A trip to Pollenca cannot be complete without a trip to the Pollenca Museum, especially since you get a two for one visit, where you can split your time equally over the exhibits inside and also the building in which the museum is housed.
The old Dominican Convent built between 1588 and 1618, was home to the Dominican Monks until it was confiscated by the Spanish Government in the 1830’s and used thereafter as a civil building by the local government including incarnations as a civil barracks and a library. After some renovations and refurbishments to the cloisters in 1961 the building was turned into cultural space for the hosting of events and festivals such as modern art exhibits and competitions and the famous Pollenca Music Festival which is held in the centre quadrangle surrounded by the ornate baroque cloisters.
Pollenca has been a place synonymous with artists since the 1920’s when artists began flocking here to draw inspiration from the beautiful landscapes, when internationally renowned artists such as Tito Cittadini and Anglada Camarasa arrived from Paris they gave Pollenca the reputation it retains as an artist’s haven. Their influence also led to the creation of the “Paintings Summer Exhibit” in 1962, a modern art competition, which continues today as the “International Plastic Arts Exhibit”. The competition is open to anyone who wishes to enter regardless of age, nationality etc, a general subject is set such as 2015’s “Landscape” and artists are free to interpret it in any way they choose.
The Pollenca Museum was founded in 1975 and it credits much of its success to the plastic arts competition, which has been instrumental in raising funds for the museum as well as expanding its collection with new pieces each year. The museum houses the winning pieces from each year of the competition back to 1962 and the diverse assortment of mediums and subjects on display by the winners – sculpture to photography, portraits to footwear, is interesting to see.
The Museum also holds a permanent collection of the works of Atilio Boveri, an Argentinean born artist who was talented in many fields including painting, ceramics, carpentry, teaching, writing and architecture. During the time he living in Pollenca, 1912 -1915 Boveri drew and painted many landscapes of this area of Mallorca and these are displayed today in the museum. The Gothic room is also well worth a visit displaying many high quality gothic alter pieces coming from different churches around Pollenca and dating back to a time when the North of Mallorca was an important and affluent centre of trade which accounts for the rich quality of the pieces on display.
The stand out piece of the Pollenca Museum is the Buddhist Mandala, which was donated to the town of Pollenca by the Dalai Lama in 1990. Mandala’s are pieces of art constructed from grains of sand and held sacred in Tibetan Buddhism, they consist of concentric circles, geometric patterns and symbols and symbolize the universe. Mandala’s are always begun in the centre where the Dalai Lama is responsible for placing the first grains of sand, the process is then taken up by monks who have studied for years in order to learn the artistic and philosophical process involved. The Mandala of Kalachakra which resides in the museum is also called the wheel of time and is one of the most complicated designs, it shows amongst other things 722 deities, 12 lotus flower bringing animals which symbolize the months of the year, the four elements of earth, wind, fire and water and, the body, mind, wisdom and consciousness. Displayed next to the Mandala are the tools and pots of coloured sand the likes of which would have been used in its creation. You cannot look upon this without marveling at the time and effort needed to make such a piece, viewing the Mandala is worth your price of admission alone.
During the summer months the Museum of Pollenca is open Tuesday to Saturday from 10am – 1pm and from 5.30 pm – 8.30pm, it is closed on Mondays and holidays, admission costs €1.50.
Read more about Pollenca.