Sunday, January 16, 2011

Apse Painting from Sant Climent de Taüll

The Valle de Boi in Catalonia, with nine standing Romanesque churches and several ruins in about 85 square miles, has the densest concentration of Romanesque architecture in the world. The largest and best preserved of these churches is Sant Climent de Taüll, consecrated in 1123.

Catalonia in the 12th century was not a prosperous region and the builders of the church could not afford expensive mosaics, so the church was decorated with fresco. These frescoes are amongst the extant Romanesque murals. The apse mosaic is a Christ in Majesty, with Christ seated on the throne of the world. He is flanked by angels and is above medallions bearing the four beasts of the apocalypse. Mozarabic influence is seen in the broad bands of color that form the background.

In 1922 the murals of Sant Climent de Taüll were removed to protect them from theft and are now in the National Art Museum of Catalonia in Barcelona.

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Anonymous said...

Catalonia in the 12th century was not a prosperous region...

It was doing pretty well, you know, Muslim Spain was under tribute and lots of gold was coming in, and Barcelona was one of the bigger ports in that part of the world by then. I think they just liked fresco :-)

Dafydd said...

I probably phrased that poorly. I will confess to being fairly ignorant about the economic history of medieval Spain. Prosperity is a relative thing, though. They certainly didn't have the resources that the Byzantine Empire had, or even Norman Sicily, even if the lack of resources was a lack of skilled artisans.

Frogus said...

The sculptor of Jeremiah is also suspected to have sculpted the splendid dancing Isahiah at St. Marie in Souillac in southewestern France, sixty miles away. See Ars Sacra by H. F. Ullmann.