miércoles, 31 de mayo de 2017

El bestiario románico de Alne (Yorkshire) TEREBOLEM

Veníamos recorriendo los medallones de esta interesante portada de Alne, puesta en valor por el magnífico trabajo de Druce hace casi un siglo, cuando todavía alcanzó a vislumbrar los títulos de algunos de ellos.
Pues, bien: a continuación del interesante caladrio, que acabamos de ver,  aparece este animal con todo el aspecto de ser una cabra. Como no pretendemos hacer un análisis de todas las figuras, dejaremos ésta en todo caso pendiente para otra ocasión, ya que nos vamos a concentrar en dos figuras que son verdaderamente extraordinarias dentro del bestiario románico: el terebolem y la ballena.
Si seguimos viendo las "viñetas", nos encontramos tras la cabra una serie de figuras anodinas, a las que se puede aplicar tanto significado como la imaginación nos permita y algunas tan deterioradas que no son identificables.

Lo que sí podemos deducir por el color de las dovelas y los motivos tallados, es que se ha hecho una reforma para "cristianizar" los temas esculpidos.
Tras esa serie de tallas no relacionadas con el bestiario, se esculpe un animal que tiene todo el aspecto -y así lo identifica Druce- de ser un dragón. Verdaderamente el dragón sí que es un animal mitológico con gran protagonismo en la hagiografía de los santos (santa Margarita -o Marina, que es lo mismo- descosió desde dentro las tripas de un dragón en un remedo del cuento de Caperucita, que es una delicia) pero su alcance es mayor por su relación con la serpiente y, tal como hemos comentado en otro momento, el profesor Kessler hace un análisis de su comparación con Cristo como salvador con la mirada, al igual que la serpiente de Moisés salvó a los israelitas. Todo ello, creo que iba cuando tratamos el caradrio, y si no, ya lo veremos cuando "nazca" el artículo.

Ahora sí que notamos el "ajuste" de las dovelas, que me parece demuestran una manipulación, bien por deterioro, bien por "decoro" en el peor sentido del término.
Una vez llegados aquí utilizando las magníficas fotos de María José, también hemos de tener en cuenta lo que muestra la arquivolta interior, también muy dañada, seguramente por la piedra arenisca que se utilizó y el clima de la región. A nuestro juicio pudiera haber tenido un zodiaco. Ahora ya vemos la figura que queremos tratar, inmediatamente tras el dragón: el terebolem, figura no animal del bestiario y que aparece con cierta frecuencia.

Veremos que se trata de dos figuras humanas, de medio cuerpo, desnudas, hombre y mujer, que aparecen rodeados de llamas. La escena del terebolem, o terrobolem, o de alguna de las muchas maneras como era llamado, tenía su original latín: lapides igniferi
Lo curioso de este elemento es que tenía un cierto soporte científico en lo que se refiere a las cualidades de las piedras, de las que habían hecho una sencilla transposición a la vida del cristiano, como se hacía con todo bicho que apareciera en el bestiario, incluyendo las piedras.Lo vemos.

Decíamos que en los bestiario también aparecen cualidades de las piedras preciosas o menos, como el ágata (muy útil para coger perlas en el fondo del mar) o la piedra índica, usada contra la hidropesía.
Pero la que aquí tratamos es la también llamada piedra de fuego (firestones, y no es publicidad). Se dice de ella que se encuentra en ciertas montañas de oriente y -esto es lo importante- puede ser macho o hembra. Mientras ambas piedras están separadas, nada acontece, pero cuando se juntan, literalmente "echan chispas" y producen un fuego tan fuerte que es capaz de quemarlo todo alrededor.
No hay que pensar mucho para encontrar la "lección" a los fieles cristianos. Se trata de inculcar la virtud a los monjes : "Los hombres que quieren tener una vida pura, se separan de las mujeres para evitar que el fuego del pecado prenda en sus corazones y evitar la tentación de Satán, que acecha al varón casto y a la mujer virtuosa."
St John's College (Cambridge) Library, A.15, Folio 103v, tomado de la web bestiary.ca


Ante esa advertencia que el refranero ha resumido en el dicho "entre santa y santo, pared de cal y canto", los bestiarios relatan los ejemplos positivos y negativos de esa proximidad: desde Adán y Eva, a Sansón (como ejemplos negativos), Salomón (cuatrocientas concubinas lo avalan) y a José (tentado y acusado por la mujer de Putifar) y Susana, por fin, ejemplos de castidad.
Aparecen en una miniatura del bestiario de la Arsenal Library del siglo X y en la Bibliotheque Royal de Bruselas que ya hemos utilizado para el caradrio.
No es frecuente ver las piedras en sus representaciones, sino el fuego rodeando la pareja, tal como aparecen en Alne, pero en el de Bruselas aparece el diablo tentando a la mujer con las piedras, ante el varón. Para ilustrarlo con más vigor, debajo figuran Susana rechazando a los viejos y Eva tentando a Adán.
De la Biblioteca Real de Bruselas MS 10074 f 141v 

La curiosa base "científica" del tema viene del conocimiento real que se tenía de la pirita de hierro, con un alto contenido de azufre, y que tiene la propiedad de que al frotarlo con un objeto metálico caliente, lanza chispas. Lo llamaban por su engañoso aspecto dorado, el oro de los tontos.




viernes, 19 de mayo de 2017

Romanesque Churches of Northern Spain - Part 1


Introduction

Northern Spain has an extraordinary number of beautiful Romanesque churches. Whether you are following the pilgrimage route to St James of Compostela or are simply enjoying travelling through the Spanish countryside, it would be worth taking time to visit some of these architectural jewels which I will be describing in this blog in the next few weeks.
Aguilar de Campóo in the province of Palencia is an ideal place to use as a base from which to visit churches in this province, as well as those in southern Cantabria and north-western Burgos. Aguilar is famous in Spain because it is home to the largest manufacturer of the country’s biscuits – Galletas Gullon. Thanks to this, the town has avoided the dire financial problems of the last few years. It is a charming place of 10,000 inhabitants, overlooked by a rocky outcrop on the crest of which is a medieval castle with the Romanesque church of Santa Cecilia directly below it. The arcaded houses which surround the plaza are an ideal place to pause for a drink or enjoy a meal al fresco. The river Pisuerga bisects Aguilar and there are some enjoyable walks along its banks.
Aguilar de Campóo is the headquarters of the Fundación Santa María la Real, a non-profit organisation that is dedicated to the preservation and restoration of Spain’s Romanesque artistic heritage as well as to the cataloguing of its many monuments. The foundation trains craftsmen in the art of restoration and helps young people gain a profession. It has courses throughout the year for those interested in the Romanesque period. It is publishing an encyclopaedia of Romanesque art in Spain – the Enciclopedia del Románico – of which thirty-two volumes have already appeared. An impressive pocket guide of Romanesque buildings, province by province, has also been published by the Fundación covering all the churches that appear in the encyclopaedia.

My first itinerary starts in Aguilar de Campóo with Santa Cecilia and then goes on to visit some of the more remarkable churches on the southern side of the Aguilar Dam: Santa Cecilia in Vallespinoso, Nuestra Señora de la Asunción in Perazancas de Ojeda, and the Ermita de Santa Eulalia in Barrio de Santa María. In most cases the key to church will be held by someone in the village but if any help is needed contact could be made with Cesar del Valle, email: cvalle@santamarialareal.org, mobile: +34 616 99 46 51.


SANTA CECILIA
Aguilar de Campóo, Palencia
The hermitage of Santa Cecilia has a privileged position situated below the castle on the southwest slope from where it dominates the town.




 The south and east façades of Santa Cecilia with the castle above it

 It is most likely that this was the first parish church of Aguilar de Campóo although today nothing remains of the original hamlet that was located below it. The church was built on unstable ground which led to cracks in its walls and a leaning belfry. In the 1960s underpinning and restoration work took place.
EXTERIOR
The rectangular church has a nave and two aisles and a projecting south entrance. The south wall has two buttresses and two undecorated loophole windows. The rectangular apse was rebuilt in the 16th and 17th century. The square belfry is three storeys high and diminishes in width. The lower part has two loophole windows on the south wall. The middle storey has a splayed window on each side except for the north. The top storey has twin double-arched windows on each side. The roof is supported by a corbel table with zoomorphic corbels. The oldest parts of the building, the belfry and central presbytery, date from the end of the 12th century. The nave belongs to the 13th century.
The apse window has a capital with a knight on foot holding a shield; he has speared an animal. The shield has the coat of arms of the Lara family, important benefactors of several Palencia monasteries. The capital may denote the intervention of the Lara family in the extension of this church – both Fernando Núñez de Lara and his brother Alvaro were lieutenants of Alfonso VIII in Aguilar towards the end of the 12th century.
García Guinea has pointed out the similarities of the capitals with Santa Eufemia de Cozuelos (Palencia) and the doorway of Vallespinoso de Aguilar (Palencia). Hernando Garrido has noted the similarities of the floral capitals with certain examples from the cloisters of Santa María la Real in Aguilar de Campóo and of San Andrés de Arroyo (Palencia). A Romanesque Christ and a Virgin and Child (Virgen de Grijera), both in polychrome wood, are now in the museum of the church of San Miguel in Aguilar.
INTERIOR
The church has a nave that is wider than the two aisles which are separated by an arcade of three double-pointed arches resting on a central pier and engaged columns on either side. The north aisle ends in a rectangular apse that is narrower than the aisle. The south aisle does not have an apse since the space serves as the base of the square belfry. The present ceiling is a product of the restoration but the original was most likely a wooden one with tie-beams similar to those in Elines and Santillana in Cantabria.
The present square central apse replaced the original Romanesque round apse; however, it retains the original double chancel arch. The exterior arch rests on jambs while the interior arch rests on abaci, capitals and engaged segmented columns. The apse is covered by diagonal rib-vaulting filled in with tufa and has a central boss.
The central and north presbyteries are barrel-vaulted. On the south wall there are two tri-lobed credences.
CAPITALS
The capitals of the arches in the nave have been expertly carved. They alternate between fleshy lanceolate or lobulated leaves with pines in the corners, interlaced beaded leaves and some figurative capitals. The bases are varied.
Triumphal Arch, North Capital: It is carved with two rows of large palm leaves.
Triumphal Arch, South Capital: This capital lacks the finesse of the others. On the front of the capital (photo 2) there is a knight on the left, fully protected by a coat of mail and holding a sword and a kite-shaped shield. He is being attacked by a large bear, springing forwards. The bear is being baited by a dog behind it. On the right side of the capital there is a group of three men wearing chain mail and holding shields; they stand over the dog. On the left side, there is a bier with the body of the knight on it and a man above it, holding a baton of command.


Triumphal arch, south capital – a knight being attacked by a bear.
The scene probably represents a factual episode referring to the death of the Asturian king, Fáfila (r. 737-39), who was killed by a bear while hunting. He was the son of Pelayo and his sister Ermenesinda was married to Alfonso, Duke of Cantabria. At Fáfila’s death, the Asturians chose Alfonso as their king thus uniting the two provinces. This was important for Aguilar since Alfonso then launched the Reconquest from this town. Hence, it is not surprising to find the fateful death of Fáfila depicted on a capital of this church.
Chancel Arch, North Capital: It has a very finely carved Massacre of the Innocents, probably executed by the same sculptor who worked in Santa María la Real. The soldiers wear full-body chain-mail with a single aperture for their eyes. They are savagely killing the infants whose distraught mothers stand behind them. The abacus has undulating stems and leaves with tips that curl over and are deeply undercut.


 Chancel arch, north capital – Massacre of the Innocents.
Chancel Arch, South capital: It has two rows of deeply undercut acanthus. The leaves of the first row project and in the second row there are bunches of fruits or seeds between the leaves. The abacus is intricately carved with flying harpies being chased by a dragon which has bitten the tail of one of the harpies .


Chancel arch, south capital - harpies being chased by a dragon.
South Arcade Capital: The first capital of the south arcade was obviously carved by the same mason who carved the capital of King Fáfila on the triumphal arch south capital. The chain-mail on both of these capitals is shown with rows of zigzag whereas the mason who carved the Massacre of the Innocents on the chancel arch north capital depicted the chain-mail with parallel rows of dots. Occupying the right corner is, most probably, Abraham holding a knife in his right hand and Isaac with his left. An angel hovers over Isaac.


South arcade capital – the sacrifice of Isaac.
On the front of the capital two knights are engaged in a hand-to-hand combat. One has injured the head of the other with his sword. On the left side of the capital there are five men with a donkey below them. It has been suggested that this represents Joseph being sold. The abacus has concave and roll moulding.
North apse capitals: The left capital has two green men forming the volutes. Shallow beaded tendrils and leaves, symbols of regeneration and eternity, issue from their mouths. The same representation is also to be found in the north apse of San Martín de Frómista (Palencia). The right capital has elongated leaves.
Virgen de Grijera
This Virgin of Santa Cecilia is now in the Museum of the church of San Miguel in the town centre. It was discovered in 1907 by the priest, Don Juan Sanz, in his parish of Grijera. It had been converted into an image to allow for a dress and cape to be placed over the Virgin. To accomplish this she had new arms attached over her original ones so that they could be placed over the dress. In addition, the Child Jesus’ head had been cut off so that it did not project from under her cape. The Count of Grijera collected money for a restoration which was executed by Santiago Toledo who, at this time, was in charge of restoring the church of San Miguel and had already worked in San Martín de Frómista and in San Juan de Baños.
The Virgin sits on a bench with a narrow back. She holds Jesus in her lap following the type of Sedes Sapientiae used widely during the Romanesque period. In her right hand she holds a fruit, allusion to her role as the New Eve, while protecting the Child with her left. She has a white veil held in place by a narrow diadem. She wears a yellow-ochre tunic, a light-blue cape fastened around her neck, and pointed shoes. Jesus blesses with his right hand and holds a small panel with writing added by the restorer. The figures are hieratic – there is no communication between them. The edge of the pleats form meanders and the elongated face of the Virgin, which was copied by the restorer when he had to carve the face of the Child, show this is a work of the first part of 12th century.
Bibliography
Enciclopedia del Románico en Palencia, Fundación Santa María La Real, 2002, Volumen 1, pp. 174-181.
Hernando Garrido J L, and Nuño Gonzalez J, La iglesia tardorománica de Santa Cecila en Aguilar de Campóo. Codex Aquilarensis 7, Santa Maria la Real, Aguilar de Campoo, 1992, pp. 7-95.
Románico Guías: Todo el Románico de Palencia, Fundación Santa María La Real, 2006, pp. 29-30.
SANTA CECILIA
Vallespinoso de Aguilar, Palencia
The village of Vallespinoso de Aguilar (‘Valley of Thorns’ because of the multitude of spiky thistles in this area) lies due west of Aguilar de Campóo. Take the PP2131 west out of Aguilar de Campóo and the village is reached after 9.3 kilometres. The church of Santa Cecilia is at the northwest edge of the village. It is strategically located on top of a rock outcrop which falls vertically on the south side and on the north side it joins the agricultural land. Santa Cecilia has the only stone relief in Spain that depicts the consecration of a church.


South façade with the entrance and belfry staircase tower.
EXTERIOR
Santa Cecilia was declared an historic artistic monument in May 1951 and it was restored in 1958. Art historians consider it to be one of the jewels of Castilian Romanesque. Stylistically it can be dated to between 1170 and the end of the 1180s. It is built of ashlars of diminishing size as they reach the roof. It is a single nave church with a south projecting entrance and a round apse. Both church and apse have the same height. It is a small building – 19 metres long by 9 metres wide. The belfry is situated in the middle of the church where the nave and presbytery join; it is accessed by a spiral staircase which is on the south wall. The staircase is within a semi-detached tower between the entrance and the apse. It appears to have also acted as a lookout tower since the entrance to it is from the nave. The lower part of the tower rests on the rocks. It has a vaulted passage so that one can circulate around the church.
ENTRANCE
The projecting entrance rests on a small platform reached by steps. It has a slightly pointed arched doorway with a narrow band of leaves behind the voussoirs. It surrounded by six archivolts and a dripstone and has a narrow roof resting on undecorated corbels. The archivolts have roll moulding except the third which is carved with acanthus leaves, the ends of which are turned over. The dripstone has a band of meticulously carved undulating stems with palm leaves. The capitals on both sides of the entrance form a continuous frieze which ends with a relief on the entrance wall that extends all the way to its edge.
Left capitals and reliefs, from outer to inner
1. The relief has a standing knight wearing a long coat of mail. He confronts an elongated winged dragon with a curled tail which is biting his shield. The knight strikes the head of the dragon with his sword. At the end of the relief there is a row of straight acanthus leaves with their tips ending in a whirl.


Left-hand side relief of a knight confronting a winged dragon.
2-3. A pair of confronted centaurs, symbols of rampant lust, against a floral background. Similar capitals are to be found in San Julián y Santa Basilisa in Rebolledo de la Torre (Burgos) and in Santa María in Becerril del Carpio (Palencia).
4. A floriated capital, exquisitely carved but much damaged.
5. Two confronted basilisks; much damaged.
6. A miser with a money bag hanging from a cord around his neck while a devil with flaming hair holds on to a rope which is also around the miser’s neck.
7. A corpse lying on a bed; standing beside it are two angels. One of them holds a book in his right hand and points to the body with the other. Another angel holds a horse – St Michael arrived on a horse in Ethiopia.
8: Doorjamb relief – the judgement of the soul. Acting as witnesses are St Michael on the left and a monstrous figure on the right. A devil holds on to the scales.
Right capitals and reliefs, from inner to outer 
1. Doorjamb relief. The three Marys stand under an arcade, now lost, by the empty tomb, their hands covered by their veils. A headless angel announces the Resurrection. There is a similar relief in San Martín in Villanueva de la Peña (Palencia). On the side there is a couple; the man points to the angel by the tomb and the woman has her hands crossed over her chest. They could represent St Cecilia and her husband Valerian. She announced on her wedding night that she had offered her virginity to God. Valerian and his brother Tiburcius converted to Christianity and, like her, were later martyred. She is the patron saint of musicians because her heart sang to God.
2. Two figures placed on either side of a central stylised leaf. Both hold a book, symbol of the written word of God.
3. Standing leaves.
4. A pair of confronted harpies against a floral background with their tails curled.
5. Palm leaves.
6. Two bearded men with their hands held high and with palms turned outwards in a gesture of respect. The one on the right is holding two keys.
7. Palm leaves.
8. A much damaged relief with nine figures. Seven of them wear tunics and elaborately pleated gowns. They are participating in a procession to consecrate this church. The first five men are holding, respectively: (1) a torch, (2) a hyssop with chrism to consecrate the church, (3) an urn with the relics brought to the church, (4) a seal to stamp the document acknowledging the hand-over of the church to the proper authority, and (5) a foundation parchment. The remaining four are: (6) the small figure of an acolyte pouring the contents of a jug, (7) a priest blessing the bread of the Eucharist laid out on the altar, (8) a figure wearing a hooded cape indicating she is a woman, and (9) a seated and richly attired figure indicating he is the benefactor.

Right-hand side relief of nine figures, perhaps a procession to consecrate the church.

It has been suggested in the blog Salud y Románico that this scene represents the ritual of consecration known as procodendis reliquiis. It was described for the first time in the papal Liber diurnus, in the sixth century. Later, in the eighth century, the Ordo Romano mentions that the ritual followed the example of St Ambrose when he placed the relics of the saints Gervasio and Protasio on the altar of the basilica of Milan in 386 because, as martyrs of religious persecution, he maintained that they were worthy of being interred under the altar.
The consecration of the church was one of the most important liturgical ceremonies codified in papal text. It started with a procession which came to a halt at the church door to allow the benefactor to hand over the keys to the newly appointed priest of the church. The priest is depicted on the fifth capital of the right-hand side. Meanwhile the participants sang Psalm 23. A barefoot clergyman opens the door, lights up the church, and urges the congregation to remain clean, i.e. without sin, because God desires that they should avoid darkness and be bathed in divine Light. The congregation then chants Tobias 13:10-17. There follows the blessing of the water with which the church will be sanctified using a hyssop. Finally, an acolyte carries the paten and relics to give them to the celebrating priest at the altar.
APSE
The apse is divided into three vertical sections by two engaged columns and capitals that reach up to the corbel table; they rest on plinths. Each section has a loophole window, deeply splayed outwards, and framed by an archivolt and dripstone. The windows rest on a string course which divides the apse horizontally in two. The lateral windows have no columns, they have an archivolt decorated with floral interlace which in the south window emerges from the mouth of a winged serpent (symbol of eternity) and a basilisk.
The central window has an archivolt carved with deeply cut leaves ending in intricate whirls, surrounded by a roll and cavetto dripstone. The abaci have fleshy floral decoration. The left capital has griffons caught in a web of floral decoration. A similar one appears inside the church. The right capital has a pair of bearded harpies wearing Phrygian caps, an indication of their magical powers and their eastern provenance.
The apse and presbytery roof rest on a cornice carved with superimposed rhomboid shapes and supported by a corbel table. The corbels depict an eagle clutching a snake in its talons, a musician seated cross-legged, a priapic male, and floral designs.
INTERIOR
The nave has barrel-vaulting and three projecting transverse arches. The first two rest on the imposts while the third, nearest the apse, rests on capitals and columns. The presbytery and apse are much higher than the nave due to the contour of the rocky terrain on which the church is built. The presbytery is reached by a set of six steps and the apse by a further three steps.
TRIUMPHAL ARCH
The pointed triumphal double-arch rests on plinths. The outer arch is carved with chevrons and a solar symbol. It rests on impost and jambs. The inner arch has plane voussoirs and rests on imposts, capitals and engaged columns with attic bases and a shallow plinth with claws and tongues in the corners.
The north capital has a scene of Samson prizing open the jaws of the lion of Timnah. Samson is on the front of the capital, his long hair gathered by ribbons and his cape willowing out behind him. He is mounted on the lion and both his hands are in the lion’s mouth. His left leg is extended between the forelegs of the lion and with his right leg he is pushing backwards denoting the effort he is making to prize open the lion’s mouth. The lion has a thick curly mane and its paws rest on the rim of the capital.





      
Triumphal arch, north capital. Left side – a knight spearing a winged dragon. Front – Samson spearing a winged dragon.
Right side – seated man holding the lion’s tail.
On the left side is a knight who is spearing a winged dragon which has bitten his shield. The symbolism is clear – with God’s help, it is possible to overcome the forces of evil. On the right side there is a seated man holding the lion’s tail; he could be a divine messenger facilitating Samson’s task. At the top of the capital there are crenellations representing the Heavenly Jerusalem. The corners of the capital do not have volutes; instead there are two flattened palmettes hanging from an architectural frieze. The same scenes are to be found in San Julián y Santa Basilisa in Rebolledo de la Torre (Burgos), Santa María La Real in Henestrosa de las Quintanillas (Cantabria), and several other churches. The abacus has acanthus leaves.
The south capital has two confronted griffons (the body and hindquarters of a horse and the wings and head of an eagle) on the front and one on each side of the capital. All four griffons are caught in a web of beaded ribbons. They symbolise constant vigil over the sacred space. Similar scenes can be seen in Santa Eugenia in Dehesa de los Romanos (Palencia) and Santa Marina in Villanueva de la Torre (Palencia). The abacus has acanthus leaves.
PRESBYTERY
The presbytery has pointed barrel-vaulting. On each side, there are two blind tri-lobed arches resting on a central double-capital supported by two columns and on capitals on single columns at each side.
North Arcade: On the double central capital there are three figures standing under a tri-lobed niche. The central figure is a man with a bag hanging from his neck. There is also a chain around his neck held by two devils on either side, both of whom are much deteriorated. They may represent devils enslaving the soul of this condemned person. On each side of the capital is a bird of prey.
The left capital has a seated man on either side with three lions, one at the corner of the capital (now disappeared) and one at each side. The men are putting their hands into the lions’ mouths, a gesture signifying that they are taking an oath. The same scene is found on the left side, central capital of the entrance of El Salvador in Pozancos (Palencia) and in San Zoilo in Carrión de los Condes (Palencia).
The right capital has a rider wearing a long tunic and holding the bridle of his horse – both rider and horse are headless.
South Arcade: The double central capital is meticulously carved with a pair of acanthus leaves emerging from a single stem and forming a spiral with an eight-pointed rosette at its centre. The leaves are fleshy and deeply undercut. Similar capitals are to be found in Aguilar (now in the Museo Arqueológico Nacional in Madrid), in the internal arcade in Santa María in Piasca (Cantabria), San Juan Bautista in Villanueva del Río Pisuerga (Palencia), and in San Lorenzo in Zorita del Paramo (Palencia).

South arcade, double central capital – pair of acanthus leaves.

The left capital has two rows of pointed palmettes. The right capital has a pair of rampant confronted griffons, similar to those of El Salvador in Pozancos (Palencia).
APSE
It has three splayed loophole windows. The central window is framed by a roll and cavetto archivolt and a dripstone decorated with two rows of semibezantes (three-quarter height beads). The left capital has two rows of lobulated leaves arranged in opposite directions; the upper row is upside down. The abacus has vine leaves with peacocks pecking at its grapes. Peacocks symbolise eternity and resurrection while grapes symbolise the Eucharist.
The right capital has a basilisk with its head turned defensively because it is being attacked by a lion from behind. The basilisk’s tail ends in a serpent’s head which is devouring the leafy stem that surrounds both animals. A basilisk brought instant death to all whom it fixed its gaze. In medieval art it is the symbol of Satan and is not often portrayed in Palencia. The same capital can be seen in the hermitage of Santa Eulalia in Barrio de Santa Maria (Palencia) and a single basilisk is depicted amongst foliage in the dripstone at the entrance of Nuestra Señora de la Asunción in Perazancas de Ojeda (Palencia).
A plain round moulding impost runs below the windows. Above them, at a height where the wall and vaulting starts, there is another impost carved with leaves.
The entrance to the belfry is from the south wall. A small bell-cote is at the height of the chancel arch.
Bibliography
Enciclopedia del Románico en Palencia, Fundación Santa María La Real, 2002, Volumen , pp.
Románico Guías: Todo el Románico de Palencia, Fundación Santa María La Real, 2006, pp.


domingo, 14 de mayo de 2017

El bestiario románico de Alne (Yorkshire) CALADRIO

Según los bestiarios medievales, el caradrio era un pájaro con unas cualidades tan maravillosas que se le equiparó a Cristo.
Aparece en el quinto medallón de la arquivolta exterior de la iglesia de Alne (siglo XII)

La figura del caradrio en el bestiario de Alne es, sin duda, la más estudiada del conjunto. El texto de Druce que hemos mencionado está dedicado por completo a ella. Por otro  lado, una amplia investigación que hemos realizado estos años, nos permite disponer de una gran cantidad de información. Realmente fue el caradrio el motivo real del viaje de nuestros amigos hasta tan lejos, ya que pensamos que hemos localizado en España –muy cerca de Aguilar- otro caso práctico de su existencia, además aplicado a un sermón admonitorio muy oportuno, pero tras haberlo convertido en un largo artículo, duerme ahora en un cajón, quizás porque ha tenido la mala suerte de no tener antecedente en España ni en Europa, salvo el de Alne como afirmaba Druce en su estudio sobre el ejemplar inglés, extrañándose de que siendo un animal tan representativo,  no hubiera tenido más difusión. Ahora que aportamos un nuevo modelo bien cerca, no prospera precisamente por su carácter único.
En el detalle de Alne podemos ver al enfermo en la cama con la cabeza sobre una banqueta a modo de almohada mientras el caradrio acerca su pico a la boca del enfermo para absorber su enfermedad. El enfermo, en consecuencia, sanará.
Por tanto, vamos a centrarnos exclusivamente en Alne, que tiene mucho que  contar. Analizemos la imagen: aparece un hombre tumbado sobre un lecho, con la cabeza que conserva unos picos que fácilmente pueden ser restos de una corona, ya que los dibujos posteriores y las leyendas, atribuyen al pájaro una utilidad en palacios y casas nobles. Esa cabeza la apoya en una especie de banqueta, quizás por diferenciarlo de una cama, ya que se entiende que estamos ante un moribundo. Nuestro buen amigo y tutor J.R.Ugarte ha coloreado la imagen para identificarlo mejor.

Sobre el cuerpo y a los pies del enfermo aparece una gran ave que acerca su pico a la boca del enfermo, escena ajustada a la leyenda del caradrio, que pasamos a relatar. Se conserva parte de la inscripción: CHARADRIUS. Druce lo visitó hace un siglo y pudo verlo mejor conservado.
¿y cuál era la especialidad de este mitológico ave? Pese a su consonancia con la calandria, no tiene nada que ver. Desde la más remota antigüedad, se conocían las virtudes de este ave misteriosa, de tamaño de un cuervo pero de color blanco inmaculado (ya se van dosificando las alusiones cristológicas), que tenía la habilidad de pronosticar (no diagnosticar) el destino del enfermo. Cuando una persona se ponía muy enferma, el caradrio entraba por la ventana y se posaba sobre el lecho del moribundo. El ave lo miraba intensamente. Si acercaba su pico a la boca del enfermo, absorbía la enfermedad y a continuación salía de la habitación por la ventana, volaba hacia el sol y esparcía en el aire los malos efluvios de la enfermedad, por lo que el enfermo sanaba. No hace falta ser muy astuto para concluir que estamos ante el sacramento de la confesión en riesgo de muerte.
Por el contrario, si el ave decide tras su intensa mirada, que el enfermo no se salvará, vuelve la cabeza, deja de mirar al enfermo y se marcha.
Detalle de la escena en donde se aprecia las marcas de la corona del enfermo
En su completísima información, Druce explica cómo Plinio el Viejo lo menciona y relata la leyenda de que lo criaban en el palacio del rey Jerjes. A pesar de que su origen no era muy noble –el Deuteronomio prohíbe su consumo- se les capturaba en los pantanos y se les llevaba a palacios y cortes, donde eran mimados, comiendo en la mesa real. Como su poder radicaba en la mirada, que analizaba las alternativas vitales, puede entenderse su habilidad relacionada con el mal de ojo. De tal forma, que se cuenta que en los mercados en los que se vendía, se les conservaba en las jaulas tapados con telas, para que no “desperdiciaran” el poder de su mirada con los compradores y paseantes. Plinio lo llamaba “icterus”, porque curaba la ictericia, de la que se dice es producida por la envidia, que es precisamente el desencadenante del mal de ojo. Tanto esa referencia a la envidia, como algunos textos y dibujos que le relacionan con el pueblo judío, supuso que se utilizara en la Edad Media para descalificar al pueblo elegido.

En el bestiario de la Biblioteca Real de Bruselas, aparecen estas dos imágenes.En la primera es capturado y llevado al palacio, a la derecha se le muestra al enfermo, volviendo el ave la cabeza, por lo que no se salvará, con la muestra de dolor del pariente a la cabecera.


En esta segunda imagen consecutiva, por el contrario, el enfermo sanará, no sólo porque el ave sale volando hacia el sol, sino porque todos miran hacia Cristo a la derecha, al que saludan y alaban los acompañantes. 
En el ángulo derecho inferior, Moisés, como patriarca judío explica a su pueblo que si no son capaces de reconocer a Cristo como Dios, tienen más opciones de salvarse los paganos que ellos.



 En dos trabajos muy elaborados del profesor Herbert Kessler, codirector de los Coloquios Ars Medievalis de Aguilar, se alude al caradio. En uno de ellos, se presenta a Cristo como “dragón mágico”, idea sorprendente para la lectura habitual que damos a la iconografía del dragón, pero que el profesor lo explica claramente utilizando un grabado muy conocido de la Biblioteca Real de Bruselas, que mostramos arriba. Cristo actuaría dirigiendo su mirada a los paganos indicando la posibilidad de su salvación si se convierten, mientras vuelve la vista del pueblo judío, al que descarta por su falta de fe.
Otra de las leyendas en torno al caradrio era que con sus heces curaba la vista y la ictericia, quizás aludiendo al episodio de la historia de Tobías, ejemplo de judío benefactor. 

En los bestiarios de Malaxecheverría encontramos este texto clarificador de su acción:
Podemos comparar este «calandrí» al sabio confesor, que ‑cumpliendo el ritual- observa por ciertos signos si el pecador ha de salvarse o no. Pues cuando lo ve confesarse bien y ordenadamente, con gran contrición de corazón y con propósito decidido de alejarse de todos los pecados, de pagar todas sus culpas, de pedir perdón humildemente a Dios y al confesor por haber pecado contra su alma; cuando el confesor lo encuentra en tal disposición, ve de inmediato signos seguros de que este hombre ha de salvarse; y si no lo encuentra dispuesto como se ha dicho, conoce en seguida que este hombre no puede escapar a las penas del infierno, de las que líbrenos el Señor, que está lleno de misericordia.
 Bestiaris 1, 78‑79 (MS A)1

En un bestiario de la Biblioteca Nacional de Francia, aparecen las dos variaciones del pronóstico:


El profesor Druce investigó en libros y templos, descubriendo que así como proliferaba en abundancia su imagen y aplicación en los libros miniados medievales a partir del siglo XII, no lo era así en la escultura, y tan sólo en una vidriera de la catedral de Lyon aparece el ave y su leyenda (lo mostramos arriba). Sin embargo, como decimos, tiene presencia habitual en libros y devocionarios. De tal modo su simbología era adaptada, que se utilizó su acción como figura de amor no correspondido en los libros amorosos de siglos posteriores.
Louis Reau afirma su presencia en una bella portada de la iglesia francesa de Aulnay, pero no hay en ella ninguna figura que contenga la especificación del caradrio: un hombre yacente y un pájaro posado a los pies de la cama o sobre ella, motivo que no falta en ninguna imagen del caradrio.
En esta imagen del bestiario Harley de la British Library podemos ver cómo era utilizado por reyes para su pronóstico. El pis que aparece en el orinal sobre la repisa había sido analizado por el médico.


Las imágenes de bestiarios medievales han sido tomadas de una maravillosa web: bestiary.ca  que dispone de un catálogo y unos textos espléndidos.

miércoles, 3 de mayo de 2017

El bestiario románico de Alne (Yorkshire) HIENA.

En la descripción de la figura de Alne con el rótulo HIENA destaca su cola terminada en forma de planta y lleva en la boca algo en forma de flor de lis, cosa que no coincide con los textos.

En la portada de Alne vemos a la derecha del águila que hemos estudiado, la figura de la hiena, identificada por su cartela
Detalle de la figura de la hiena con su letrero identificador


Sin embargo en la figura de la Biblioteca Arsenal de París, la fiera de aspecto amenazante aparece sobre un cadáver humano. La hiena habita las tumbas y devora cadáveres. También se cuenta que la hiena tiene en su ojo una piedra que si se coloca bajo la lengua, confiere el don de la profecía; también ,según Solino, puede imitar la voz humana, atrayendo así a los pastores por la noche para devorarlos llamándolos por sus nombres. 



Romilly Allen dice en su estudio que la hiena es masculina y femenina a la vez, es decir, hermafrodita, y por tanto, una bestia inmunda. Plinio, Tertuliano y otros autores lo ratifican, basados en los animales impuros señalados por Moisés en el Deuteronomio. Ese cambio de sexo o quizás la propia indefinición, le hace blanco de las iras descriptivas, asemejándolo al pueblo judío. Y con comentarios machistas: “en este sentido se asemeja al codicioso y las personas lujuriosas, que deben poseer la firmeza y la fuerza de propósito de un hombre en vez de la vacilación débil de una mujer o como los judíos, que en el principio adoraban a Dios en un espíritu varonil, pero después se entregaron al lujo afeminado y a la adoración de los ídolos”. En los bestiarios el texto de Jeremias (XII,9) “la herencia de la hiena es como un pájaro moteado “Spelunca hyaenae Hereditas MEA FACTA est”. El profeta compara la sinagoga a un animal sucio, diciendo: Mi heredad se ha convertido para mi en la guarida de la hiena”.
El estudio de Malaxecheverría destaca que la hiena no puede girar el cuerpo para volverse, pues tiene la espina dorsal rígida y de una sola pieza. Y sigue: ya que no son ni machos ni hembras, no son tampoco ni fieles ni paganos; son evidentemente, el pueblo de quien dijo Salomón: “Un hombre de espíritu doble es inconstante en todas sus acciones.” “No puedes servir a Dios y a Mammón”, dijo el Señor.
Si una hiena camina tres veces en torno a cualquier animal, éste ya no puede moverse. “En cierta región de Etiopía, copula con una leona, y de la unión nace un monstruo conocido como “Crotota” . Este es capaz de repetir las voces humanas con exactitud. No tiene encías en la boca, sino un hueso que se cierra como una caja. Plinio el Viejo señala por el contrario un nombre diferente : el cruce de hiena (suponemos que durante su faceta “macho” como la imagen que mostramos) con una leona, engendra la leucrota, que conserva y aumenta la “sonrisa” de oreja a oreja de su papá. En una fábula de Esopo, una hiena en fase hembra quiso aparearse con un zorro, quien la rechazó ante la duda de su sexualidad.
De la web bestiary.ca. Imagen de la Bodleian Library, MS. Ashmole 1511, Folio 17v

 En algunos textos orientales, se dice que la hiena es un animal estúpido, que se le puede engañar y matar hablándole. Cada año adquiere la condición masculina o femenina. Es enemiga del perro, y si su sombra cae sobre él, la hiena lo alcanza y lo devora.
Según  relata Evans en la obra ya citada, Sir.Walter Raleigh en su “Historia del Mundo” (Londres 1614) Dios excluye a los híbridos del arca de Noé,  y entre ellos está la hiena. Solo entraron los animales puros, por lo que la hiena sería un cruce de perro y gato. Los ojos de la hiena pueden convertirse en joyas a su muerte y como ya hemos mencionado, tiene en cada ojo una piedra que colocada bajo la lengua son capaces de que el hombre adivine el futuro. En los países orientales, la hiena es vista como encarnación de brujas y su actividad nocturna le hace aparecer con poderes satánicos, para lo que se usa su hígado y el corazón. En resumen, es ejemplo de hipocresía y engaño, por lo que la tentación de asimilarlo al pueblo judío estaba latente en tiempos medievales, atribuyéndole siempre un carácter negativo.