The cathedrals of Santiago and Salamanca, protagonists of the first Conference on Romanesque Art in Madrid

The cathedrals of Santiago and Salamanca, protagonists of the first Conference on Romanesque Art in Madrid

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More than 120 people are gathering these days in the capital to analyze, "from a different point of view", some Spanish Romanesque masterpieces.

They participate in I Conference on Romanesque Art that the Fundación Santa María la Real organizes, with the collaboration and at the headquarters of the Center for Human and Social Sciences of the CSIC.

The conference began yesterday with the interventions of Isidro Bango Torviso and Antonio Ledesma, who have addressed some of the most unique aspects of the cathedrals of Santiago de Compostela and Salamanca.

The inauguration of the conference was chaired by the historian Ana Rodríguez, from the Center for Human and Social Sciences of the CSIC, by the director of the Foundation's Center for Romanesque Studies, Jaime Nuño, and the coordinator of the entity's course program , Pedro Luis Huerta, who has highlighted the "uniqueness of Spanish Romanesque" within his style, which makes it "one of the richest in Europe", not only for the quantity of preserved testimonies but also for the quality of many from them.

"In this varied and extensive catalog of works - Huerta explained - some buildings stand out with their own and specific peculiarities." Emblematic works that "despite having been the subject of numerous studies", still pose unknowns that will be tried to unravel at this meeting, using updated methodologies and approaches.

Two of these buildings are the “old” cathedrals of Santiago de Compostela and Salamanca, who have been the protagonists of the first day, through the presentations of the professor of ancient and medieval art at the Autonomous University of Madrid, Isidro Bango Torviso, and the CSIC researcher Antonio Ledesma, respectively.

The cathedral that Master Mateo "saved"

In his speech, Bango Torviso wanted strip the Compostela cathedral of the "modern disguise" that was conferred on it over the years, to bring to light the wonderful Romanesque factory that it still conserves and that has led the majority of specialists to consider the Galician building as the “canonical archetype of style”; an architecture that reached, in its moment, "full maturity".

In his presentation, the professor put the accent on a very specific aspect: the failure of the original project of the Compostela temple, which caused it to almost collapse before it was even finished. For Bango Torviso, the biased study of the Romanesque style leads to an equivocal interpretation of “one of the most important architects of the time”, Maestro Mateo, whose technical knowledge “saved the building”.

“He is an architect without complexes, in front of the king and in front of the archbishop, who does not hesitate to proclaim his great magisterium for the miracle performed in the cathedral. It is not strange that the legendary fantasy, true or false, identifies it as “Santo dos Croques”, explained Bango Torviso.

Enhancement of the ‘Old Cathedral’ of Salamanca

After this first presentation, the CSIC researcher Antonio Ledesma addressed some of the most relevant “and less publicized” aspects of the ‘Old Cathedral ’of Salamanca.

To your understanding, the medieval enclosure has been overshadowed by the Renaissance and Baroque city, but it has a series of characteristics that make it a unique set, although "scarcely known in general studies devoted to Hispanic Romanesque in its evolution towards Gothic".

For this reason, Ledesma did not limit himself to exposing the essential features of the cathedral complex, but rather wanted to “highlight those factors that allow it to be approached as an entity linked to the environment and to the society that builds and interprets it”. To do this, he delved into aspects such as the 'prehistory' of the building, the human and material antecedents that made it possible, as well as issues related to the urban fabric of the environment -proximity to the canons neighborhood, episcopal palace and hostel-, the materials used or its sources of funding.

He also paid special attention to the functional and symbolic principle of the iconic ‘Torre del Gallo’ -representation selected as an image of the conference - and exhibited some of the most cutting-edge research and results carried out to date thanks to the application of advanced technologies, such as georedars, endoscopic cameras, electron microscopy or 3D modeling.

About the Santa María la Real Historical Heritage Foundation

The Santa María la Real Historical Heritage Foundation is a private, non-profit organization whose fundamental mission is to promote sustainable development initiatives, based on study, research, restoration, conservation and dissemination of natural, social and cultural heritage.

Via NdP Santa María la Real Foundation

After studying History at the University and after many previous tests, Red Historia was born, a project that emerged as a means of dissemination where you can find the most important news of archeology, history and humanities, as well as articles of interest, curiosities and much more. In short, a meeting point for everyone where they can share information and continue learning.

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