Inside the medieval castle that ordered the construction of the Military Order of Calatrava in Alcañiz, in the province of Teruel, find one of the most impressive sets of gothic wall painting from Spain, in addition to the technical quality of the paintings, also because of the varied themes that it shows us. Since the great majority of Gothic painting has a religious character, however, here you can see the most varied scenes, with special reference to everything related to the military.
Alcañiz Castle Wall Paintings
As a whole, they are paintings made between the 13th and 14th centuries, and stylistically they are ascribed to what has come to be called the Linear Gothic. In general, they are scenes with strong color contrasts, always exceptionally vivid, which serve to make them very expressive, since we are dealing with scenes that sometimes have a military theme, but others have a strong moralizing content and also those of religious inspiration.
Specifically, the military aspect is very important, since along about 60 meters lines of paintings, not only heraldic shields of the time can be distinguished, but they are also very interesting to learn about medieval weapons. It is not strange that the Order of the Calatravos put so much interest in its most bellicose character and wantedcapture here their different conquests.
The paintings, by an unknown author, are distributed throughout different areas of the Castle. Both in the atrium of the church, as in the cloister or in the Torre del Homenaje, in fact, there in the so-called Noble Room on the first floor you will find some of the most valuable, such as the fragment that represents the moment of the conquest of the city of Valencia when King Jaime I.
It is very interesting to see how in these years there is beginning to be an atmosphere in this type of scene, where architectural or landscape backgrounds appear, which helps to give a greater naturalism to the scenes, although they are not yet capable of contributing an atmosphere to the theme.
Wheel of Fortune Wall Painting
There was also a very interesting painting on the entrance door, which was moved some time ago to the Alcañiz Town Hall. This is a very old style Wheel of Fortune. In it you can see a large wheel with different characters attached to that rotating circle and with inscriptions alluding to its meaning. Something very curious, given that obviously the painting does not rotate, so you had to imagine what these real roulette wheels of fortune were like and in three dimensions.