The Bécquer brothers and the Monastery of Santa María de Veruela

Juan Carlos Menendez @juancar347
· March 2019 · 6 min read · Spain · #photograpy

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The visit to a place like this monastery of Veruela, does not leave indifferent. Nestled in the shadow of Moncayo - in fact, it is located on the outskirts of a village called Vera de Moncayo - one can think of it, as the residue of a Christian outpost in a purely Comanche territory, if by this term we mean the superb cultural wealth inherited from pre-Christian times, which is still very much alive in the surrounding area, as can be seen by visiting nearby villages such as Trasmoz, whose castle was built by the devil, as the tradition of the Roman aqueduct in Segovia also states, also contains a good number of legends related to witches, witches'; covens and a whole motley army of fantastic beings, where the feverish imagination of Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer - whose poetry, the great art critic Eugenio d'Ors said was like an accordion played by an angel' - would be nourished to write the greatest of a work that would have been colossal, if death had not claimed it when he was still too young and his career, possibly promising, let's say that he was beginning to take off.
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But Veruela is also a great historical enigma, and among its numerous mysteries, it is not ruled out that there were Occitan stonemasons -and possibly of an eminently Cathar spiritual nature- who participated in its execution; neither Knights Templars who decided to end their days of combat there for the greater glory of God, nor Occitan Knights who took refuge in the Crown of Aragon, as evidenced by the presence of the Occitan Cross, known as the Cross of Twelve Points or Diamonds, who, like these, and motivated by the adverse circumstances that occurred in the 12th century in the Pays d'Oc, also decided to rest in such a fantastic place.
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In fact, this would not be the only case, since such evidences are also located in some places of the Maestrazgo of Teruel, where the Templars had a notable presence and influence, and where it is not difficult to find signs of each other, in towns like Valderrobres, places located in one of the many escape routes used by the Cathars and also by the Templars, centuries later, to escape from the holocaust and take refuge from the wrath of the Church and the bonfires of their Holy Inquisition.
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Perhaps for this reason, a trip to Moncayo and the monastery of Santa María de Veruela is also, unequivocally, a journey back in time; an invitation to nostalgia, or a boarding passage in the white nave of dreams, where one can let oneself be carried away by the dream, seduced by the spirit by the chiaroscuro of its impressive cloister and the magnificence of a church that, like that of other no less relevant monasteries -such as Melón and Carboeiro, in the communities of Orense and Pontevedra, respectively- still conserves that imitation of the Hierosolimitano Sepulchrum Domini, in its magnificent circularly-shaped ambulatory, still preserves that imitation of the Hierosolimitano Sepulchrum Domini, in its magnificent circular-shaped ambulatory.
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There, in the approximate center of this ambulatory and rising on a column behind the altar, a small virginal image reminds us -as Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer and his brother Valerian must have been reminded- the fascinating symbolic and legendary world hidden behind his supposed apparition: the Virgin of Moncayo.
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A Virgin, that although by her form and size reminds us of that Sovereign of the Hispanidad, the one that takes for name precisely the Pilar, archetype on which it appeared to a head under apostle Santiago, that according to the Golden Legend, barely managed to influence life with his message in the contemporary Hispania of the Crucifixion, had its original sanctuary near the summits of the sacred mountain, a Mon-Caius', on whose top and probably following Vitruvian's precise instructions - do you remember the famous universal man' of Leonardo Da Vinci?- it was said that there was a temple dedicated to the Patriarch of the Roman Olympus par excellence: Jupiter.
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But the lover of Art will also be seen, as Valeriano Bécquer saw himself, and this is what he stated in his fabulous drawings while attending the apparent recovery of his brother Gustavo Adolfo, seduced by that architecture that sinks its roots in a Byzantine style, which today is offered to us melancholically distant, anchored in a temporal space -that of memory- from whose metaphorical labyrinth emerged the vines of other vineyards, comparatively speaking, as the Gothic, many of whose main exponents, the great cathedrals, still astonish the world for their eloquent beauty and perfection.
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Its cloister, its chapter house, its legendary sepulchres, the hidden message of its capitals or that sacred forest that make up the vaults of its church, are the scenes of the primordial Odyssey, where the Ulysses that we all carry inside, the one that is moved by beauty and perfection, reaches a sublime contemplative ecstasy, letting oneself be carried away by the dream of a geometry that, besides being sacred, was made to catch, to move, to think that in reality the true Ithaca, that of which we are all shipwrecked, is found far beyond the simple oceans of the flesh, an evanescent island in the splendorous oceans of the spirit.
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It is difficult not to think about this and remember how Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer must have felt when he occupied a cell in this same place, from which perhaps he could not overcome the serious illness that consumed him, but inside which he possessed the benign grace of the Pentecost of inspiration and where he wrote the most granate of his prose and poetry, whether or not, as was said at the beginning of this article, coincide with that accordion played by an angel, as they sounded to the brilliant critic Eugenio d'Ors.
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It is difficult, after all, to walk enthralled by this arcane wonder and not think of the Bécquer brothers, in the sound of their steps through the cloister, in their faces of consternation trying to apprehend, during their stay, the essence of a fantastic world; a world where measure, balance, proportion and beauty still preserve the melancholic grace of men who, with the scarce means at their disposal, dreamed of finding God beyond the same mathematics where today's agnostics scientists seek him: in the heart.
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WARNING: Both the text and the accompanying photographs are my exclusive intellectual property.

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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

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Diviértete y disfruta.


Topics: PHOTOGRAPYARTLIFE

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