The Collegiate Church of the monumental Spanish city of Daroca was to become for much of the 15th century one of the great epicenters of Gothic sculpture in the Kingdom of Aragon, precisely in the decades prior to the conquest of the Nasrid kingdom of Granada during the reign of the Catholic Monarchs.
Chapel of the Corporals of Daroca
And the importance of this Darocan temple is mainly due to the construction of this spectacular chapel, which is actually made up of “two altarpieces” and two different spaces.
On the one hand, we must talk about the chapel itself, and there is also the dressing room, a smaller chapel located behind the altar, where the altarpiece dedicated to hosting the venerated Corporals is located.
The whole set is lavishly decorated and as soon as you look at it, the characteristics of Flaming Gothic immediately come to mind, the most ornamental and ornate Gothic current. However, a very important influence can also be seen, and it is that of the sculpture of the Duchy of Burgundy, and more specifically that linked to the great Klaus of Werbe, author of works such as the Tomb of Juan Fearless or the sculptures of Saint-Seine.
Of the two altarpieces, the one more properly dedicated to the Corporals is located on the walls of the dressing room at a later time, since it would be made during thesecond half of the fifteenth century. And at its conclusion, and already in the times of the Catholic Monarchs, the works were carried out in the previous space. For that reason, the whole complex was for many years a first class artistic center.
As for the Corporal reliefs, they are dedicated to narrating the history of those relics. It is related how some knights of the Kingdom of Aragon were in the East making their conquests in the Holy Land, and before a combat, they kept their consecrated hosts so that they would not break. But after the battle they were taken out again to receive communion and then they were found bloodied.
They took that for a miracle and considered that they were relics of great value, so much so that everyone wanted to take them with them when they returned. But since they could not agree on who should own them, they decided to load them on a mule and let the animal go at its own will. Wherever he stood, there the relics would stay.
Well, that mule, according to the story, reached Daroca, where it was exhausted. That is why it was decided to build the Collegiate Church there.