José Luís Espejo - Leonardo, spy in Montserrat (year 1482)

Leonardo, spy in Montserrat (year 1482)

After an exhaustive research on the text of the page 19 verso of the bundle II-2520, from the Royal Library of the Palacio Real of Madrid, written in the year 1789, the final transcription of that text is the following one (the right part of the paper is hidden by the binding; because of that it is not seen in the scanned image, and I have not been able to transcribe it):

Ja ha alguns anys, que mon Parent canonge Pasqual de las Ave []

me referí haver llegit un itinerari de un fingit peregrí. Est [] 

molt. Era italià. Referia en son llibret tot lo mes repa [] 

tractant de Montserrat. Entre altres cosas diu que demaná per lo que [] 

daba de la llibreria. Preguntá a molts de ells, no trovaba qui [] 

per ultim un mirá la llista dels empleats, y aixý adquirí que [] 

aná per ell, y li digué haver perdut la clau. Cercant la trová, [] 

traren en ella [la llibreria], y veu que tot era de teranyinas, y pols. Li digué lo [pere] 

grí es llastima que en un monastir com es aquest, estigan de eixa [] 

los llibres. Diu li respongué que vastant havia estudiat, y eren [] 

lo Pe_ [permanent?] fay[ç]ó para los presentes, e venideros. Penso estan a[b] [] 

mateixa maxima. Informat del Sr. Rull lo Illm [Illustrissim] elemental [Clement?] 

modus vivendi que ja tenian en aquell temps, no obstant de que [] 

era admes a la Comunitat, a forsa de instancias de dit Illm, vaig con… 

tinuar la regencia de la cura de esta parroquia: pero com a[m]b lo temp [] 

me vagia molestar un dolor de rumatisme, vaig dexar de conti 

nuar; asso me fou motiu per excusarme de anar a regentar  

la Parroquia de Vinanova de Codellas. Penso que tot me fou pel meu 

be, per havero així disposat Deu. 

Si eixas cartas tiran tal qual, al fi del frare, que deuhen fer 

las que van enclosas per aquell[s] subjecte[s] que tant doná que  

murmurar, y que tantas diligencias practicá perque vm [vuestras mercedes?] [] 

vinguesen a fernos missió, valentse perque lo vicari tercer [] 

desocupás la Casa de la Rectoria. Deu lo encamini. 

Aquí va[] 

Nebot Batysta. Tinch escrit al Señor Don Francisco de Zamora. 

I'll review the text by parts:

Ja ha alguns anys, que mon Parent canonge Pasqual de las Ave [] 

me referí haver llegit un itinerari de un fingit peregrí. Est [] 

molt. Era italià. Referia en son llibret tot lo mes repa [] 

tractant de Montserrat. Entre altres cosas diu que demaná per lo que [] 

daba de la llibreria. Preguntá a molts de ells, no trovaba qui [] 

per ultim un mirá la llista dels empleats, y aixý adquirí que [] 

aná per ell, y li digué haver perdut la clau. Cercant la trová, [] 

traren en ella [la llibreria], y veu que tot era de teranyinas, y pols.

It says that a relative of the person that writes the letter (Joan Boada), a priest named Pasqual de les Ave[llanes, I guess], explained that he had read an itinerary written by a "pretended pilgrim". This concept suggests that he was actually a spy. This spy was Italian and went to Montserrat. Once there he insisted in looking into the library. Despite some difficulties, the monks opened the library and the guest found that this was in very poor condition (full of dust and spiders).

Li digué lo [pere] 

grí es llastima que en un monastir com es aquest, estigan de eixa [] 

los llibres. Diu li respongué que vastant havia estudiat, y eren [] 

lo Pe_ [permanent?] fay[ç]ó para los presentes, e venideros. Penso estan a[b] [] 

mateixa maxima.

The Italian pilgrim told who taught him the library that was a pity that it was in such bad state, and the monk replied that this was its usual state, and that it would remain like this in the future [“permanent faiçó para los presentes, e venideros”]. Who writes the letter (Joan Boada) ensures that nothing has changed in the monastery since that time ["penso estan amb la mateixa maxima"].

Informat del Sr. Rull lo Illm [Illustrissim] elemental [Clement?] 

modus vivendi que ja tenian en aquell temps, no obstant de que [] 

era admes a la Comunitat, a forsa de instancias de dit Illm,

First, it speaks of mister Rull, although at first sight it seems that we read Bull. I matched the writing with other texts of the same author (in one of them he speaks of Rey [King] don Jaume).

RULL-REY.jpg - 11.83 KB 

Afterwards we will see that this Rull is really Marull (Llorenç Marull), vicar in Montserrat of the Abbot Giuliano della Rovere (future Pope Jules II) until the year 1483, and at the same time Abbot of Santa Cecilia de Montserrat between 1471-1483. This takes us to the period in what Leonardo would have visited this monastery for the first time (1481-1483). In what refers to the "Clement-elemental" doubt, I prefer the second option (elemental), because Clement is written in catalan language as Climent, with i (no e), and because after the last t the word continues.

It seems to say that the false pilgrim was informed by Mr Rull (Marull), an honourable man (in fact, vicar of the Abbot, the highest authority in the monastery), of the "elemental" [modest, poor] modus vivendi that they had in that time, and despite any difficulties (we do not know which they are, because it is covered by the binding), supposedly the italian pilgrim was admitted to the Montserrat community, thanks to the pressure [les instàncies] of Rull (called "illustrious").

I think that this is a possibility of interpretation, because the action is located "in aquell temps" (in that time), in what Mr. Rull (Llorenç Marull) was an important person in the monastery (vicar of the Abbot Giuliano della Rovere). We are talking of towards the years 1481-1483.

vaig con… 

tinuar la regencia de la cura de esta parroquia: pero com a[m]b lo temp [] 

me vagia molestar un dolor de rumatisme, vaig dexar de conti 

nuar; asso me fou motiu per excusarme de anar a regentar  

la Parroquia de Vinanova de Codellas. Penso que tot me fou pel meu 

be, per havero així disposat Deu.

In this fragment the sender of the letter refers to personal issues. Who writes (Joan Boada) felt more right "continue the regency of the cure of this parish". In other letters of the bundles II-2519 and II-2520 of the Royal Library of the Palacio Real of Madrid the such Joan Boada asks favors to some autorities to benefit his relatives.

Si eixas cartas tiran tal qual, al fi del frare, que deuhen fer 

las que van enclosas per aquell[s] subjecte[s] que tant doná que  

murmurar, y que tantas diligencias practicá perque vm [vuestras mercedes?] [] 

vinguesen a fernos missió, valentse perque lo vicari tercer [] 

desocupás la Casa de la Rectoria. Deu lo encamini.

It is said that certain letters are thrown ["si eixas cartas tiran tal qual"]; i.e., are made to disappear. The letters are thrown "al fi del frare" [at the end of the friar; of what friar speaks?; is it only an expression, something as "systematically"?]. But especially have to disappear "las que van enclosas per aquell subjecte que tant doná que murmurar" (the ones which include that subject that gave so much to murmur). What subject is he refering to? Perhaps the one presented at the beginning of the letter (spy, Italian, perhaps Leonardo da Vinci)?. The issue is so important that the recipient of the letter (we ignore his name) deals personally with this topic ["vinguesen a fernos missió"], to the point that he must occupy the house of the rectory where lives the third vicar.

Aquí va[] 

Nebot Batysta. Tinch escrit al Señor Don Francisco de Zamora.

I guess that such "Nebot Batysta" is nephew of the sender (Joan Boada), and furthermore it is said that Mr. Don Francisco de Zamora is informed of this matter ("tinch escrit al Sr. Don Francisco de Zamora"). Perhaps this is the inducer of the disappearance of annoying information. I think that Francisco de Zamora could have been responsible for the coverage, in black color, of the bottom of the Gioconda de Madrid, as I point out in my book Los mensajes ocultos de Leonardo da Vinci, or in the article Leonardo, heretical. In other letters who writes signs as Joan Boada i Carreras Fita.

In short, we have here a case of "disappearance of evidences", in some annoying or inconvenient affair. Possibly, the presence in the monastery of a "pretended pilgrim", in reality a spy, and perhaps an heretical, of Italian origin (that could be Leonardo da Vinci).

Joan Boada i Carreras

Thanks to the friendly message of Carme Pedrola, I am told that has been preserved the answer of this priest of the town of Olesa de Montserrat to the questionnaire of Francisco de Zamora. Angel M.Hernández i Cardona, in his book Olesa al final del segle XVIII segons les respostes de Joan Boada al qüestionari de Zamora, que se puede consultar on line, speaks of this matter. The discovery of such manuscript (apparently a copy) took place the 12 of April of 1997, at the house of Pere Gibert, of Cal Pel.la (Olesa). It seems it was gnawed by mice and consumed by time.

The document presented in this article is a personal letter of Joan Boada directed to an unknown addressee. It is important to know that this person of the late 18th century catalan microhistory exerted an important work on the project directed by Francisco de Zamora.

In another letter, this time sent  directly to Francisco de Zamora, Joan Boada offers himself to ship confidential information [una relacio que fins ara me he tingut callat] duly proved. And adds that this information, if it comes to light, can cause displeasure on the monks of the monastery [pot ser que haventse de donar a la llum, sabrian mal a los señors monjos de Montserrat]. Is in this bunch of letters of " confidential information" where I would place the allusion to the "pretended Italian Pilgrim" [Leonardo da Vinci?], that supposedly has caused "murmurs" in the monastery, and the allusion to the "destruction" of documents. Here is the letter that I have mentioned:

Olesa Agost 29 de 89.

Molt il.lustre señor. Adjunt li envio la memoria pertanyent a Monistrol. Desitjo siga a son agrado. Algunas noticias de las que li dono, pot ser que haventse de donar a la llum, sabrían mal a los señors monjos de Montserrat, y no es ma voluntat malquistarme, ni ofendren a ningu. Si a V. S. li apar. allo que li dich en lo numero 13 de haver  en lo arxiu real de exa cint instruments relatius a la venda de la senyoria de Monistrol, en lo armari 8 numero 9 [] numero 22, allo que li dich de que lo monastir vindra temps delegan son fi, no havent sacerdots fills de vila en aquella comunitat de presbíteros. Lo del numero 20 de [] lo terme de Monistrol fins a la hermita de St. Geroni; com tambe []  en lo numero 146. Lo [] allo que be li aparega.

Tambe amb confianza li dich de que tinc copias tretas fideliter de los mateixos originals, que per illustrar lo pertanyent a esta vila [Olesa de Montserrat], Monistrol, Collbato y Vacarisas, farian molt: pero temo de que farian mal de ulls als señores monsarretins, totas. Son des del any 900 a 1000. Si V.S. no y trova inconvenients, li’n faria una relacio lo que fins ara me he tingut callat.

It continues with personal issues (basically asks "a place" for two nephews). Addressed to Mr. Don Francisco [de Zamora].

 

Scan_0082.jpg - 936.70 KB

Letter by Joan Boada to Francisco de Zamora

Llorenç Marull

I consider that the such Rull of which speaks the letter is really Llorenç Marull. On the premise that it is intended to maintain the opacity on this issue, it is logical to suppose that the full name (Marull) is not written, in the same way that is not mentioned the name of the "pretended pilgrim". In addition to this, only an Abbot (or prior), or as in this case a vicar of the Abbot (Giuliano della Rovere, who at that moment was at Avignon), may authorize this "pretended pilgrim" to reside in the monastery. And between those priors, or Abbots, or vicars of the monastery, at least until the year 1789 (in which is written the letter), none is called Rull. Llorenç Marull can be the only "honourable" person which authorized the stay of the Italian in Montserrat. Here there is a list of priors and Abbots of Montserrat:

https://ca.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Llista_d'abats_de_Montserrat 

In La Perla de Cataluña, by Gregorio de Argaiz, reference book of the history of Montserrat, published in Madrid in the year 1677, it is said of this Llorenç Marull:

"[Giuliano della Rovere, Abbot of Montserrat between 1471 and 1483] put what I understand from his beginnings, as General Vicar, the Reverend Father Lorenço Marull, Abbot of Santa Cecilia, that catered to all the Government, spiritual and temporal, of the monks, the budget of the monastery, and of all Priories. He informed of everithing [to Giuliliano della Rovere], and representing the need that had the convent, of doing some particular works, he ordered was put in execution. The cloisters, that are in front of the door of the old church, were made in this period... This is said by the blasons, that are in each pillar, with the arms of the cardinal Juliano [della Rovere], that is an oak, with two angels, and then the blason of Monserrate, that are the mountain and the saw..."

In one of the pages of the Ultimatum (manuscript of the archivist Miguel Perez of Vassa, contemporary to the written by Benet Ribas i Calaf, chief archivist of Montserrat), a reference is made to this Llorenç Marull, Abbot of Santa Cecilia and vicar in Montserrat of the Abbot Giulliano della Rovere.

VICARIO MARULL.jpg - 726.32 KB

Fragment of the Ultimatum from Miguel Pérez of Vassa in which a reference is made to Llorenç Marull, Abbot of Santa Cecilia of Montserrat

Ultimately, Leonardo would have reached the monastery when the works of embellishment were being done. This would explain the statue of Santa Cecilia (see below), and also the table of Saint Jerome, allegedly painted by him in Montserrat, now in the Vatican museums of Rome (see my book El viaje secreto de Leonardo da Vinci).

The documents of the Royal Palace of Madrid

All the information about these documents is located in my web page:

http://www.joseluisespejo.com/index.php/leonardo-da-vinci/297-los-manuscritos-de-montserrat-no-tan-perdidos

In the following article of my blog I speak about the insistence of Miguel Pérez de Vassa in affirming that a great part of the letters and documents of Montserrat were made disappear. Without saying so, I suspect that Pérez de Vassa associated the "mission" of Francisco de Zamora in the monastery (with the complicity of the official Archivist, Benet Ribas i Calaf) to this process of destruction of documents.

http://www.joseluisespejo.com/index.php/leonardo-da-vinci/322-mas-sobre-el-archivo-de-montserrat-y-leonardo

Miguel Pérez de Vassa complains that he was moved away from responsibilities in the Archive for the benefit of Benet Ribas, which was named Archivist instead of him. I think that this was so -at least partly- because Benet Rivas would have permitted to destroy those funds considered "annoying" or "inconvenient" (an exemple of this would be the letter before reviewed). This would explain that the Annals elaborated by him do not include the social, religious or cultural life of the monastery, but instead certain inconsequential issues, from the pastoral point of view, of administrative type. I think that in this operation, Francisco de Zamora played a significant role (of "promoter of censorship").

The statue of Sainte Cecile, next to the letter (folio 20 recto)

On the folio 20 recto, in the same image scanned ("scan_0512"), we see a drawing representing, according to the legend, a Sainte Cecile (on the right, a coat of arms). The fact that the interlocutor of the "pretended pilgrim" was Llorenç Marull, Abbot of Santa Cecilia de Montserrat until the year 1483, would explain that beside the above-mentioned letter (of Joan Boada) there is a picture that shows the statue of the sainte (now lost). I think that who placed there this drawing (certainly not in the style of Leonardo) was contemporary of Joan Boada, and knew perfectly that such Rull of the letter was actually Llorenç Marull.

Who could draw this statue? From my point of view, it can not be other than Francisco de Zamora. I have included a manuscript fragment of the journal of this traveller of the Court at the end of this report. Compare the legend that there is under the drawing with the calligraphy of Francisco de Zamora. There are details (like the capital E) that allow to speculate with the possibility that it was this person who made the drawing. Not in vain he wrote "I have acquired, although poorly drawn, all the antiques that had been in the old church [of Montserrat], and therefore we refer to them". That is to say, Francisco of Zamora would have drawn this Sainte Cecile, that would have placed beside the letter of Joan Boada, because it refers to the Abbot of Santa Cecilia (Llorenç Marull), possibly the person that ordered it, and also to the "pretended pilgrim" (Leonardo), that perhaps identified as his author.

I made a comparison of the drawing of the statue of Sainte Cecile with an sculpture attributed to Leonardo, in terracotta (supposedly, a San Gennaro). Who made the compilation II-2520 (today in the Royal Palace of Madrid) perhaps thought that this statue of Santa Cecilia could be a work of the same "pretended pilgrim" which is presented in the text. Note the position of the hand on the chest, while holding what looks like a book or a box (this is a detail typically leonardian), the fall of the folds in the clothing and the styling -typically Mannerist- of both statues (which appear elongated, and with a small head).

This is a proof of the antiquity of the statue of Sainte Cecile: "It is represented with the tunic and mantle of the roman maidens... Until the Renaissance her only attribute was the crown of flowers. From the century XVI on is represented with musical instruments, mainly the organ, what probably derives from an error of transcription" (Rosa Giorgi, Santos. ELecta, 2004). Rafael (pupil of Leonardo) paints an ecstasy of Sainte Cecile in the year 1516, which is accompanied by an organ. Instead, the Sainte Cecile that appears beside the letter has not a musical instrument, but instead a crown of flowers of lis. That is, the statue in question is previous to Rafael. Coud it be attributed to Leonardo?

COMPARATIVA.jpg - 837.66 KB

With regard to the placement of the hand on her chest, it is a rosicrucian sign, as noted in the following article: Leonardo da Vinci, the first Rosicrucian.

But there is more. Above the drawing we can see some semi-erased letters, written in the drawing (they don't belong to the other face of the page, which is blank). It is possible to distinguish the initials L d V (Leonardo da Vinci?). Note especially the "d", with a stroke with shape of a banner on its left, as in the "d" on the legend of the drawing of Sainte Cecile, which certifies that the same person who wrote such legend (and which probably made the drawing) put the initial L d V, subsequently deleted (or blurred).

DETALLE LETRAS.jpg - 715.47 KB

Note also that in the folds of the dress of the sainte we can guess three strokes which, inverted and stylized, could be interpreted as the letters "l d v" in lowercase (Leonardo da Vinci?). It is highly speculative, but I wish to expose it to the reader.

LETRAS ESCONDIDAS.jpg - 494.75 KB

If it is truly a cryptogram, perhaps Francisco de Zamora (the author of the picture) would like to leave testimony of Leonardo, but in a "encrypted" form.

Conclusions

It seems evident that such Joan Boada, who wrote the letter above (in the year 1789), is aware of a policy of concealment, which reveals when says that some documents on a question considered inconvenient are being destroyed ["aquell subjecte que tant doná que murmurar"]. Possibly by this reason alters the name of Llorenç Marull (Abbot of Santa Cecilia de Montserrat), although at the side of the letter we find a key of his true identity: the presence of the drawing of the statue of Sainte Cecile. These facts would have taken place towards the year 1482, which situates the story chronologically. At this time, a fake pilgrim, supposedly Leonardo, was accepted by the community, at the proposal of Llorenç Marull (perhaps at the suggestion of Giuliano della Rovere, Italian as Leonardo). Perhaps the mentioned pilgrim made the statue of Sainte Cecile (note his initials above of the drawing), and when he asked by the library he was interested also by the alchemical laboratory of the monastery. What seems clear is that we will never get the "ultimate evidence" of his stay at the monastery, because some people in Montserrat (Benet Ribas, archivist) and at the Court of Madrid (Francisco de Zamora), have been concerned to make them disappear.

Annex: letters sent to Francisco de Zamora

In a subsequent review of the bundle II-2519 of the library of the Royal Palace of Madrid, I have found a letter from Benet Ribas i Calaf (page 59 recto) in which he says literally: "Friend and Master [Francisco de Zamora]. I don't think that you ever forget our monastery, [because] you have admired the wonders of this mountain. Neither do I forget to collect all news that contains this Archive to provide them with some method to you. The same you prevents me V. in the re [], I already had proposed. They will go correct copies of letters of Kings and other great personages, including one in catalan language, very curious, of the Reyes Católicos, concerning the work which his M.M. instructed to do in this place for the room of the monks, which had been [ignored] by being inside the bursa [] manual from [] than in those days was in the hands of the curia from Monistrol..."

Would it be then, as a result of the above-mentioned compilation of documents issued to Francisco de Zamora, when were "throwed" some letters that caused 'murmurs', as indicated in the letter of Joan Boada exposed before? Whatever it is, it could establish a direct link between this shipment of copies of documents to Francisco de Zamora, officer of the Court, and the news (exposed by Joan Boada) that some letters are being destroyed. And as points out Miguel Pérez of Vassa repeatedly, the protagonist of the "destruction" of annoying documents is Benet Ribas, chief archivist of Montserrat in those moments.

Note (and this is not unimportant detail) that the letter which becomes a reference here (page 59 recto from the file II-2519) refers to the period of the Catholic monarchs, in which we could place the event explained by Joan Boada, while Llorenç Marull was vicar of Montserrat (towards the year 1482), and Leonardo would have visited the monastery for the first time.

Documents

Letter from Joan Boada. On the right, drawing of the statue of St. Cecile (it appears very dim; I have highlighted it in an image above):

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Page of La Perla de Cataluña, by Gregorio de Argaiz, where it is spoken about Llorenç Marull:

ARGAIZ.jpg - 249.67 KB

Page of the notebook of Francisco de Zamora. Compare the calligraphy with the one in the legend of the drawing of St. Cecile (especially the E and the capital C):

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Letter of Benet Ribas in which announces to Francisco de Zamora that he is sending missives of the Kings and of others important persons. It alludes to an event that took place in times of the Catholic Kings. In the letter of Joan Boada, as we have seen, it is made reference to the vicariate of Llorenç Marull, in times of Giuliano della Rovere (towards 1482, during the mandate of the Reyes Católicos):

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