Art and Mystery on the Camino de Santiago: Toro (Zamora) and the Porch of the Majesty of its Collegiate

Juan Carlos Menendez @juancar347
· May 2019 · 6 min read · Spain · #art


The world of medieval stonemasons, fascinating and complex, as everything that has to do with religion, philosophy and the fine arts, is not reduced only to what, although constituting a mystery of the first order, are the curious when not significant marks that these were leaving in the ashlars of the temples, of the fortresses or of the civil buildings that were raising, as the favorable conditions of the Reconquista were widening their horizons, offering them new and numerous opportunities in the towns and cities of new creation.

Far from being satisfied, then, with that merely esoteric aspect of more than likely traces of identities or technical languages aimed, at least, to the sphere of influence of the guilds themselves, I would like to influence the monumental, educational and aesthetic aspect of work accomplished; in that macrocosm of integrated beauty, perfection and precision where, no doubt, they stand out, altogether or in well-defined and structured parts, places like the Collegiate Church of Santa María la Mayor, of Toro, province of Zamora and its splendid Portico of Majesty

A collegiate church and a portico, in which some authors and specialists in the field observe similar influences to the techniques and details used, previously, in relatively close places, taking as a base and pattern, the immeasurable beauty and perfection of a place like San Isidoro of Lion.

It is not casual, either, that many modern authors, who join their line of thought towards certain assertions, such as those made at the beginning of the 20th century by the controversial and enigmatic Fulcanelli, tending to see, in these superb works, represented in good measured by collegiate and cathedrals, the real universities that the Middle Ages nurtured.

In view of this, it would not be counterproductive to talk about the Camino de Santiago, Way of the Stars or the Milky Way, in university terms, and see these splendid covers and speciosa portals, authentic encyclopedias where all the knowledge was collected not only from the world known until then, but also the wisdom of those other worlds and cultures that preceded them, in search of whose lost knowledge became an authentic gathering-after an intense search and capture-in the flourishing Cluniac monasteries.

Action that, paradoxically, would repeat itself, approximately a millennium later in the Europe devastated by the Second World War, when Americans, British, French and Soviet fought a hard struggle to get all possible medieval manuscripts, referring, above all, to the field of the Alchemy.

Toro, proudly raised on a beautiful and prosperous plain, called just as the Oasis of Castile, which generously waters the transcendental and old Douro in its prolonged migration to Portugal and the Atlantic Ocean, was one of those medieval villages, whose prosperity and importance it is sufficiently demonstrated, at least if we look at the number of temples it had - some of which are currently missing, such as Santa María, which belonged to the Knights Templar, together with that of San Salvador - and we look, above all, at one of the works summits that, even to this day, show little less than intact its mediaeval medieval grandiosity and the magnificent skill and wisdom of the stonemasons who raised it: the Collegiate Church of Santa María la Mayor.

Carried out, according to estimates, in the last third of the thirteenth century and loaded with symbolism in its entirety, the essential part, however, worthy for its beauty and perfection - to the point, that already individually could be considered with all justice as Artistic Cultural Patrimony of the Humanity-, would be that superb Door of the Majesty that, like an authentic medieval text book, would conform, in detail, a peculiar well of wisdom, whose waters -comparatively speaking- would refresh the thirst for knowledge and knowledge about everything of pilgrims, to the point of collecting, with great detail, that religious and eschatological world in which the man of the Middle Ages lived immersed.

It would not be scandalous to affirm, therefore, that in such singular works, great poets like Dante Alighieri were also inspired to take to writing one of the most important works of Universal Literature: the Divine Comedy.

Like in this one, in the Door of the Majesty, also distributed in those circles or levels determined by the archivolts, that collect interesting scenes on the Last Judgment, the Purgatory, the Paradise and the Hell, the medieval artist, whose anonymity swells the unknowns of mystery, invites us to travel another symbolic journey, full of clues, which resembles the classic epics, introduces us into that transcendental and at the same time initiatory spiral, where man would not be, but, more than a simple pawn in the complex board of the Universe.

A Universe, whose language is medically mathematical, and in the mind of the artist, numbers also have their corresponding symbolic importance.

In such a way, that numbers traditionally considered as magical by their transcendence, like the seven, make up the number of columns that are distributed to the right and left of a portico that, although, as has been said, the name of the stonemason is unknown. He designed it, however, retains that of the craftsman who applied the touch of distinction and beauty, using as a magnet, the seduction inherent in the magic of polychromy: Domingo Pérez.

Now, one of the keys that define greater symbolic protagonism in this magnificent cover, is none other than the relevance revealed in a primordial figure, under which gravitate, advocationally speaking, most of the great cathedrals: Our Lady.

A figure that, independently of other considerations, was particularly venerated and encouraged by Cistercians and Templars from the 12th century, replacing, in many of the cases, another figure no less peculiar and popular: Santa María Magdalena. In fact, if the motif of the tympanum represents the Coronation of the Virgin, it appears again below, in a very Cistercian way, as a statue-column that is located in the center of the two small doors or forked doors, model widely used, not only in different places of the Camino, but also in the cathedral of cathedrals, given the relevance of the remains that supposedly houses: the cathedral of the Apostle Santiago.

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Image © juancar347. All Rights Reserved.
Original content by @juancar347

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[Martial, latin poet]

Ars vtinam more Animvm qve effingere. Posses pulchrior in ter. Ris nvlla tabella foret.
Arte Ojala pudieras representar. el carácter y el espíritu. No habría sobre la tierra. Imagen más bella

mariposas-1 (1).jpg

@Tximeleta tiene nuevos retos.
Toca la imagen y participa.
Diviértete y disfruta.



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