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Arca Santa

(895 words)

Author(s): Francisco de Asís García García
The Arca Santa is a Romanesque reliquary kept in the Cámara Santa of the Cathedral of Oviedo (see also Spanish Romanesque Architecture). It is made of assembled black oak wood overlaid with silver, belonging to the same chest typology as that of other shrines such as that of Saint Isidore in León. However, the Arca Santa is closer to being an altar than a reliquary, and that may actually have been its function. Its unusually large size (119 x 93 x 83 cm), its flat lid without relief, and the dec…

Caskets of John the Baptist and Pelagius

(872 words)

Author(s): Francisco de Asís García García
The casket of Saints John the Baptist and Pelagius was offered in 1059 by King Ferdinand I and his wife Sancha to the church of Léon dedicated to these saints. The date of the casket and the names of the monarchs as commissioners were included in an inscription on the lid, which is now lost but was mentioned in the sixteenth century by Ambrosio de Morales. The reliquary was created in the royal ivory workshop to house the jawbone of Saint John the Baptist, an anonymously donated relic which was …

St James in Architecture (Compostela)

(867 words)

Author(s): Francisco de Asís García García
The cathedral of Santiago de Compostela shows a wide and varied medieval iconographic repertoire for Saint James, both in its monumental decoration and in the works of art housed there. Two basic iconographical types can be distinguished: depictions of the saint in narrative scenes based on passages from the Gospels or drawn from the hagiographical legends of the Saint, and iconic depictions of the apostle that are independent of narrative cycles, among which are the majestic apostle and the pilgrim type. The first image of Saint James in the cathedral, dated to the early tw…

Santo Domingo de Silos Abbey

(932 words)

Author(s): Francisco de Asís García García
Santo Domingo de Silos is a Benedictine abbey located in the Spanish province of Burgos named after its most charismatic abbot, Domingo Manso (†1073), former prior of San Millán de la Cogolla. King Ferdinand I sent Domingo to Silos in 1041, when the abbey was still dedicated to Saint Sebastian, in order to stop the decay of the institution. Even though the origins of the monastery could be traced back at least to the tenth century, it was after the arrival of Domingo and his successors that the …