Since he was seventeen years old, Rusiñol participated actively in the diverse activities organized for Catalan scientific excursions. He was a member of the Catalan Excursionist Association since October 1878 and the Catalan Association of Scientific Excursions since January 1881. The two associations merged to create the Catalonia Excursionist Center in 1891 and Rusiñol became a member again between 1905 and 1914.
Historians, architects, language scholars, meteorology or geography enthusiasts, painters and collectors, among others, armed with notebooks or sketchbooks, cameras or tools to take samples and data, presented their findings at conferences that were later published in the associations’ bulletins.
Young Rusiñol not only went out on and disseminated different excursions, the accounts of which were the subject of the first texts published by the young excursionist, but also attended many lectures given by important figures like Narcís Oller, Alexandre de Riquer, Lluís Domènech i Montaner, Valentí Almirall, Jacint Verdaguer, Pompeu Fabra or Àngel Guimerà, among others, and he surrounded himself with friends who shared the same passions, like Miquel Utrillo, who also signed up for the Catalan Excursionist Association in 1878.
One of the activities that the excursionists enjoyed was going to visit the collections that were in the country at that time. They were tours guided by their owners, who presented them with full detail, later collected in the publication of the event in the Association’s bulletin.
On March 27th, 1887, a group of members of the Catalan Association of Scientific Excursions visited Rusiñol’s collection in Barcelona. The text published containing the summary of this activity, in fact, was the first written news about the nature of his collection, consisting of about two hundred wrought iron pieces, sculptures, important Medieval and Renaissance furniture, and ceramics.
As customary, the host and member of the association would offer a gift to the other associates that would go on to become part of the museum housed at their headquarters. In this case, Rusiñol gifted this Romanesque image of the Mother of God from his collection, a clear testimony to the painter's commitment to the excursionist association.