Oloron Cathedral cover

Oloron Cathedral cover
Oloron Cathedral cover
Anonim

Actually, we would have to say, the ex-Oloron Cathedral, since this town in the south of France ceased to be episcopal seat at the beginning of the 19th century. And the truth is that by then this temple was in quite deplorable conditions. Although after several restorations today the church looks splendid, and especially its portal, which after all is the oldest part of its construction, since it dates back to the original construction of the building at the beginning of the 12th century, when it was promoted by the money and the religious fervor of Viscount of Béarn Gaston IV, fresh from the Crusades.

Cover of the Cathedral of Oloron

Cover of the Cathedral of Oloron

Precisely because of the value of this portal, protected by a porch formed by the arched base of the bell tower, the Cathedral of Santa María de Oloron is part of the Cultural Heritage of Humanity, in addition to being a relevant stop on the Camino de Santiago that crosses the Pyrenees through the Somport to enter Spain and reach the city ​​of Jaca, where another important Romanesque cathedral rises, with which the church of Oloron has similarities, especially in its interior layout.

It is known that two different master sculptors were involved in the cover. One first that made especially the tympanum, the capitals and mullion. The arrangement ofthat tympanum, whose semicircle is broken by other smaller and lower tympanums, a scheme seen in Syrian miniatures and manuscripts of Byzantine origin. And this Byzantine influence can also be seen in the relief of the main tympanum, where you can see the scene of the Descent from the Cross, a cross whose shape is also reminiscent of Byzantine art.

Meanwhile, a second artist carved the archivolts, which are perhaps where the greatest artistic quality is observed. Of these archivolts, the exterior is occupied by the figures of the 24 Ancients of the Apocalypse, all of them with their robes, their harps and their perfumes, forming a set that undoubtedly evokes the art of the church of San Pedro de Moissac.

And the next archivolt is even more interesting as it shows us the most popular scenes, surely recreating a party and all its preparations, from boar hunting, wine making, cooking large salmon, preparing ducks to eat, etc. A very interesting repertoire about life in the 12th century.

But in addition to the archivolts, it is also worth mentioning the figures at their ends. In one case, it is a monster that is engulfing a man, of whom we only see the legs that rest on another demon. While on the other side of the door you see a horseman trampling on a man with his horse, whose face expresses all his fear. An image that can possibly be interpreted as the representation of the aforementioned Gaston IV the Crusader, winner against the infidels.

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