San Salvador Church

Villaviciosa, Spain

Iglesia de San Salvador is a Romanesque-style church located in the town of Fuentes, Villaviciosa. The church of San Salvador is documented in 1021 (via an inscription) as due to the patronate of Diego Perez, and consecrated by Bishop Adaganeo I. The church appears to have been built in the 12th-century. The diocese of Villaviciosa is mentioned in 1385 by the bishop of Oviedo, Gutierre de Toledo. The temple is mentioned in 1625 in documents of the Monastery of San Pelayo of Oviedo. In the 18th century it was a parish church. The church was declared an Artistic Historical Monument in 1931. During the Spanish civil war the church was burned, it was reconstructed in its prior form in 1950.

A processional crucifix, a bejeweled silver cross, with gilded wood, semiprecious stones and a Roman cameo from the church, one of the pinnacles of goldsmithery in medieval Asturian, were stolen in 1898 and sold to French and then American private collectors. In 1917 J. Pierpont Morgan donated it to the Metropolitan Museum in New York, where it now is exhibited.



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Founded: 12th century
Category: Religious sites in Spain

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User Reviews

Lorenzo Miravalles de Aldecoa (5 months ago)
Belonging to the El Palacio de Fuentes complex, it is one of the most prominent Asturian pre-Romanesque symbols.
Pisadiel (10 months ago)
Romanesque church of San Salvador de Fuentes (1021), in El Muriel, Fuentes (Villaviciosa, Asturies). We would be here before the church of a family monastery of the s. XI, Romanesque -very influenced by Asturian pre-Romanesque-, founded by Diego Pepici and his wife Mansuara; reformed in the s. XII and that in the s. XV appears dependent on Santa María de Villamayor (Piloña, Asturies) and then San Pelayo d'Uviéu. Burned down in the summer of 1936 by the usual sheep and restored in 1950 by the architect Luis Menéndez Pidal. Single nave and rectangular head. Adds of belfry, sacristy and portico (ss. XVIII-XIX). Its processional cross (c. 1150), donated by Doña Sanccia Gundisalvi, was sold (1898) by the pastor of Palacio Palacio by mandate of the diocese - Bishop Ramón Martínez Vigil (1884-1904) - supposedly for the payment of the new Basilica of Covadonga, but that reeks of antiquarian operation, passing through different hands and countries (French and Yankee), donated in 1917 by the banker and collector John Pierpont Morgan to the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York).
Florentino Ballina (2 years ago)
It is a jewel of the Romanesque that I recommend visiting
Mercedes Herrero (2 years ago)
Small church near Villaviciosa
Leticia A.A. (3 years ago)
the church was closed and does not put when it is possible to visit it. there is nowhere to park your car nearby, and to get there on foot, you take a road without maple.
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Quimper Cathedral

From 1239, Raynaud, the Bishop of Quimper, decided on the building of a new chancel destined to replace that of the Romanesque era. He therefore started, in the far west, the construction of a great Gothic cathedral which would inspire cathedral reconstructions in the Ile de France and would in turn become a place of experimentation from where would later appear ideas adopted by the whole of lower Brittany. The date of 1239 marks the Bishop’s decision and does not imply an immediate start to construction. Observation of the pillar profiles, their bases, the canopies, the fitting of the ribbed vaults of the ambulatory or the alignment of the bays leads us to believe, however, that the construction was spread out over time.

The four circular pillars mark the start of the building site, but the four following adopt a lozenge-shaped layout which could indicate a change of project manager. The clumsiness of the vaulted archways of the north ambulatory, the start of the ribbed vaults at the height of the south ambulatory or the choice of the vaults descending in spoke-form from the semi-circle which allows the connection of the axis chapel to the choir – despite the manifest problems of alignment – conveys the hesitancy and diverse influences in the first phase of works which spread out until the start of the 14th century.

At the same time as this facade was built (to which were added the north and south gates) the building of the nave started in the east and would finish by 1460. The nave is made up of six bays with one at the level of the facade towers and flanked by double aisles – one wide and one narrow (split into side chapels) – in an extension of the choir arrangements.

The choir presents four right-hand bays with ambulatory and side chapels. It is extended towards the east of 3-sided chevet which opens onto a semi-circle composed of five chapels and an apsidal chapel of two bays and a flat chevet consecrated to Our Lady.

The three-level elevation with arches, triforium and galleries seems more uniform and expresses anglo-Norman influence in the thickness of the walls (Norman passageway at the gallery level) or the decorative style (heavy mouldings, decorative frieze under the triforium). This building site would have to have been overseen in one shot. Undoubtedly interrupted by the war of Succession (1341-1364) it draws to a close with the building of the lierne vaults (1410) and the fitting of stained-glass windows. Bishop Bertrand de Rosmadec and Duke Jean V, whose coat of arms would decorate these vaults, finished the chancel before starting on the building of the facade and the nave.

Isolated from its environment in the 19th century, the cathedral was – on the contrary – originally very linked to its surroundings. Its site and the orientation of the facade determined traffic flow in the town. Its positioning close to the south walls resulted in particuliarities such as the transfer of the side gates on to the north and south facades of the towers: the southern portal of Saint Catherine served the bishop’s gate and the hospital located on the left bank (the current Préfecture) and the north gate was the baptismal porch – a true parish porch with its benches and alcoves for the Apostles’ statues turned towards the town, completed by an ossuary (1514).

The west porch finds its natural place between the two towers. The entire aesthetic of these three gates springs from the Flamboyant era: trefoil, curly kale, finials, large gables which cut into the mouldings and balustrades. Pinnacles and recesses embellish the buttresses whilst an entire bestiary appears: monsters, dogs, mysterious figures, gargoyles, and with them a whole imaginary world promoting a religious and political programme. Even though most of the saints statues have disappeared an armorial survives which makes the doors of the cathedral one of the most beautiful heraldic pages imaginable: ducal ermine, the Montfort lion, Duchess Jeanne of France’s coat of arms side by side with the arms of the Cornouaille barons with their helmets and crests. One can imagine the impact of this sculpted decor with the colour and gilding which originally completed it.

At the start of the 16th century the construction of the spires was being prepared when building was interrupted, undoubtedly for financial reasons. Small conical roofs were therefore placed on top of the towers. The following centuries were essentially devoted to putting furnishings in place (funeral monuments, altars, statues, organs, pulpit). Note the fire which destroyed the spire of the transept cross in 1620 as well as the ransacking of the cathedral in 1793 when nearly all the furnishings disappeared in a « bonfire of the saints ».

The 19th century would therefore inherit an almost finished but mutilated building and would devote itself to its renovation according to the tastes and theories of the day.