The Lovers of Teruel by Juan de Ávalos

The Lovers of Teruel by Juan de Ávalos
The Lovers of Teruel by Juan de Ávalos
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In 1955, the Spanish sculptor Juan de Ávalos made a double alabaster sarcophagus to evoke the young couple who starred in The Lovers of Terueland house inside the mummified bodies of these two characters halfway between legend and reality.

Those two mummies had been venerated in the city of Teruel for centuries in a somewhat unseemly way, so he proposed to make a worthy monumental burial mound. For this he created two different and separate sarcophagi. Each with the respective body of Diego de Marcilla and Isabel de Segura. Carved in alabaster. Some bodies of enormous naturalism, in addition to many details that clearly show the great mastery of this artist to shape the stone.

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The Lovers of Teruel by Juan de Ávalos

It also included numerous symbols that allude to the legend. She, for example, has bare feet, being a symbol of purity. Just as he has his hand on her chest, as she corresponds to a brave character. The two seem to turn to look at each other, but they can't. Like they hold out their hands, but they don't get to join them, as a convincing image that her love was impossible.

There are more symbols like the bronze figures that raise the sarcophagi: fierce lions for him and angels for her as a symbol of obedience and fidelity. And between these animals and the bodies is the mortuary box itself, whose wallsThey are a latticework that allows you to see the funerary remains of these two characters who supposedly lived in the 13th century and whose bodies would be buried in the neighboring church of San Pedro.

The legend of The Lovers of Teruel is a chapter of the most represented in art, literature, cinema or music. There are various examples, from the painting by Muñoz Degrain to the stories of Tirso de Molina or by Juan de Hartzenbusch at the time of the Romanticism.

And it is a story that has it all. It is about an impossible romance between two young people, whose love cannot materialize for economic reasons, since while Isabel de Segura belongs to a rich family, her beloved Diego has nothing. So to curry favor with her future father-in-law, she goes off to war against the Muslims to amass a fortune. The problem is that when he returns, already with money, his beloved has been forced to marry someone else. He still only asks for a kiss. Which she denies him so as not to be unfaithful to her husband. And he, because of the discomfort caused by her refusal, dies before her eyes. While Isabel, a day later, goes to kiss the corpse of her beloved, and then it is she who dies when she touches her lips.

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