Photographer's Note

The main faade of the Cathedral of Murcia is conceived as a huge stone altarpiece, being more a sculptural than an architectural work. It is organized into three bodies separated by large Corinthian columns whose bases and entablatures project giving movement to the facade, denoting the division of the interior into three naves and thus accentuate the sense of depth. Three doors open, corresponding to the three interior naves. The central door, called del Perdn, is reserved for the real characters, on the left, that of San Juan for the Bishop, and on the right, that of San Jos, for the municipal authorities. The lateral bodies are finished off with a balustrade while in the central one a second body rises which is finished off with a quarter-sphere vault and a cornice. Two volutes join the lateral bodies to the central one while both leather are flanked by two semicircular turrets crowned by cupulillas.Se facade is used to use different materials and colors (white, green and gray stone) creating polychrome effects that together with the movement of the faade and the contrast of lights and shadows as a result of the different depth of the architectural elements, make this facade a clear exponent of Baroque art.

The entire facade is covered with reliefs and statues, conceived as if it were an altarpiece. On the central door the theme of the Coronation of the Virgin, the miracle of the Cross of Caravaca is represented and the facade ends with a relief representing the assumption of the Virgin. Topping the facade was a sculpture of the apostle James that was suppressed in 1803 due to its high weight. The rest of the elements that make up the imafronte are: symbols and allegories of the litanies, figures of the most characteristic saints of the Bishopric, such as the four saints of Cartagena (San Leandro, San Fulgencio, San Isidoro and Sta. Florentina), the statue of Fernando III the Saint, who carries the city of Murcia, symbolizing the incorporation of the Kingdom to the Crown of Castile, as well as figures of saints (St. Thomas, St. Teresa, St. Hermenegildo, etc ...).

We are facing one of the most representative works of Spanish Baroque. Halfway between architecture and sculpture, the entire facade is conceived as an exaltation of the Archdiocese of Cartagena and is dedicated to the Virgin. Thus, together with the representation of the Assumption and Coronation of the Virgin, different Marian symbols appear (such as the vase with lilies) and saints linked to said diocese. The esucltura of Santiago that crowned the building makes allusion to the tradition that locates in the port of Cartagena the supposed entrance that made the apostle in the peninsula to preach. On the other hand, there are two saintly kings also linked to the history of the archdiocese, such as San Hermenegildo and San Fernando, the latter bearing on his hands a model of the city of Murcia, conquered under his reign. Likewise, the most important saints from the diocese appear. At the ends appear the "pillars" of the Church represented by Saints Peter and Paul as well as by St. Thomas and St. Teresa of Jesus.


The facade of the Cathedral of Murcia is not only the last great work of the Spanish Baroque but one of the most important for its rich decorative and sculptural quality to the point that it created a school of sculptors parallel to that created by Salzillo and that makes Murcia one of the most improbable sculptural focuses of the eighteenth century.

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La fachada principal de la Catedral de Murcia es concebida como un enorme fachada-retablo en piedra, siendo ms una obra escultrica que arquitectnica. Se organiza en tres cuerpos separados por grandes columnas corintias cuyas bases y entablamentos sobresalen otorgando movimiento a la fachada, denotan la divisin del interior en tres naves y acentan de esta forma el sentido de profundidad. Se abren tres puertas, que corresponden a las tres naves del interior. La puerta central, llamada del Perdn, est reservada a los personajes reales, a la izquierda, la de San Juan para el Obispo, y a la derecha, la de San Jos, para las autoridades municipales. Los cuerpos laterales se rematan con una balaustrada mientras que en el central se levanta un segundo cuerpo que se remata con una bveda de cuarto de esfera y una cornisa. Dos volutas unen los cuerpos laterales al central mientras que estn ambos cuerops flanqueados por dos torrecillas semicirculares coronadas por cupulillas.Se recurre en la fachada al uso de diferentes materiales y colores (piedra blanca, verde y gris) creando efectos de policroma que junto al movimiento de la fachada y a los contraste de luces y sombras consecuencia de la distinta profundidad de los elementos arquitectnicos, hacen de esta fachada un claro exponente del arte barroco.

Toda la fachada est cubierta de relieves y estatuas, concebida como si se tratase de un retablo. Sobre la puerta central se representa el tema de la Coronacin de la Virgen, el milagro de la Cruz de Caravaca y rematando la fachada unn relieve que representa la asuncin de la Virgen. Rematando la fachada haba una escultura del apstol Santiago que fue suprimida en 1803 por su elevado peso. El resto de los elementos que componen el imafronte son: smbolos y alegoras de las letanas, figuras de los santos ms caractersticos del Obispado, como los cuatro santos de Cartagena (San Leandro, San Fulgencio, San Isidoro y Sta. Florentina), la estatua de Fernando III el Santo, que porta la ciudad de Murcia, simbolizando la incorporacin del Reino a la Corona de Castilla, as como figuras de santos (Santo Toms, Santa Teresa, San Hermenegildo, etc)

Nos encontramos ante una de las obras ms representativas del barroco espaol. A mitad de camino entre la arquitectura y la escultura, toda la fachada es concebida como una exaltacin de la Archidicesis de Cartagena y est dedicada a la Virgen. As junto a la representacin de la Asuncin y Coronacin de la Virgen, aparecen diferentes smbolos marianos (como el jarrn con azucenas) y santos vinculados a dicha dicesis. La esucltura de Santiago que coronaba el edificio hace alusin a la tradicin que sita en el puerto de Cartagena la supuesta entrada que hizo el apstol en la pennsula para predicar. Por otro lado aparecen dos reyes santos tambin vinculados con la historia de la archidiceis como San Hermenegildo y san Fernando, llevando ste ltimo sobre sus manos una maqueta de la ciudad de Murcia, conquistada bajo su reinado. As mismo aparecen los santos ms importantes originarios de la dicesis. En los extremos aparecen los "pilares" de la Iglesia representados por los santos Pedro y Pablo as como por Santo Toms y santa Teresa de Jess.

La fachada de la Catedral de Murcia no es slo es la ltima gran obra del barroco espaol sino una de las ms importantes por su riqueza decorativa y calidad escultrica hasta el punto de que cre una escuela de escultores paralela a la creada por Salzillo y que convierte a Murcia en uno de los focos escultricos ms improatntes del siglo XVIII.rnr

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Additional Photos by Luis Garcia (adramad) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 7895 W: 5 N: 13918] (62016)
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