DESTORRENTS, RAFAEL (àlies GREGORI)
Chronological frameworkca. 1375?-1445
Geographical FrameworkCatalonia (active in Barcelona, Lleida, Avignon?)
Profile and historiographical debate
Rafael Destorrents (alias Gregori) was one of the main artists of the development of the so-called International Gothic style in Catalonia. Historiographers usually assume that he was born in 1375, although an earlier year of birth has recently been suggested, namely around 1366 (CORNUDELLA 2016:123). The last decade of the 14th century is almost devoid of documental references to the artist´s life and education, but some scholars (PLANAS 2009:162) have suggested that he stayed in the pontifical court of Avignon, once or several times, where he would have been in contact with different French artists from the International Movement. We also know that Destorrents received the holy orders in Barcelona in 1405, when Pedralbes Monastery successively appointed him subdeacon, deacon, and presbyter. He was also rector of the Saint Martin’s Parish in Lleida from 1423 to 1426. Written sources from this period lead us to posit that the artist fully immersed himself in the ecclesiastical life of the city. His artistic career also oscillated between these two Catalan cities, where we can find him well documented: among others, in 1410 he worked in the capital, elaborating a missal for the City Council; the Church of Sant Boi del Llobregat ordered an altarpiece representing Saint Ursula and the Eleven Thousand Virgins from him in 1425 (MADURELL 1952, doc. 703: 239) and, from 1439 to 1442, the painter participated in the coloration of Lleida’s Cathedral main altarpiece, in collaboration with Jaume Ferrer and Bernat Martorell (FITÉ-BERLABÉ 1996: 104 and doc. 13: 110; 106 and doc.20: 110). After a long life, on the 12th June 1445, the priest of Santa Maria del Mar and Bernat Martorell himself complied with Destorrents last will and testament, in a document that provide us an approximate date for his death (DURAN I SANPERE 1975, 3: 123).
His artistic personality has been defined by his only documented and conserved work, the Missal of Santa Eulàlia. This is a masterpiece of Catalan illumination of the period, which was ordered the 8th march 1403. We have from this date a contract between the miniaturist and Joan Ermengol, bishop of Barcelona; in this document, the artist commits to finish the work in approximately one year, and asks to receive 20 Aragon gold florins beforehand. From the miniatures that decorates this manuscript, and especially thanks to the big Day of Judgement painted in the 9th folio, we can place the artist inside the context of the ‘First International Gothic’. With a strong formation in the Italian-style of the trecentist Catalan painting, the work of Rafael Destorrents shows a clear receptivity towards French and Flemish models; therefore, he has been related several times with the group of miniaturists that worked for the Duke of Berry, more precisely with an anonymous master that some scholars baptised as Pseudo-Jacquemart, (BOHIGAS 1977: 86-87; PLANAS 1984: 40-45) or even with other illuminators that were active in Paris, such as the Master of the Coronation of the Virgin. (CORNUDELLA 2016: 130-131).
Documented and totally or partially preserved works.
- 1403 – Missal de Santa Eulàlia, Capitulary Archive, Cathedral of Barcelona (ms. 116).
Documented and not-preserved works:
- 1410 – Missal pels Consellers de la Ciutat (MADURELL 1952, doc. 645 and 646: 201-202).
- 1425 – Retaule de Santa Úrsula i les onze mil verges, ordered by the Church of Sant Boi del Llobregat. It has been identified with a panel preserved in the Diocesan Museum of Barcelona (inv.12) (RUIZ I QUESADA 2005: 224).
- 1439-1442 – Participation in the coloration of the main Altarpiece from the Cathedral of Lleida (FITÉ, BERLABÉ 1996: 104 i doc 13: 110; 106 and doc.20: 110).
- Group of eight miniatures from a book of Offices for private devotions, El Escorial (ms. a. iii. 1, ff. 87v-213r) (PLANAS 1991; PLANAS 1994).
- The only miniature from the Liber de Angelis by Ramon Llull (Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Clm. 10503) (PLANAS 2013).
- Two isolated folios from a –nowadays dismembered– codex: one is preserved in the Lázaro Galdiano Foundation (Madrid, inv. 2703); the other is in the archive of the Episcopal Library of Vic (ms.88, f.33v) (PLANAS 2009).
- Miniature from l’Aplega de Capbreus dels emfiteutes que presten censos als aniversaris comuns, Capitulary Archive, Cathedral of Barcelona (CORNUDELLA 2012e).
- Joan Ermengol, bishop of Barcelona from 1389 to 1408.
- The City Council of Barcelona in 1410.
- A Documentary source tells us that the coloration of the Main Altarpiece of the Cathedral of Lleida “fuit comissum dominis Johannes Rabins et Michaeli Periç canonici” (FITÉ, BERLABÉ 1996: 108 i doc 2).
Documented between 1391 and 1445 as Raffael Torrent, Rafaele de Torrentibus, Raphael de Torrentibus, Raphael Torrent, Raphael Greguori or Raphael Gregorii (He seems to adopt the alias of ‘Gregori’ when he starts his ecclesiastical career). Documents collected by the historiography (vid. infra.).
Text: Mireia Castaño
RUBIO I LLUCH 1908-1921; DURAN I SANPERE 1917; GUDIOL CUNILL 1924; MADURELL, 1950; MADURELL 1952; MADURELL 1954: 1-5; BOHIGAS 1965; DURAN I SANPERE 1975; BOHIGAS 1977: 55-89; PLANAS 1984: 33-62; PLANAS 1991: 49-56; PLANAS 1994: 93-124; PLANAS 1996: 289-304; FITÉ-BERLABÉ 1996: 103-110; PLANAS 1998; ALCOY 2000: 11-49; ESPAÑOL 2002; ALCOY 2005: 180-203; RUIZ I QUESADA 2005: 224; PLANAS 2009: 158-163; PLANAS 2011: 37-48; FAVÀ-CORNUDELLA 2012: 39-53; CORNUDELLA 2012A: 15-21; CORNUDELLA 2012B: 140-142; CORNUDELLA 2012C: 143-145; CORNUDELLA 2012D: 146-148; CORNUDELLA 2012E: 149-150; PLANAS 2013: 169-184; CORNUDELLA 2016: 87-162.