Narratives and sceneries: The Cathedral of Tarragona as a case study.

2017 edition

Xènia Granero Villa

This study is immersed itself in the agentivity of the monumental iconographic programs developed in the keystones of religious buildings in relation to the architecture and with the interpretation of religious, liturgical or protocolary prescriptions. It is in connection, also, with lay prescriptions, promoters and ceremonies or non-religious performances that could be developed in those spaces. But this study will include not only religious spaces, but domestic domains and the rest of narratives programs developed in their monumental sculpture.

In spite of unquestionable iconographic wealth, keystones have rarely been the subject of an exhaustive study although in general they have been highlighted as a complement or reference in other researches about sculpture and its significance . And most of the time they have been more often mentioned as an architectural element or as a decorative element. With this paper I propose to study these architectural elements individually and in relation with the others, and, also, in connexion with the liturgies and the pastoral calendar that was followed in those medieval religious buildings. My aim is to understand to what these sculptural resources respond to and to know how their visual cycles contributed to rank the spaces of parishes, monasteries, and cathedrals, and to spatialize their religious and ceremonial activities.

My presentation will be focused in the Cathedral of Tarragona as a case study, the metropolitan and primate seat of the Tarraconense Province and, therefore, on of the most complex and great architectural complex of the Archdiocese. Of course, there are still unexplored aspects but, as it will be explained, the study of its keystones has led to important conclusions in relation to their own iconography and, also, to the construction process.