charles.
The son of Pau Ignasi Dalmases, Ramon de Dalmases, lived in this house until the middle of the 18th century. Throughout the S. XIX great changes took place.
Ramon's grandson, José de Dalmases, renovated the noble floor of the palace in 1830. The artist in the main room, the painter Pablo Rigalt, is considered the promoter of Neoclassicism in Catalonia.
In 1890 José Pellicer rebuilt the noble floor, destroyed by fire. In 1907 there is the extension of the great architect of Barcelona Montaner.
The palace was the headquarters of important Catalan institutions: the Institute of Catalan Studies (from 1962 to 1982) and of Òmnium cultural until 2002.
Scene with the iconographic representation of the Chariot of Neptune. The god of the sea with his trident, sailing the oceans with his chariot carried by sea horses. Early seventeenth century, by unknown author
The palace's heirs, descendants of the Dalmases, had it in disuse, until today, now in operation as a venue for events and flamenco tablao shows.
In 1704 he was part of a commission of the Council of Hundred of Barcelona sent to the Court of Madrid, to free the prisoners, from the high social class of the patriciate of Barcelona, in prison by order of the viceroy of Catalonia, Fernández de Velasco. But Pau Ignasi Dalmases and his brother-in-law, José Fausto de Potau, Count of Vallcarca, were also imprisoned. Then, it is when they say, he went to the side of the Austrias, of Carlos III of Spain, who in 1709 made him Marquis of Villalonga.
Barcelona capitulated to the troops of Felipe V.
At the capitulation of Barcelona, Felipe V (the first Bourbon, from 1700, to the death of the last Austrian king of Spain Carlos II) allowed him to return to Barcelona from Paris, but he took the title of marquis where he continued his tasks intellectuals until he died at age 48.
From his work written by him, he left us an unfinished History of Catalonia that he was working on, and a biography of Santa Eulalia.
The palace is free to visit everyday, although it is not possible to enter inside the rooms. You can, however, admire the wonderful columns, starcase and doors of the entrace of the palace.