un recorrido por el arte mudéjar aragonés
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COLEGIATA DE SANTA MARÍA (CALATAYUD)


The first thing that can be said about the cloister is that it is atypical for various reasons, most apparently in its proportions. As we can see from the plan below, taken from the work of Agustín Sanmiguel, it is twice as long as it is wide, measuring 22 x 44 meters. In addition, it is placed at a 30-degree angle in relation to the church. We will discuss the reasons for this on a subsequent page. Here, we offer a summary description of it.

BOVEDAS DE CRUCERIA SIMPLE

The cloister has nine bays on its long sides and five on its short ones, one of which abuts the north side of the church.

PLANTA DEL CLAUSTRO

The inner patio of the cloister, also rectangular, contains seven pointed arches separated by six buttresses on its long sides, and three on each short one with two similar separating buttresses.

3 ARCOS APUNTADOS Y CONTRAFUERTES 4 ARCO APUNTADO

The bays are vaulted with simple groin vaulting. Its ribs, as well of those of the projecting ribs of the arches, and those opening on the interior patio are bunched in groups of three

5 NEVIOS SOBRE MENSULAS 6 COLUMNAS EN ESQUINA

Little engaged columns support the bunched ribs on the patio side, as do brackets on the interior side. Both brackets and capitals are sculpted in alabaster.

7 CABEZA DE ANIMAL EN PARTE BAJA DE MENSULA 8 ROSTRO EN PARTE INFERIOR DE MENSULA

Some of the brackets, four that I have documented, have carved decorations. Three are on the bottom, the first in the form of an animal face, the second appears to be a face (although it is complicated to photograph owing to the lit point below it), and the last has three flowers of five open petals whose stems interlace at the base. The fourth bracket is carved in the form of a grotesque face with what appears to be two hands or claws along the sides.

9 MOTIVOS FLORALES EN MENSULA 10 MENSULA CON DECORACION FIGURATIVA

The cloister has a second floor that was probably added in 1617, when construction on the present church was completed. It is probable that his addition eliminated the eave made up of projecting brackets that topped the early cloister.

CAPITELES CORRIDOS

Beginning in 1964, the cloister suffered successive reforms that have altered and greatly distorted it. The most important and emblematic one was made by the architect Ramón Moya, of the Dirección General de Arquitectura of the Ministerio de Vivienda. It consisted of the reconstruction of the old chapter house vaulting and the monumental doorway that led from it into the cloister, the closing off of the new chapter room towards the patio, and the most disputed elements: screening off the arched openings in the cloister with stuccowork and taking down the ribs of the vaulting, arches and column shafts to patterned brick, which in the past had always been pointed out as being characteristic of the Mudéjar style (they never leave naked brick visible in the interiors). The installation of the stucco screens, decorated with grids of six, brought about a clear alteration of the spatial perception, and an evident confusion about its authenticity. For this reason, the screens were removed during the restoration of 1999 by the architect José Francisco Yuste Bonilla , and the spaces between the arches covered with a modern solution of big simple windows, with no historical associations. He also proceeded to display the ribs of the vaults.

Interactive map of the Region of the Community of Calatayud
 
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