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The disputed frescos, courtesy of MNAC

The government of Aragon, an autonomous region in the north east of Spain, is formally asking the neighbouring government of Catalonia to return Romanesque frescos that are in the collection of the Museo Nacional de Arte de Cataluña, Barcelona, the Spanish newspaper, El País reports.

The frescoes, which date from the early 13th century, were saved during the Spanish Civil War from the monastery of Santa María la Real de Sijena, which was badly damaged during the conflict.

Aragon has long claimed the frescos. This year the order of nuns, which has used what remains of the monastery buildings since the 1980s, ceded the historic property in the province of Huesca in the Spanish pyrenees to the Aragonese government. Aragon and the Fondación Caja Madrid spent €3.3m restoring the monastery between 1988 and 2009, according to the regional government’s website.


Laurie Rojas
The Art Newspaper