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Vic Leather Arts Museum | Museu de l'Art de la Pell de Vic

The Vic Leather Arts Museum houses the collection of Andreu Colomer Mommany (Owner, Vic leather factory) & is comprised of artefacts gathered from his travels

Updated: Jun 28, 2024 by: Barcelona Travel Hacks Views: 419

About Vic Leather Arts Museum

The traditional industry of Vic was tanneries and leather production. At it's peak there was twenty-five workshops and tanneries in the city, most of which were located near the Querralt bridge. Today these buildings have been purchased by the Vic city and currently being refurbished into museum space.

The Vic Leather Arts Museum opened in 1996 to house the collection of Andreu Colomer Mommany, the owner of the Vic leather factory. The collection is comprised of artefacts gathered from his travels with his wife. The museum houses pieces of great artistic wealth from a very diverse origin and time periods. Highlights the technique of the guadamassil (golden and polychrome skin) used for making murals, altar fronts, screenings, etc. It is also worth noting the application of the Cordovane (high quality goat skin) to chests and boxes.

Visiting Vic Leather Arts Museum

Chests, boxes and trunks lined with leather or fur were very common since medieval times. In Catalonia there are documented references to encuyrats chests in 1321, cuyrats i barrtas chests (covered in leather and reinforced with iron bars) in 1395 and chests covered in fur in 1414.

The boxes lined with leather or fur, with the lid usually arched with iron reinforcements and handles were used for transport. The leather protected the wood and contents from the external elements. The arched lid made the rain water slide off. Iron reinforcements gave it resistance and a lock to prevent possible theft.

From the 16th century, L'Arquimesa is as a piece of furniture of a more sumptuous character. It describes a desk of drawers with a hinged door at the front and drawers and compartments inside. In addition to its function as a desk, it was used to store small personal valuables. It could be lined with leather on the outside and inside, or just covered with leather on the front of the drawers and the inside of the lid. The leather, usually decorated with gold protected and beautified this type of desk.

Guadamassil is a technique of artistic leather work characterised by the application of a thin sheet of silver as a preparation layer to be able to polychrome it. On the skin, usually white, once silvered, a yellow varnish is applied, colradura, with the intention of imitating gold and, finally, it is ironwork and polychrome. Guadamassil origininates in the south of the Iberian Peninsula under Arab rule and influence with its production spreading to several cities: Seville, Granada, Córdoba, Valencia, Barcelona and Vic.

Leather decorative arts reaches its greates splendor in the 16th and early 17th centuries with guadamassil motifs of clear Renaissance inspiration taken from the rich damasks and silk brocades textile designs of the time. These first guadamassils are always flat, without relief, with polychrome decoration and with gold and ironwork backgrounds.

From the 17th century, the manufacture of guadamassil spread across different European countries such as Italy, France and the Netherlands with the expulsion of the Moors from the Iberian Peninsula in 1610. In the Netherlands molded guadamassil is invented with a mechanical embossing that allowed mechanisation of guadamassil, reducing its cost to respond to the great demand for guadamassil wall coverings in halls all over Europe.

Images of a religious nature made of gilded, polychrome and ironed leather or embossed leather are very numerous from the 16th century onwards. These images were frequent in many homes and churches as objects of popular devotion. They persistently repeated the same themes around the crucifixion, the Virgin Mary and some saints. Generally the guadamassiler used to paint the images but in works of higher artistic quality a painter could also be involved.

Chairs with engraved leather backs and seats from the 17th and 18th centuries called Portuguese chairs (because of their main place of manufacture) were exclusively used by the ruling classes of kings, nobles and ecclesiastics. The wooden structure of the first Portuguese chairs are simple consisting of a leather backrest and seat, rectangular in shape and fixed with large studs. The leather is embossed with symmetrically arranged heraldic and vegetal motifs, and the background is also embossed to give relief to the drawn motifs.

In the second half of the 17th century, chairs evolved into more organic shapes. In most of the chairs the arms disappeared because of the large round skirts worn by the women. The backrests adopt different curved shapes, the front crossbars have a crossed double S, a shell or flowers, and the legs are turned. The backs of the chairs go up, adapting to the men's fashion of large artificial wigs. The motifs engraved on the leather are enriched with a great profusion of leaves and flowers, lions, eagles, human figures, angels and shields.

Cordova is a high-quality tanned leather, usually from goat skin. Its origin can be located in the Spanish-Arabic Córdoba city that will become the first and most important production center for this type of leather. It quickly becomes a highly prestigious and renowned product exported to Western Europe. Since medieval times, cordovan has been used mainly in the covering of boxes, caskets and cases and is also used in the manufacture of shoes and gloves.

Many caskets and boxes were lined with cordovan. The caskets were used to store the personal belongings, money or documents of ladies and gentlemen, or they were the case of a rich goldsmith's treasure. They could also be a gift as a pledge of love, often illustrated with scenes inspired by courtly love. In the religious sphere they were used to store relics, books of hours, or other liturgical objects.

What to take with you for Vic Leather Arts Museum

For the Vic day trip I pack a small 10L rucksack with a fleece jersey and if the weather forecast says rain, a waterproof poncho.

The Vic leather Arts Museum does not have an audio guide but information plaques for each piece.

The museum is fully accessible for wheelchairs with elevators and gradual incline ramps. a ramp provides access at the entrance.

Vic Leather Arts Museum Summary of Prices

Train/Bus Fare Entry Ticket Additional Information Train/Bus Fare Entry Ticket Additional Information Adult € 12.90 € 2.50 Child € 12.90 FREE Group/Family Ticket? Consult Renfe Rodalies website for child fares.Notes Open 11h-13h and 16h-18h.

Getting to Vic Leather Arts Museum

Address: Carrer de l'Arquebisbe Alemany 5, Vic. 8500

Map of Vic Leather Arts Museum


Latitute: 41.4 Longitude: 2.2 Zoom Level: 11

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