Moarves de Ojeda sculpture set

Moarves de Ojeda sculpture set
Moarves de Ojeda sculpture set

Few cathedral complexes can boast a sculptural group of such quality as the one that can be seen in the small town of Moarves de Ojeda in the province of Palencia, Castilla y León. Moarves de Ojeda is a small town located in the region of La Ojeda about twenty-five kilometers from Aguilar de Campoo, it is curious how a municipality so small that it can easily go unnoticed in the history of Spain, houses in its interior one of the most outstanding Palencian Romanesque jewels.


This is a small temple from the Romanesque period dedicated to Saint John the Baptist that seems to have been built in two phases: the first of them around the last decades of the 12th century when the bulk of the building was built with a a single nave and a single header with a flat headwall; Years later, already in the late Gothic period, the temple was remodeled by changing the roof and raising an imposing belfry with a pinion finish in the foot area. At first glance, the temple does not seem to stand out too much in terms of construction, but it is the sculptural decoration of the church that has drawn the attention of art historians, specifically the south portal made of red limestone with the representation of a large frieze in which you can see a central pantocrator flanked by the figures of the apostles.

Little is known about the sculptor who was able to make a workof such artistic quality; it seems that the piece shows some similarities with the sculptures located in Carrión de los Condes, however the experts do not agree when affirming that it could be the same master. Be that as it may, the truth is that iconographically we find ourselves before a typical Romanesque sculpture: it is a Maiestas Domini, the risen Jesus Christ appears in a mystical mandorla or almond seated on a throne while blessing with one hand and holding a bible with the other; is an almighty Christ, represented as chronocrator, lord of time and cosmocrator, lord of space. Surrounding the mandorla we find the symbols of the four evangelists represented according to the tetramorphs: thus Saint Matthew is the angel, Saint Luke the bull, Saint Mark a lion and Saint John the eagle.

It is precisely the figure of Jesus Christ that has had the greatest impact, the artist has gradually abandoned the rigid Romanesque canons to seek ever greater naturalism. Thus in Jesus Christ the artist recreates the naturalness in the hair and beard worked with the trepan technique and achieving great realism.The vestments of his tunic stand out for the multiplicity of folds that refer us to the Hellenic formsin which the artist could find inspiration

Flanking the Maiestas we find the apostles arranged in two groups of six. Each of the figures is framed in a trefoil arch supported by small columns of vegetal capitals. The apostles wear phylacteries oriconographic elements that allow us to distinguish them, however they are not as naturalistic as the figure of Jesus Christ.

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