The common grave of the Santa Creu hospital

The poor without family admitted to the Santa Creu hospital when they died were buried in the corralet or common grave.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
15 May 2024 Wednesday 23:12
5 Reads
The common grave of the Santa Creu hospital

The poor without family admitted to the Santa Creu hospital when they died were buried in the corralet or common grave. It was not surprising, since from its foundation in 1401 it became the first public hospital in Europe, and therefore welcomed everyone, foreigners included.

The corralet was anchored in the space that became Plaça Doctor Fleming, where there is a fountain that goes unnoticed on the corner of Carrer Floristes de la Rambla. It was commemorated in 1783 with a tombstone and a long Latin inscription, today illegible. It is the only reference that remains, after the mausoleum that was located there was removed.

Many of those corpses had been used as an anatomy study for professors and students. This cemetery was condemned to disappear, after it was decided to expand it with the hospital of Sant Pau, designed by Lluís Domènech i Montaner.

While the site for the new body depot was being decided, that depot of skulls and bones was piled up and covered up. At the end of the twenties of the 20th century, and the wall demolished, this shocking image appeared that the photographer Jaume Ribera, convinced of its newsworthy nature, did not hesitate to capture it.

The folklorist Joan Amades unfoundedly ventured that the name of the corraletva arose due to the influence of the Spanish, "corral de comedias", which in this case alluded to the place where, by means of a concession from Felipe II, a stage was installed theatrical so that the hospital could benefit from the hypothetical income; that monopoly was maintained when the stage with the name Principal was moved to the Rambla until the Liceu was inaugurated. The word corral has the same Catalan validity and the diminutive quadra with several secondary needs.

A Picasso so refractory to death painted in 1901 as an exorcism the corpse of the beloved Casagemas who had committed suicide; two years later he dared to accept that his friend Dr. Cinto Reventós showed him the pen, an impact that he also embodied as an exorcism in the portrait of the Dead Woman; he gave this painting to the foundation of his son and also a doctor, now treasured in the museum.