image of book's cover



Photo by J. Lacoste, Madrid







The Riverside Press Cambridge



Published February 1911


Cathedrals of Spain
Books Consulted
Etext transcriber's note


IN the last dozen years many English books on Spain have appeared. They have dealt with their subject from the point of view of the artist or the historian, the archæologist, the politician, or the mere sight-seer. The student of architecture, or the traveler, desiring a more intimate or serious knowledge of the great cathedrals, has had nothing to consult since Street published his remarkable book some forty years ago. There have been artistic impressions, as well as guide-book recitations, by the score. Some have been excellent, though few have surpassed the older ones of Dumas, père, and Gautier, or Baedeker's later guide-book. A year ago appeared the second and last volume of Señor Lamperez y Romea's "Historia de la Arquitectura Cristiana Española en la Edad Media," a work so comprehensive and scholarly that it practically stands alone.

It has seemed to me that certain buildings, and especially cathedrals, cannot be properly studied quite apart from what surrounds them, or from their past history. To look comprehendingly up at cathedral vaults and spires, one must also look beyond them at the city and the people and times that created them. In some such setting, the study of Avila, Salamanca the elder and the younger, Burgos, Toledo, Leon, Segovia, Seville, and Granada is here attempted, in the hope it will not prove too technical for the ordinary traveler, nor too superficial for the student of architecture. The cathedrals selected cover nearly all periods of Gothic art, as interpreted in Spain, as well as the earlier Romanesque and succeeding Renaissance, with which the Gothic was mingled. All the great churches were the work of different epochs and consequently contain several styles of architecture. The series here described is very incomplete, but the book would have grown too bulky had it included Santiago da Compostella with its heavenly portal, and Barcelona or Gerona, Lerida or Tudela.

Whether we read a page of Cervantes, or gaze on one of Velasquez's faces, or wander through one of the grand cathedrals of Spain, we realize that this great world-empire has never ceased to exist in matters of art, but still in the twentieth century must rouse our wonder and admiration. In barren deserts, on parched and lonely plains, amid hovels crumbling to decay, still stand the monuments of Spain's greatness. But if nowhere else in the world can one find such glorious works of art surrounded by such squalor, let us draw from the past the promise of a revival in Spain of all that constitutes the true greatness of a nation. In the fourth century, Bishop Hosius of Cordova was, from every point of view, the first living churchman—Cordova itself became, under the Ammeyad Caliphs in the tenth century, the most civilized, the most learned, and the loveliest capital in Europe. Three hundred years later, Alfonso X of Castile was not only a distinguished linguist and poet, but the greatest astronomer and lawgiver of his age. When the Spanish people have once more made education as general as it was under the accomplished Arabs, and adopted the division of power insisted on in a letter from Bishop Hosius to the Emperor Constantius, "Leave ecclesiastical affairs alone.... We are not allowed to rule the earth," they will take the rank their character and genius deserve among the nations. Their cathedrals will then stand in an environment befitting their grandeur, a society which will help them to transmit to coming generations the noblest, imperishable hopes of humanity.

John Allyne Gade.

New York City.


I. Salamanca 1
II. Burgos 31
III. Avila 65
IV. Leon 89
V. Toledo 119
VI. Segovia 165
VII. Seville 189
VIII. Granada 237
  Books Consulted        267
  Index 269


New Cathedral of Salamanca (page 24) Frontispiece
Cathedrals of Salamanca: The towers of the old and new buildings 3
Cathedrals of Salamanca: Plans 6
Threshing Outside the Walls of Salamanca 10
Cathedral of Salamanca: The Tower of the Cock 16
Salamanca: From the Vega 28
Cathedral of Burgos: West front 33
Cathedral of Burgos: Plan 36
Cathedral of Burgos: View of the nave 40
Cathedral of Burgos: Lantern over the crossing 46
Cathedral of Burgos: The Golden Staircase 50
Cathedral of Burgos: The Chapel of the Constable 54
Cathedral of Burgos: The spires above the house-tops 58
Cathedral of Avila 67
Cathedral of Avila: Plan 68
Cathedral of Avila: Exterior of the apse turret 72
Avila: From outside the walls 80
Cathedral of Avila: Main entrance 86
Cathedral of Leon: From the southwest 91
Cathedral of Leon: Plan 94
Cathedral of Leon: Looking up the nave 98
Cathedral of Leon: Rear of apse 104
Cathedral of Toledo 121
Cathedral of Toledo: Plan 124
Cathedral of Toledo: The choir stalls 140
Cathedral of Toledo: Chapel of Santiago, tombs of Alvaro de Luna and his spouse 158
Cathedral of Segovia 167
Cathedral of Segovia: Plan 170
Cathedral of Segovia: From the Plaza 176
Cathedral of Seville: The Giralda, from the Orange Tree Court 191
Cathedral of Seville: Plan 194
Cathedral of Seville: Gateway of Perdon in the Orange Tree Court 210
Cathedral of Seville and the Giralda 228
Cathedral of Granada: West front 239
Cathedral of Granada: Plan 242
Cathedral of Granada: The exterior cornices of the Royal Chapel 248
Cathedral of Granada: The reja enclosing the Royal Chapel and tombs of the Catholic Kings 256
Cathedral of Granada: The tombs of the Catholic Kings, of Philip and of Queen Juana 262

{Page 1}





CATHEDRALS OF SALAMANCA The towers of the old and new buildings

Photo by Author
The towers of the old and new buildings




In quella parte ove surge ad aprire
Zeffiro dolce le novelle fronde,
Di che si vede Europa rivestire.
Paradiso, c. XII, l. 46.


NOWHERE else in Spain, and certainly in few places outside her borders, can one take in the whole architectural development of successive styles and ages so comprehensively as in Salamanca. Byzantine and Romanesque, Gothic from its first fire to the last flicker and coldness of the ashes, and the triumphant domination of the reborn classicism,—all are massed together here.

Contrasts are eloquent to belittle or magnify. Here two cathedrals stand side by side, the older from the days of the Kingdom, a mere chapel in size compared to the larger and later expression of Imperial Spain. A David beside a Goliath, simple power by the side of ponderous self-assurance. Rude in its simplicity, seemingly unconscious of its great inheritance and the genius it embodies, the old church stands a monument of early virile effort, in{4} strength and poetry akin to the wind-swept rocks round which still whisper mysterious Oriental legends. The huge bulk that overshadows it betrays exhausted vigor and a decadent form. Here is simplicity by complexity, majestic sobriety close to wanton magnificence, poise by restlessness; each speaks the language of the age that conceived and brought it forth. Proximity has compelled the odiousness of comparison, for you can never see the later Cathedral apart from the old. You are haunted by the salience of their divergency, the importance of their contrasts, until their meaning becomes so far clear to you that the solid blocks of the ancient temple seem to symbolize the Church Militant and Triumphant. That indomitable spirit did not meet you under the mighty arches of the newer church, but go into the hushed perfection of those abandoned walls and walk along the dismantled nave and you will repeat the old epithet coupled with the city, "Fortis Salamanca!"

This once famous town lay in a curious setting as seen from the cock-tower in the month of August. Here and there were rusty, copper-colored fields, where the plow had just furrowed the surface. There were vineyards in which the sandy, white mounds were tufted by the deep emerald of the grape-vines, but the prevailing color was the yellow straw of harvested fields. These were a busy scene,—laborers were driving their oxen harnessed to primitive carts and treading out the grain as in olden times. They made their rounds between the high yellow cones built up of grain-stalks and filled the hot air with golden dust.{5}

This is Salamanca of to-day, seemingly robbed of all but her rich vowels. The whole city, like her two cathedrals, bears traces of the dynasties that have swept over her. Their footprints are everywhere. Hannibal's legions passed through Roman Salmantica on their victorious march to Rome, and the city soon afterwards became a military station in the province of Lusitania. Plutarch praises the valor of her women. Age after age generals have built her bridges and the towers and walls that surround the valley and the three hills, on one of which stands her supreme mediæval creation.

From the eighth century Salamanca became an apple of discord between Moslem bands and the forces of early Castilian kings, Crescent and Cross constantly supplanting each other on her turrets. Not until the latter half of the eleventh century, in the days of King Alfonso VI, were the Moors driven south of Leon, and Salamanca could at last claim to be body and soul Christian. The safety of the city was finally assured by Alfonso's conquest of Toledo.

The university, destined to become so famous, was founded by Alfonso IX about 1230. Among the Arab rulers in Spain, there were not a few as eager as their co-believers in eastern Islam to learn all that the civilized world could teach in art and science. The Caliphate of Cordova had from the tenth century drawn to its schools and academies proficients in astronomy, mathematics, and jurisprudence, as well as in the more graceful arts of music, rhetoric, and poetry. The monks of Cluny, belonging to the Order of Saint Benedict, then the most influential in Europe, now became domiciled in Salamanca under{6} the protection of King Alfonso. They contributed the arts of France, preëminently architecture, and the training of their order as instructors and veracious compilers of historical annals to the learning and skill already established by the followers of Mahomet in several cities of the Spanish Peninsula. Thus the science and arts of the Orient joined forces with those of the Occident within the strong walls of Salamanca and founded there an illustrious seat of learning. Only three universities, Oxford,[1] Paris, and Bologna, could boast a greater age, but Salamanca soon attained such eminence as to rank with these by papal decree among the "four lamps of the world." In the sixteenth century, she numbered over seven thousand scholars. Among those destined to become famous in the world's history were Saint Dominic, Ignatius Loyola, Fray Luis of Leon, and Calderon.

A. Old Cathedral. E. Choir.
B. New Cathedral.            F. Apse.
C, C.  Crossing. G, G.  Apsidal Chapels.
D. Cloisters. H. Altar.

To-day solitude and intellectual stagnation reign in the halls and courts of this once renowned university. In a few half-empty lecture-rooms the rustic now receives an elementary education, as he listens to the cathedral chimes across the sunlit courtyard.

Within the crumbling crenelations of the ancient battlements twenty-four once large parishes are more or less abandoned or laid waste with their convents, monasteries, and palaces.

The history of Salamanca's ecclesiastical architecture is connected with the campaigns which were carried on in Castile and Leon at the end of the eleventh and the beginning of the twelfth centuries. These had established the dominion of King Alfonso{7} VI, and the great influence of the distinguished immigrant prelates of the French orders. King Alfonso left Castile to his daughter Urraca, who, with her husband, Count Raymond of Burgundy, settled in Salamanca. The old city, which had suffered so long and terribly from the successive fortunes of war and its quickly shifting masters, was once more to feel the blessings of law and order. To replace its sad depopulation, Count Raymond allotted the various portions of the city to newcomers of the most different nationalities,—Castilians, Gallegos, Mozarabes, Basques, and Gascons. Among them were naturally pilgrims and monks, who played an important part in every colonizing enterprise of the day, introducing new ideas, arts, and craftsmen's skill. After his conquest of Toledo, Alfonso VI placed on the various episcopal thrones of his new dominion Benedictine monks of Cluny,—men of unusual ability and energy. The great Bernard, who had been crowned Archbishop of Toledo, had brought with him many brethren from the mother house, whose patrimony was architecture. Among them was a young Frenchman from Périgueux in Aquitaine, Jeronimo Visquio, whose ability as organizer and builder, up to the time of his death in 1120, left great results wherever he labored, and most especially in Salamanca. He was the personification of the Church Militant of his time,—fighting side by side with the most romantic hero of Spanish history and legend, confessing him on his death-bed, and finally consigning him to his tomb. Jeronimo was transferred from the See of Valencia to that of Zamora, to which Salamanca was subject, and shortly afterwards{8} Salamanca was elevated to episcopal dignity by Pope Calixtus II, Count Raymond's brother. Even in the days of the Goths, we find mention of prelates of Salamanca who voiced their ideas in the Councils of Toledo, and later followed, for such scanty protection as it offered, the Court of the early Castilian kings. In calling Jeronimo to Salamanca, Raymond had, however, a very different purpose in mind from that of attaching to his court an already celebrated churchman. He understood the vital importance of building up within his city a powerful episcopal seat with a great church. Grants and other assistance were at once given the churchman and were in fact continued through successive reigns until, with indulgences, benefices, and privileges, it grew to be a feudal power. As late as the fifteenth century, the workmen of the Cathedral were exempted from tributes and duties by the Spanish kings.[2] During the first years of Jeronimo's activity and the earliest work on the building, we find curious descriptions of how the Moorish prisoners were put to work on the walls, even to the number of "five hundred Moslem carpenters and masons."

The Cathedral stands upon one of the hills of the old city. The exact date of its inception, as well as the name of the original architect, is doubtful, but it is certain that it was begun not long after the year 1100. At Jeronimo's death it could not have been{9} far advanced, but the crossing and the Capilla Mayor could be consecrated and employed for services in the middle of the century, and the first cloisters were built soon after. The nave and side aisles followed, their arches being closed in the middle of the thirteenth century. The lantern was probably placed over the crossing as late as the year 1200. Following an order inverse to that pursued by later Gothic architects, the Romanesque builders finished their work with the eastern end.

Its building extended over long periods marked by a gain in confidence and skill and a development of architectural style, so that in its stones we may read a most interesting story of different epochs, and to serious students of church-building, the old Cathedral of Salamanca is possibly the most interesting edifice in Spain. It is magnificent in its early, virile manhood. The tracing of the many and varied influences is as fascinating as it is bewildering. Every student and authority on the subject has a new conception or some definite final conclusion in regard to its many surprising elements. No student of Spanish architecture has studied its origin with greater insight or knowledge than Señor Don Lamperez y Romea in his recent luminous work on Spanish ecclesiastical architecture.

To say that the old Cathedral was wholly a French importation would be unjust; to speak of it as sprung entirely from native precedents and inspiration would show equal ignorance. No, there were many and subtle influences affecting its original conception and formation; first of all and naturally, those derived from Burgundy, now only partially visible, as{10} for instance the vaulting of the nave. These precedents have been altered or concealed in the evolution of the building. Byzantine influences follow,—most obvious in the magnificent dome crowning the crossing. The School of Aquitaine of course made itself felt through Bishop Jeronimo as well as several of his successors. Great portions are Gothic, slightly visible in some of the later exterior work, but throughout in the last interior portions of the great arches and vaults.

After carefully considering all these influences and going to their roots, we may conclude that the old Cathedral of Salamanca is both in plan and structure a Romanesque church of the Burgundian School built on Spanish soil by French monks from Cluny, who in their new surroundings were strongly affected by Byzantine and Oriental influences and possibly by the original Spanish or Moorish development of the dome. At a later date, under Aquitaine bishops, certain forms of vaulting characteristic of their region were adopted as well as devices to bring about the transition between the circular dome and the square base.

Strange to say it is a Romanesque church erected at the time when what are regarded as the finest Gothic cathedrals were being built in France. The Spaniard clung more tenaciously to the older style, which in many ways adapted itself better to his climate and requirements, while it easily flowed into native streams of inspiration to form with them a mighty whole. The church is neither French nor Spanish nor Arab nor Italian in its various composition, but distinctly Romanesque in spirit.


Photo by Author


The plan is in general that of the old basilica: a nave with side aisles of five bays, a crossing prolonged one bay to the south beyond the side aisle, while to the east the nave and side aisles all terminate in a semicircular apsidal chapel. A portion of the southern wall of the huge new Cathedral replaces the northern one of the old church by encroaching on its side aisle. A flight of eighteen broad stone steps occupies the northern bay of the old Cathedral's crossing and leads from its considerably lower pavement up to the level of the new one. To the south lie the great cloisters. It was a plan which for its time was undoubtedly as magnificent in scale as it seemed diminutive and insignificant in the sixteenth century when the new Cathedral was built.

The massiveness on which the old Romanesque builders depended to obtain their elevations and support the great weight is most impressive. The outer walls have in some places a thickness of ten feet and the piers are much larger in section than those of the new Cathedral which carry vaults soaring far above the roof of the earlier structure. The choir had formerly blocked the clear run of the nave; to the good fortune of the old church and the injury of the new, this was removed to the latter when it was sufficiently advanced to receive it. Unfortunately, the plan of the west front was very radically disturbed by the building of the new Cathedral, the two old towers flanking the entrance being removed and a narrow passage, which leads into the nave through the immense later masses of masonry, taking the place of the old entrance. The nave is 33 feet wide, 190 feet long and 60 feet high; the side aisles are 20 feet{12} broad, 180 feet long and 40 feet high, thus surprisingly high in proportion to the nave.

The main piers which subdivide nave and side aisles are most interesting, as their greater portion belongs to the original structure. They are faced by semicircular shafts which carry simple, unmolded, transverse ribs in the central aisle. A small additional columnar section is seen in the angles of the piers, supporting in an awkward position, with the assistance of the interposed corbel, molded, diagonal vaulting ribs. Columns, reaching to about two thirds of the height of the tall shafts of the nave, carry the arches separating nave from side aisles. The undecorated base-molds of the total composite piers are all supported upon a heavy, widely projecting, common drum, a curious remnant of the earlier single Byzantine pillar of but one body and base.

The capitals are among the great glories of the edifice. They are remarkable from every point of view, and among the finest Byzantine extant, comparable to the best of Saint Mark's or of Sancta Sofia. The acanthus leaves are carved with all the jewel-like sparkle and crispness and the play of light and shade of the best period; the life and spring of a living stem are in them. Their oriental parentage is apparent at a glance. Much of the carving is alive with all the fancy and imagination of the day,—beasts and monsters, real and mythical animals, masks and contorted human figures and devils interlace on the bells and peer out from the foliage. The execution is quite unrestrained. It has a divergency which must have had its unconscious origin in the different antique caps serving again in the early{13} Byzantine edifices. The ancient carvers must have realized the full importance of sculptural relief in their poorly lighted edifices. Again, the corbels which carry the diagonal ribs are formed by crude contorted beings and animals, in some instances bearing figures leaning against the lower surfaces of the diagonal ribs and intended still further to conceal its faulty spring. At the intersections of the diagonal ribs are bosses with figures at the salient points.

With an astonishment verging on incredulity, we look up at the vaulting supported by these piers. In place of the great Burgundian barrel vaults above the nave and semicircular arches between nave and side aisles, there are pointed Gothic transverse arches and quadripartite vaulting of low spring and simplest sections, but nevertheless ogival. It is evident both by the appearance of shafts, as well as by other indications, that it could not have been the original construction, but rather one reached at a later day when the new art was supplanting the old, a substitution for the original Romanesque vaulting; the upper windows and the most glorious lantern are all constructed in the Romanesque style to which the Spanish builders clung so long and tenaciously in preference to the subtle and nervous French Gothic which suited neither their temperament nor conditions. The church must originally have been carried out in their more native art, which they better understood.

The western termination of the church is formed by three semicircular apses crowned by semicircular vaults. In the central one, closed from the transept by a simple iron reja, stands the high altar backed{14} by a great Gothic retablo of fifty-five panels and crowned in the vaulting by a most remarkable painting. In the walls of the niches is a series of tombs of persons with varying claims to our interest and esteem. Its original exclusiveness in the reception of royal princes of pure lineage gave way in the thirteenth century to admit princesses and bastards. Here lies the Dean of Santiago and Archdeacon of Salamanca, a natural son of the King of Leon. His mother, owing to her short-comings, got no farther than the cloister vaults. Some one has extracted from the archives of the old Cathedral the origin of the ancient mural decoration above the high altar. On the 15th of December, 1445, the Chapter engaged the services of Nicholas Florentino, painter, who for a consideration of 75,000 maravedis "of current white Castilian money, which is worth two old white ones and three new," promised to complete the painting "from top to bottom." On a rich blue background the Supreme Judge stands in the centre; to the right, is a regiment of the dead clad in white raiment, graciously welcomed by angels with trumpets; on the left, the damned are being hustled into hell by devils. As a well-preserved example of very ancient Spanish painting, it certainly is of intrinsic value and interest and recalls the naïve representations of early Italian artists.

It is unusually well lighted for a Romanesque church, which is naturally owing to the dome and not to the various windows or roses. There is no triforium, but the side walls, transepts, and apses are pierced by openings of true Romanesque type. The thick masonry has been most timidly pierced for{15} narrow, round-headed slits of light, with splayed jambs and colonettes engaged to their sides carrying the typically ornamented archmolds enframing the whole. The stone mullions of the two remaining roses are equally timid and typical, but have not suffered like the windows from the encroachment of the new edifice.

The pavement undulates like that of Saint Mark's. High above the crossing of nave and transepts rises the tower flooding the church with light and internally as well as externally expressing one of the grandest architectural conceptions of the Spanish Peninsula.

Superlatives can alone describe the Torre del Gallo,—truly a product and glory of Spanish soil. Many writers have argued its similarity to the domes of Aquitaine churches, to Saint Front of Périgueux and others, but it is distinctly different from and far superior to those with which it has been compared in the magnificently interposed members of the drum, which shed light into the church through their openings and raise the cupola high enough to make of it a finely proportioned, crowning member. The cupola alone, certainly not the general disposition, may be regarded as a copy of earlier examples.

The internal and external cores have been admirably managed, the outer one being much higher to be in correct proportion to the surrounding masonry which it crowns. The interior transition from the square to the round base, twenty-eight feet in diameter, is rather clumsily managed. The successive masonry courses of the angles step out in Byzantine fashion in front of each other. The four piers of the{16} crossing, upon which the pendentives descend, are no larger than the main piers of the nave. Above the pendentives which stand out, in their undecorated masonry, the circle is girdled by a carved cyma, above which rises a double arcade of sixteen arches, each arch flanked by strong and simple columns with Byzantine caps of barely indicated foliage. Powerful, intermediate columnar shafts separate the superimposed arcades and carry on their caps the sixteen ribs that shoot upwards and meet in the great floral boss at the apex of the inner dome. The lower arcades are semicircular, the upper, trefoiled, while the intermediate shafts are broken by two band-courses. All the moldings, and especially the energetic, muscular ribs, are splendidly simple and vigorous in their undecorated profiles. The lower arcade is blind, the upper admits light through timidly slender apertures, with the exception of every fourth arch, which coincides with an exterior turret.


Photo by J. Lacoste, Madrid

The Tower of the Cock

Externally the lantern is even more remarkable than internally. As seen from within, it is faced alternately by four tympanums and four turrets. These are broken by long, narrow, round-headed openings, vivified by ball moldings ornamenting the heavy rounding of their splays. The tympanums, as well as the windows between them, and the turrets are flanked by a series of Romanesque columns. Their grouping, the deep reveals and resulting shadows, the play of light and shade brought out in the foliage of their various caps, which is but indicated in the simple manner of the style, and the adjacent moldings, all give a most archaic impression. The roofing of the turrets, as well as that of the outer{17} dome, suggests a stone coat-of-mail. The flags are laid in scallops or stepped rows, like the scales of a fish, giving a far tighter joint than the stone channels covering the roofing of Avila Cathedral. The outline of the dome is that of a cone with a slightly modulated curve, perhaps unconsciously affected by a Moorish delineation. The angles are marked by bold crockets. Above, crowning the apex, perches the cock, gayly facing whatever part of the heavens the wind blows from. There is an everlasting triumph in it all, reminding one not a little of that won at a later date in Santa Maria del Fiore. Salamanca holds the religious triumph of a militant age; Florence, the sacred glory of an artistic one. The lofty aspiration, boldly hewn in the Spanish fortress, is no less admirable than the constructive genius rounded in Brunelleschi's dome.

The remainder of the interior is now singularly undecorated and severe. The entrance has been so much transformed by later additions that, in place of the original portal and vestibule, there remains only a vestibule considerably narrower than the nave, compressed on one side by the huge towers of the new Cathedral, and on the other by later alterations. The two older towers which contained, one the chimes and the other the dwelling of the Alcaide, have quite disappeared. The vestibule has excellent allegorical sculptures and Gothic statuary.

The northern aisle still has a few mural paintings, but the larger part of those which once illuminated the bare walls were washed off by a bigoted prelate in the fifteenth century and the present gray of the stone, as seen in the dim light, looks cold compared to the rich gold of the exterior masonry bathed in{18} sunshine. The excellence of the vaulting is such that to-day hardly a fissure or crack is visible. The old pavement consists of great rectangles marked by red sandstone borders and bluestone centre slabs, the size of a grave, with central dowels for lifting and closing. In the southern transept-arm leading to the cloisters, some of the original windows are still preserved with their fine columns, archivolts, and carved moldings. The ribs of the vaults are decorated by zigzag ornamentation, and here a few magnificent old tombs remain intact in their ancient niches.

There is, properly speaking, no exterior elevation of the whole structure. The western front is hidden by the modernization, the north and south, by the new Cathedral, the cloisters, and squalid, encumbering walls and chapels. From the "Patio Chico" alone, the old structure can be seen unobstructed. The curves of the apses bulge out like full-bellied sails, their great masonry surfaces broken by the small windows, which are cut with enormous splays and encased and arched by typical Romanesque features, the windows protected by heavy Moorish grilles. Engaged shafts run up the sides of the central apse to below a quatrefoil gallery, originally a shelter for the archers stationed to defend the building. Two fortress-towers formed the eastern angles north and south; the one to the north was removed in building the new Cathedral. A scaled turret, broken by later Gothic pediments, crosses the one remaining. Above all soars the dome, the inspiration of our greatest American Romanesque temple, Trinity Church in Boston.{19}

At the end of the twelfth century the houses of a sacrilegious Salamanca gentleman were confiscated and given to the Cathedral Chapter, who forthwith began the cloisters upon their site. They lie to the south and thus came to be planned and built into the original fabric and with Romanesque arches and wooden roof. They were practically entirely rebuilt in the fifteenth century and again restored in the eighteenth. Curious, elaborate, vaulted chapels—in one of which the Mozarabic rite, the ancient Gothic ritual prolonged under Moslem rule, is still occasionally celebrated—adjoin it to the east and south. Recently, old Byzantine niches and tombs, some of great interest, have been uncovered in the outer walls.


"Most Reverend Father in Christ, Lord Cardinal, our much beloved and very dear Friend; We the King and the Queen of Castile, of Leon, and of Aragon, Sicily, etc., send this to salute you, as one whom we love and esteem highly, and to show we desire God may give life, health, and honor, even to the extent of your own desire. We inform you that the City of Salamanca is one of the most notable, populous, and principal cities of our kingdoms, in which there is a society of scholars, and where all sciences may be studied, and to which people from all states continually come. The Cathedral Church of the said city is very small, dark, and low, to such an extent that the divine services cannot be celebrated in such a manner as they should be, especially during feast-days when{20} a large concourse of people streams to the Cathedral, and by the Grace of God, the said city increases and enlarges day by day. And considering the extreme narrowness of the said Church, the Administrator and Dean and Chapter have agreed to rebuild it, making it as large as is necessary and convenient, according to the population of the said city. This furthermore as the form and the fabric of the said Church cannot be rebuilt without disfigurement. And in order to build better and promptly, as the said Church has a very small income, it is necessary that our most Holy Father concede some indulgences in the form that the Bishops of Vadajos and Astorga, our agents and emissaries to your Court, will tell your Reverend Fatherhood, and we request you to beseech His Holiness to concede the said indulgences. Therefore we affectionately beg you to undertake the matter in the manner which we affectionately supplicate, because our Lord will be served, and the Divine Service increased, and we will receive it from you in peculiar gratitude. Regarding this, we wrote details to the said bishops. We beg you to give them credit and favor. Most Reverend Father in Christ, Lord Cardinal, our very dear and beloved friend, may God our Lord at all times especially guard and favor your Reverend Fatherhood.

"I, the King, I, the Queen.

Seville, the 17th day of February, in the ninety-first year."

That was the way the Catholic Kings wrote to the Cardinal of Angers to make plain to him that the plain, dark, small, old Cathedral was no longer in keeping with their glory or the times, and to begin{21} the movement for a larger edifice. The stern simplicity of the ancient Church was indeed out of harmony with the brilliance and craving for lavish display and magnificent proportions which characterize the age of Ferdinand and Isabella.

Pope Innocent VIII answered the appeal in the year 1491, granting permission for the transference of the services to a larger edifice more fitting the congregation of Salamanca, now at the zenith of its prosperity and academic renown. In 1508 Ferdinand passed through Salamanca, and was again sufficiently fired by religious zeal to issue the following order: "The King to the Master Mayor of the works of the Church of Seville. Since it has now to be decided how the Church of Salamanca may be made, in order that its design may be made as it ought, I consent that you be present there. I charge and command you instantly to leave all other things, and come to the said City of Salamanca, that, jointly with the other persons who are there, you may see the site where the said Church has to be built, and may make a drawing for it, and in all things may give your judgment how it may be most suited to the Divine Worship and to the ornature of the said Church; which, having come to pass, then your salary shall be paid, which I shall receive return for in this service. Done in Valladolid, the 23d day of November, 1509."

The famous Master of Toledo, Anton Egas, received a similar summons (served in his absence on his two maids), but neither architect seems to have been over-zealous in carrying out the royal commands, for next year Queen Juana, Ferdinand's daughter,{22} growing impatient, writes again: "I find it now good, as I command you, that immediately that this my letter shall be made known to you, without making any excuse or delay, you go to the said City of Salamanca."

This produced the desired result, for the two delinquent architects hurried to the city, studied the conditions, and, after considerable squabbling with each other and the Chapter, many drawings, and a lengthy report, agreed to disagree. This was too much for the Bishop, and without further ado he summoned on the 3d of September, 1512, a famous conclave of all the celebrated architects in Spain to pass on the report of Egas of Toledo and Rodriguez of Seville and settle the matter. Here sat besides Egas, Juan Badajos, Juan Gil de Hontañon, Alfonso Covarrubias, Juan de Orazco, Juan de Alava, Juan Tornero, Rodrigo de Sarabia and Juan Campero. The matter was thrashed out both as to site and form and a final report sent in, stating the result of their deliberations, "and as they were much learned and skilful men, and experienced in their art, their opinion ought certainly to be acted on." However, to leave no further doubt, every one of them swore "by God and Saint Mary, under whose protection the Church is, and upon the sign of the Cross, upon which they all and each of them put their hands bodily, that they had spoken the entire truth, which each of them did, saying, 'So I swear, and Amen.'" This settled the business. Three days afterwards, Juan Gil de Hontañon, the later builder of Segovia and rebuilder of the dome of Seville, was named Maestro Mayor and Juan Campero, his apprentice.{23}

On a stone of the main façade there still stands an inscription recording the solemn laying of the corner-stone on the 12th of May, 1513. It was dedicated to the Mother and the Saviour. The wisest of the resolutions passed by this wisest of architectural bodies was the recommendation to leave the old edifice undisturbed.

Work was immediately started on the western entrance front and continued with untiring energy by Juan Gil until his death in 1531. His two sons assisted him, and they were all constantly guided and aided by a body of the most eminent Spanish architects who yearly visited the edifice. On the death of Maestro Alvaro, six years later, Juan's son, Rodrigo Gil, was selected as Maestro Mayor. He naturally tried to carry out all his father had planned, building with equal rapidity and no less excellence. By 1560 the work had been carried as far towards the east as the crossing. Amid immense popular rejoicing, and with ecclesiastical pomp, the Holy Sacrament was moved from the old Basilica to the new. "Pio III papa, Philippe II rege, Francisco Manrico de Lara episcopo, ex vetere ad hoc templum facta translatio xxv mart. anno a Christo nato mdlx." This of course gave a new impetus to the work, and arch after arch, chapel on chapel, rapidly grew through the next decades. The bigoted Philip naturally looked on with favoring eye.[3] Twice the work languished, but was resumed through the waning period{24} of the Gothic style. The new classicism was triumphantly replacing the dying art, and the builders of Salamanca were sorely perplexed whether or not to make a radical departure to the newer style. Most fortunately, the conclave called together at this critical moment remained loyal to the original conception, and the Renaissance only took possession in ornamentation and the dome. Not until 1733 was the final "translation" celebrated. Later, earthquakes and lightning shook down both dome and tower, so that practically it was not till the nineteenth century that the last mortar was dry. The building spanned a long and glorious epoch in the city's history, from a time when her imperial master ruled the world until a foreign upstart trampled her under foot.

The plan of the new Cathedral, like that of Seville, is an enormous rectangle of ten bays, resembling a huge mosque, 378 feet long by 181 feet wide. It consists of nave and double side aisles without projecting transept; square chapels fill the outer aisles as well as the bays of the eastern termination. After much discussion it was decided that the nave (130 feet high) should be about one third higher than the first side aisles; the chapels are 54 feet in height.

The choir blocks the third and fourth bays of the nave, while the Capilla Mayor occupies the eighth. Over the sixth soars the lantern. The platform of the Patio Chico separates the sacristy and the old Cathedral that practically abuts the entire southern front. At the southwestern angle, the intersection of the two cathedrals is hidden by the gigantic tower. The northern front is admirably free, the whole structure being visible on its high granite platform. The{25} western front is entered through the great triple doorway, the central being that of the Nacimiento; the northern, through the Puerta de las Ramos, the southern, through the Puerta del Patio Chico.

Glancing at the plan as a whole, one cannot but deplore that a conception of such daring proportions with no limitation of time nor money, having centuries and the wealth of the Indies to draw on, was not conceived with that most perfect of all Gothic developments, the semicircular apsidal termination. The Spanish, as well as the customary English eastern end, can never, from any standpoint of ingenuity or beauty, be comparable to the amazing conceptions of Rheims or Amiens or Paris.

The interior effect is expressed in one word,—"grandiloquence." It is a true child of the age which conceived it, and the spirit which informed its erection. If the fabric of the old Cathedral is essentially Romanesque, with later Gothic ornamentation and constructional features, the new is entirely Gothic, with Renaissance additions. The spirit and form are Gothic,—Spanish Gothic,—and one of its last sighs. The fire was extinct. By display and sculptural fire-works, by bold flaunting of mechanical mastery, a last trial and glorious failure were made in an attempt to emulate the marvelous structural logic and simplicity which had marked the Gothic edifices of an earlier age.

The blending of the two styles does not jar, but has been effected with a harmony scarcely to be expected. If one were not hampered with an architectural education, one could admire it all, instead of criticizing and wondering why a Renaissance lantern is raised{26} upon a Gothic crown, and why a fine Renaissance balustrade above Gothic band-courses separates the nave arches from its clerestory, while those of the side aisles are separated by a Gothic one. The interior fabric itself is fine: it is more in detail, in the stringiness and multiplicity of moldings, in the fineness, subdivision, and elaboration of carvings and ornament that one feels the advancing degeneration. From being frank and simple, it has become insincere and profuse.

The Gothic window openings, which had been steadily developing larger and bolder up to their culmination in the glorious conservatory of Leon, had again grown smaller and more fitted to the climate. In Salamanca they are small and high up. Nave and side aisles both carry clerestories; that of the nave consisting of seventy-two windows in alternate bays of three windows and two windows with circle above, that of the side aisle, of one large window subdivided within its own field. The chapel walls are also pierced by smaller openings. Some have good though not excellent coloring.

The form of the Renaissance lantern is not infelicitous, either from the inside or outside. It was first built by Sacchetti. The double base is octagonal, with corners strengthened by columns and pilasters and executed with much artistic skill. Were it not for the vulgar interior coloring and ornamentation of cherubs, scrolls, and scallop shells, contorted, disproportionate, and unmeaning, its high, brilliantly lighting semicircle might be pleasing. Horrible decoration fills the panels of the octagonal base. The dome itself is almost as gaudily colored.{27}

The interior is built of a clear gray stone on which sparing employment of color in certain places is most effective. Thus in the bosses of the vaulting ribs throughout, in the capitals of the piers of nave and transept, in the very elaborate fan-vaulting of the Capilla Mayor, and in the soffits of nave-clerestory, the blue and gold contrasts finely with the cold gray surfaces. Renaissance medallions decorate the spandrels of the nave, but those of the side aisles bear the coats-of-arms of the Cathedral and the City of Salamanca. A differently designed fan-vaulting spreads over every chapel. Great rejas enclose choir and Capilla Mayor from the transept. The rear of the choir is badly mutilated by a Baroque screen, while the sides and back of the high altar still consist of the rough blocks which have been waiting for centuries to be carved. The choir-stalls are very late eighteenth century, a mass of over-elaborate detail, as fine as Grinling Gibbon's carving, and if possible even more remarkable in the detail.

The west and north façades are, for a Spanish cathedral, singularly free and unencumbered. The west faces the old walls of the university. The entire composition is overshadowed by the tremendous tower that looms up for miles around in the country. It is indeed "Salamanca qui érige ses clochers rutilants sur la nudité inexorable du désert." Though it has nothing to do with the rest of the composition, it is a happy mixture of the two styles; the massive base is as high as the roofing of the nave, blessedly bare and severe beside the restlessness of the adjoining screen. A clock and a few panels are all that break it. Classical balconies run round it above and below the{28} first bell-story, the sides of which are decorated with a Corinthian order and broken by round arched openings. A similar order decorates the drum of the cupola, while Gothic crocketed pyramids break the transition at angles. At the peak of the lantern, three hundred and sixty feet in the air, soars the triumphant emblem of the Church of Christ. That man of architectural infamy, Churriguera, erected it, showing in this instance an extraordinary restraint.

SALAMANCA From the Vega

Photo by J. Lacoste, Madrid

From the Vega

The façade belongs to the first period of the Cathedral, and portions of it are Juan Gil de Hontañon's work, though the later points to Poniente. It is interesting to compare it with the last Gothic work in France, with, for instance, Saint-Ouen at Rouen. The end of the style in the two countries is totally different—one expiring in a mass of glass and tracery, the other, in a meaningless jumble of ornamentation, of cusped and broken and elliptical arches and carving incredible in its delicacy. One can scarcely believe it to be stone. The Spanish, though not wild in its extravagance, yet lacks all sense of restraint. The front is composed of a screenwork of three huge arches, within which three portals leading to the aisles form the main composition, the whole crowned by a series of crocketed pinnacles. A plain fortress-like pier, resembling the remnant of an old bastion, terminates it to the north. Great buttresses separate the portals. Around them are deep reveals and archivolt; somewhat recalling French examples in their forms; above them is an inexhaustible effort in stone. There are myriads of brackets and canopies, some few having statues. There are enough coats-of-arms to supply whole nations with heraldic emblems, and{29} recessed moldings of remarkable and exquisite workmanship and crispness of foliage. Some of the bas-reliefs, as those of the Nativity and Adoration, are very fine. The Virgin in the pillar separating the doors of the central entrance gathers the folds of her robe about her with a queenly grace and dignity.

The whole doorway on its great scale is a remarkable work of the transition from Gothic to Renaissance. While the treatment of the figures has a naturalism already entirely Renaissance, the main bulk of the ornamental detail is still in its feeling quite Gothic.

From the steps of the Palazzo del Goberno Civil, the northern front stretches out before you above the bushy tops of the acacia trees in the Plaza del Colegio Viejo. The demarcations are strong in the horizontal courses of the balconies which crown the walls of the nave and side-aisle chapels,—the two lower quite Gothic. The thrust of the naves is met by great buttresses flying out over the roofs of the side aisles, and there, as well as above the buttresses of the chapel walls, pinnacles rise like the masts in a great shipyard. The whole organism of the late Spanish Gothic church lies open before you. The long stretch of the three tiers of walls is broken by the face of the transept, the door of which is blocked, while the surrounding buttresses and walls are covered with canopies and brackets, all vacant of statues. In place of the condemned door, there is one leading into the second bay, the Puerta de los Ramos or de las Palmas, in feeling very similar to the main doors of the west. Its semicircular arches support a relief representing Christ entering Jerusalem. A circular light flanked{30} by Peter and Paul comes above, and the whole is encased in a series of broken arches filled with the most intricate carving.

The grand and the grandiloquent Cathedral seem to gaze out over the town and the vast plain of the old kingdom of Leon and to listen. It is a golden town, of a dignity one gladly links with the name of Castile. It is a city—or what is left of it after the firebrands of Thiebaut, of Ney, and of Marmont—of the sixteenth century, of convents and churches and huge ecclesiastical establishments. They rise like amber mountains above the squalid buildings crumbling between them, and stand in grilled and latticed silence. Las Dueñas lies mute on one side and on the other San Esteban, where the great discoverer pleaded his cause to deaf ears. In the evening glow their brown walls gain a depth and warmth of color like the flush in the dark cheeks of Spanish girls.{31}





West front

Whereat he wondred much, and gan enquere
What stately building durst so high extend
Her lofty towres unto the starry sphere.
The Faerie Queene, book I, c. x, lvi.


THE best view of the spires of Burgos is from the ruined walls of the Castillo high above the city. From these crumbling ramparts, pierced and gouged by a thousand years of assault and finally rent asunder by the powder of the Napoleonic armies, you look directly down upon the mistress of the city and the sad and ardent plain. A stubbly growth, more like cocoa matting than grass, covers the unroofed floor beneath your feet. From this Castle, Ferdinand Gonzales ruled Castile, and here the Cid led Doña Zimena, and Edward I of England Eleanor of Castile, to the altar. The only colors brightening the melancholy hillside are here and there the brilliant blood-stain of the poppy, the gold of the dandelion, and the episcopal purple of the thistle. Below and beyond, stretches a sea of shaded ochre, broken in the foreground by the corrugations of the many roofs turned by time to the brownish tint of the encircling hillocks and made to blend in one harmony with its monochrome bosom. Fillets of silver pierce the horizon, glittering as they wind nearer between {34}over-hanging birches and poplars. The deep, guttural, roar of the great Cathedral's many voices rises in majestic and undisputed authority from the valley below, now and again joined by the weaker trebles of San Esteban and San Nicolas. Regiments of soldiers march with regular clattering step through holy precincts and up and down the crooked lanes and squares; barracks and parade-grounds occupy consecrated soil,—still Santa Maria la Mayor raises her voice to command obedience and proclaim her undivided dominion over the plains of drowsy, old Castile.

From this height, one does not notice the transformation of the Gothic into seventeenth-century edifices, nor the changes wrought by later centuries. In the glare of the dazzling sun, the tremulous atmosphere, and the lazy, curling smoke of the many chimneys, Burgos still seems Burgos of the Middle Ages, the royal city, mistress of the castles and sweeping plains, and the Cathedral is her stronghold.

She is very old,—tradition says, founded by Count Diego Rodriguez of Alava with the assistance of an Alfonso who ruled in Christian Oviedo towards the end of the ninth century. For many years his descendants, as well as the lords of the many castles strewn along the lonely hills north of the Sierra de Guadarrama, owed allegiance to Leon and the kingdom of the Asturias. Burgos finally threw off the yoke, and chose judges for rulers, until one of them, Ferdinand Gonzalez, assumed for himself and his successors the proud title of "Conde of Castile." Under his great-grandson, Ferdinand I, Castile and Leon were united in 1037, thus laying the foundations of the later monarchy. Burgos became a capital{35} city. Against the dark background of mediæval history and interwoven with many romantic legends, there stands out that greatest of Spanish heroes, the Cid Campeador. This Rodrigo Diaz was born near Burgos. The lady Zimena whom he married was daughter of a Count Diego Rodriguez of Oviedo, probably a descendant of the founder of the city. In the presence of the knights and nobles of Burgos, the Cid forced Alfonso VI to swear that he had no part in the murder of King Sancho, and in the royal city he was then elected King of Castile by the Commons (1071). Alfonso never forgave the Cid this humiliation, and later exiled him. To the Burgalese of to-day, he seems as living and real as he was to mediæval Castilians. Spanish histories and children will tell you of two things that make Burgos immortal—her Cathedral, and her motherhood to Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar.[4]

The importance of the city as a Christian centre becomes evident at the end of the eleventh century (1074), when it receives its own bishop, and shortly afterwards, fully equipped, convokes a church council to protest against the supplanting by the Latin of the earlier Mozarabic rite, so dear to the hearts of the people. The same Alfonso transferred his capital to the newly conquered Toledo and, contemporaneous with the great prosperity of Burgos during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, there was endless jealousy as to precedence, first between Burgos and{36} Toledo and afterwards between these and Valladolid. Burgos reaches the zenith of her power in the reign of Saint Ferdinand and the first half of the thirteenth century, though as late as 1349, Alfonso XI, in the assembled Cortes, still recognizes Burgos's claim as "first city" by calling on her to give her voice first,—"prima voce et fide," saying he would then speak for Toledo. Not long after, Valladolid overshadows them both.

The greatness of Burgos is that of the old Castilian kingdom; with its extinction came hers. Her flowering and expansion were contemporaneous with the most splendid period of Gothic art. Her day was a glorious one, before bigotry had laid its withering hand upon the arts, and while the rich imagination and skilled hands of Moorish and Jewish citizens still ennobled and embellished their capital city.


The present Cathedral is singularly picturesque and by far the most interesting of the three great Gothic Cathedrals of Spain,—Leon, Toledo, and Burgos. The interest is mainly due to her vigorous organism, an outcome of more essentially Spanish predilections (as well as a natural interpretation of the French importations) than we find in either of the sister churches. Later additions and ornamentation have naturally concealed and disfigured, but the old body is still there, admirable, fitting, and sane.

A.  Chapel of Santa Thecla. N. Minor Sacristy.
B.  Chapel of Santa Anna. O. Chapel of Saint Henry.
C.  Chapel of the Holy Birth. P. Altar.
D.  Chapel of the Annunciation. Q. Choir.
E.  Chapel of Saint Gregory. R. Chapel of the Presentation of the Virgin.
F.  Chapel of the Constable. S. Choir.
G.  Chapel of the Parish of St. James.         T. Golden Staircase.
H. Chapel of Saint John. U. Door of the Pellegeria.
I. Chapel of Saint Catherine. X. Door of the Sarmental.
K. Chapel of Jean Cuchiller. Y. Door of the Perdon.
L. Chapter House. Z. Door of the Apostles.
M.  Sacristy.

Burgos Cathedral is built upon a hillside, her walls hewn out of and climbing the sides of the mountain, {37}making it necessary either from north or south to approach her through long flights of stairs. What she loses in freedom and access, she certainly gains in picturesqueness. She is flesh of the flesh and blood of the blood of the city, scaling its heights like a great mother and drawing after her the surrounding houses which nestle to her sides. She would not gain in majesty by standing free in an open square, nor by receiving the sunlight on all sides. And so, though many later additions hide much of the early fabric, they combine with it to form a picturesque whole, a wonderful jewelled casket, a sparkling diadem set high on the royal brow of the city, such as possibly no other city of its size in Christendom can boast.

It was King Alfonso VI who at the end of the eleventh century gave his palace-ground for the erection of a Cathedral for the new Episcopal See. We know nothing of its design, nor whether it occupied exactly the same site as the later building. The early one must, however, have been a Romanesque Church;—what might not a later Romanesque Cathedral have been!—for the style had arrived at a point of vitally interesting promise and national development, when it was forced to recoil before the foreign invaders, the Benedictines and Cistercians.

Two great names are linked to the founding of the present Cathedral of Burgos, Saint Ferdinand and Bishop Maurice. The latter was bishop from 1213 to 1238, and probably an Englishman who came to Burgos in the train of the English Queen, Eleanor Plantagenet.[5] He was sent to Speyer as ambassador from the Spanish Court to bring back the Princess{38} Beatrice as bride for Saint Ferdinand. Maurice's mission took him through those parts of Germany and France where the enthusiasm for cathedral-building was at its height, and he had time to admire and study a forest of exquisite spires, newly reared, particularly while the young lady given him in charge was sumptuously entertained by King Philip Augustus. Naturally he returned to his native city burning with ardor to begin a similar work there, and probably brought with him master-builders and skilful artists of long training in Gothic church-building.

Queen Berengaria and King Ferdinand met the Suabian Princess at the frontier of Castile. The first ceremony was the conference of the Order of Knighthood, in the presence of all the "ricos hombres" (ruling men), the cavaliers of the kingdom with their wives and the burgesses. The sword was taken from the altar and girded on by the right noble lady Berengaria. We read that the other arms had been blessed by Bishop Maurice and were donned by the King with his own hands, no one else being high enough for the office. Three days later Ferdinand was married to "dulcissimam Domicellam" in the old Cathedral by the Bishop of Burgos without protest from the Primate of Castile, Archbishop Rodrigo of Toledo. This took place in 1219, and two years after King and Bishop laid the corner-stone of the new edifice.

The work must have been spurred on by all the religious ardor which fired the first half of the thirteenth century, for only nine years later services were held in the eastern end of the building. The good Bishop was laid to rest in the old choir, where {39}he still lies undisturbed, though to-day it is the Capilla Mayor. By the middle of the century, the great bulk of the old structure must have been well advanced. The lower portions of the towers and the eastern termination are fourteenth-century work; the spires themselves, fifteenth. A multitude of changes and additions, new chapels and buildings, gradually, as years went on, transformed the primitive plan from its first harmony and beauty to a confused mass of aisles, vaults, and chapels. When we compare the present fabric with the early plan, we see with what masterly skill and simplicity the original one was conceived.

All that is left or can be seen of this first structure is splendid. Though built in the second period of the great northern style, it has none of the lightness of the French churches which were going up simultaneously, nor even that of Spanish Leon or Toledo. It has heavy supporting walls and is of the family of the early French with a magnificently powerful and efficient system of piers and buttresses. It is not free from a certain Romanesque feeling in its general lines, its windows, and in many of its details. Though a splendid type of Gothic construction, this first church is a convincing proof that the nervous, subtle, fully developed system was foreign to Spanish taste. The complicated solutions, the intricate planning, were not in accordance with their temper nor predilections. Rheims may be said to express the radical temper of its French builders, Burgos, the conservative Spanish. In Spain, construction and artistic principles did not go hand in hand in the glorious manner they were wont to in France. Burgos seems much{40} more emotional than sensitive. Riotous excess and empty display take the place of restrained and appropriate decoration. The organic dependence which should exist between sculpture and architecture, so invariably present in the early French church, is lacking in Burgos. A careful analysis is interesting. It reveals the fusion of foreign elements, the severe monastic of the Cistercians and the later sumptuous secular style, the florid intricacy of the German, the glory of the Romanesque, the dryness of its revival and the bombast of the Plateresque, all more or less transformed by what Spaniards could and would do. In its construction and buttresses, it recalls Sens and Saint-Denis; in its nave, Chartres; in its vaulting, the Angevine School. The symmetry of the early plan is fascinating, and Señor Lamperez y Romea's sincere and beautiful reconstruction must be a faithful reproduction. It makes the side aisles quite free, the broad transepts to consist of two bays, while the crossing is carried by piers heavy enough to support an ordinary vault but not a majestic lantern. Five perfectly formed radial chapels surround the polygonal ambulatory and are continued towards the crossing by three rectangular chapels on each side. The vaulting of nave and transepts is throughout sexpartite; that of the side aisles, quadripartite. Most of this has, as will be seen, been profoundly modified.

CATHEDRAL OF BURGOS View of the nave

Photo by J. Lacoste, Madrid

View of the nave

The old structure is the kernel of the present church. It consists of a central nave of six bays up to a strongly marked crossing and three beyond, terminating in a pentagonal apse. The side aisles are decidedly lower and continue across the transept{41} round the apse. These again are flanked on the west by the chapel churches of Santa Tecla, Santa Anna, and the Presentacion, as well as by a number of other smaller, vaulted compartments. Only two of the radial chapels outside the polygonal ambulatory remain, the others having been altered or supplanted by the great Chapels of the Constable, of Santiago, Santa Catarina, Corpus Christi, and the Cloisters. The western front is entered by a triple doorway corresponding to nave and side aisles; the southern transept, by an incline 40 feet wide, broken by 28 steps. On reaching the door of the northern transept, one finds the ground risen outside the church some 26 feet above the level of the inner pavement, and instead of descending by the interior staircase, one wanders far to the northeast, there to descend to a portal in the north of the eastern transept. The whole church is about 300 feet long, and in general 83 feet wide, the transepts, 194 feet.

The piers under the crossing, as well as those of the first bay inside the western entrance, are much larger than the others, in order to support the additional weight of crossing and towers, and the piers, abutting aisle and transept walls, are also unusually strong. The interior pillars are of massive cylindrical plan, of well-developed French Gothic type, solid, but kept from any appearance of heaviness by their form and by eight engaged columns. The ornamented bases are high and of characteristic Gothic moldings. The finely carved capitals carry square abaci in the side aisles and circular ones in the nave. Both abaci and bases have been placed at right angles to the arches they support. The three engaged pier columns{42} facing the nave carry the transverse and diagonal groining ribs, while the wall ribs are met by shafts on each side of the clerestory windows.

The four main supports at the angles of the crossing are rather towers than piers. In the original structure, they were probably counterparts of those supporting the inner angles of the tower between nave and side aisles, with a fully developed system of shafts for the support of the various groining ribs. With the collapse of the old crossing and the consequent erection of an even bulkier and far more weighty superstructure, tremendous circular supports upon octagonal bases were substituted. They are thoroughly Plateresque in feeling, 50 feet in circumference and delicately fluted and ribbed as they descend, with Renaissance ornaments on the pedestals and similar statues under Gothic canopies, evidently inserted in their faces as a compromise to the surrounding earlier style.

Glancing up at the superstructure and vaulting, there is a great consciousness of light and joy,—a feeling that it would have been well-nigh perfect, if the choir and its rejas could only have remained in their old proper place east of the crossing, instead of sadly congesting a nave magnificent in length and size. The brightness is due, partly to the stone itself, almost white when first quarried from Ontoria, and partly to the uncolored glass in the greater portion of the clerestory. Here and there the masonry has the mellow tones of meerschaum, shaded with pinkish and lava-gray tints, but the effect is rather that of ancient marble than of limestone. The interior, compared to Toledo, is a bride beside a nun.{43} Granting the loss of original simplicity and a rather distressing mixture of two styles, the combination has been handled with a skill and genius peculiarly Spanish and therefore picturesque. The austerity of the French prototype has been replaced by joyousness and regal splendor. If we examine carefully the older portions of the interior structure and carving as well as the traces of parts that have disappeared, we feel how very French it is, and undoubtedly erected without assistance from Moorish hands. The vaulting is like some of the French, very rounded, especially in the side aisles. It is all plain excepting under the dome and the vaults immediately abutting, where additional ribs were evidently added at a later time. The vaulting ribs of the main arches start unusually low down, almost on a level with the top of the triforium windows, giving the church relatively a much lower effect than Leon or the French Rheims or Amiens.

Both triforium and clerestory are very fine, especially in the nave, where, although they have undergone alterations, these are less radical than in the Capilla Mayor. The triforium, which is early thirteenth-century work, is strikingly singular. Its narrow gallery is covered by a continuous barrel vault parallel to the nave. Six slender columns divide its seven arches, while above them are trefoil and quatrefoil penetrations contained within a segmental arch, broken by carved heads. The fine old shafts, separating the trefoiled or quatrefoiled arcade, are hidden by crocketed pinnacles and a traceried balcony. The triforium east of the crossing has only four arches, with much later traceried work above. The{44} charming old simplicity is of course lost wherever gaudy carving has been added, but the oldest portions belong decidedly to the early Gothic work of northern France. Above rises the clerestory in its early vigor, with comparatively small windows, consisting of two arches and a rose.

Probably the crossing had originally a vault somewhat more elaborate than the others, or, possibly, even a small lantern. To emphasize the crossing, both internally and externally, was always a peculiar delight to Spanish builders. This characteristic was admirably adapted to Romanesque churches and in the Gothic was still felt to be essential, but Burgos shared the fate of Seville and the new Cathedral of Salamanca. The old writer, Cean Bermudez, relates that "the same disaster befell the crossing of Burgos that had happened to Seville,—it collapsed entirely in the middle of the night on the 3d of March, 1539. At that time the Bishop was the Cardinal D. Fray Juan Alvarez de Toledo, famous for the many edifices which he erected and among them S. Esteban of Salamanca. Owing to the zeal of the Prelate and the Chapter and the piety of the generous Burgalese, the rebuilding began the same year. They called upon Maestro Felipe, who was assisted in the planning and construction by Juan de Vallejo and Juan de Castanela, architects of the Cathedral. Felipe died at Toledo, after completing the bas-reliefs of the choir stalls. The Chapter honored his memory in a worthy manner, for they placed in the same choir under the altar of the Descent from the Cross this epitaph: 'Philippus Burgundio statuarius, qui ut manu sanctorum effigies, ita mores animo exprimebat:{45} subsellis chori struendis itentus, opere pene absoluto, immoritur.'"[6]

In place of the old dome rose one of the most marvelous and richest structures in Spain, a crowning glory to the heavenly shrine. It is at once a mountain of patience and a burst of Spanish pomp and pride. It is the labor of giants, daringly executed and lavishly decorated. "The work of angels," said Philip II. Nothing less could have called forth such an exclamation from those acrimonious lips and jaded eyes. The men who designed and erected it were the best known in Spain. There was Philip, the Burgundian sculptor with exquisite and indefatigable chisel, who had come to Spain in the train of the Emperor. Vallejo, one of the famous council that sat at Salamanca, had with Castanela erected the triumphal arch which appeased Charles's wrath kindled against the citizens of Burgos, and is even to-day, after the Cathedral, the city's most familiar landmark. In the year 1567, twenty-eight years after the falling of the first lantern, the new one towered completed in its place. It was a magnificent attempt at a blending, or rather a reconciliation, of the Renaissance and the Gothic. There is the character of one and the form of the other. Gothic trefoil arches and traceries are carried by classical columns. Renaissance balustrades and panels intermingle with crockets and bosses, and Florentine panels and statues with Gothic canopies. They are so interwoven that the careful student of architecture feels himself in a nightmare of styles and different centuries. It was of course an undertaking doomed to failure.{46}

The outline is octagonal. Above the pendentives, forming the transition of the octagon, comes a double frieze of armorial bearings (those of Burgos and Charles V) and inscriptions, and a double clerestory, separated and supported by classical balustraded passages; the window splays and heads are a complete mass of carving and decorations. The vaulting itself contains within its bold ribs and segments an infinite variety of stars, as if one should see the panes of heaven covered with frosty patterns of a clear winter morning.

Théophile Gautier's description of it is interesting as an expression of the effect it produced on a man of artistic emotions rather than trained architectural feeling: "En levant la tête," he says, "on aperçoit une espèce de dôme formé par l'intérieur de la tour,—c'est un groupe de sculpture, d'arabesques, de statues, de colonettes, de nervures, de lancettes, de pendentifs, a vous donner le vertige. On regarderait deux ans qu'on n'aurait pas tout vu. C'est touffu comme un chou, fenestré comme une truelle à poisson; c'est gigantesque comme une pyramide et délicat comme une boucle d'oreille de femme, et l'on ne peut comprendre qu'un semblable filigrane puisse se soutenir en l'air depuis des siècles."

CATHEDRAL OF BURGOS Lantern over crossing

Photo by J. Lacoste, Madrid

Lantern over crossing

The work immediately around and underneath this gigantic effort is really the earliest part of the church, for, as was usual, the portion indispensable for services was begun first. The transepts, the abutting vaults, the southern and possibly the northern entrance fronts, undoubtedly all belong to the work carried so rapidly forward by Bishop Maurice's contagious enthusiasm. The work of the transepts is very {47}similar to that in the nave, but, in the former, one obtains really a much finer view of the receding bays north and south than in the nave with its choir obstruction. The huge rose of the south transept, placed directly under the arch of the vaulting, is a splendid specimen of a Gothic wheel. Its tracery is composed of a series of colonettes radiating from centre to circumference, every two of which form, as it were, a separate window tracery of central mullion, two arches and upper rose. The other windows of the transepts are, barring their later alterations, typically thirteenth-century Gothic, high and narrow with colonettes in their jambs. While the glazing of the great southern rose is a perfect burst of glory, that of the northern transept arm is later and very mediocre.

There is a little chapel opening to the east out of the northern transept arm which is full of interest from the fact that it belongs to the original, early thirteenth-century structure. Probably there was a corresponding one in the southern arm, with groining equally remarkable. The northern transept arm is filled by the great Renaissance "golden staircase" leading to the Puerta de la Coroneria, now always closed. It must have been a magnificent spectacle to see the purple and scarlet robes of priest and prelate sweep down the divided arms of the stair uniting in the broad flight at the bottom. Such an occasion was the marriage in 1268 of the Infante Ferdinand, son of Alfonso the Wise, to Blanche of France, a niece of Saint Louis. The learned monarch ever had a lavish hand, and he spared no expense to dazzle his distinguished guests, among whom were the King of{48} Aragon and Philip, heir to the French throne. Ferdinand was first armed chevalier by his father, and the marriage was then celebrated in the Cathedral of Burgos with greater pomp and magnificence than had ever before been seen in Spain.

The gilt metal railing is as exquisite in workmanship as in design, carried out by Diego de Siloé, who was the architect of the Cathedral in the beginning of the sixteenth century. There is also a lovely door in the eastern wall of the southern transept, now leading to the great cloisters. The portal itself is early work of the fourteenth century, with the Baptism of Christ in the tympanum, the Annunciation and David and Isaiah in the panels, all of early energy and vitality, as full of feeling as simplicity. And the extraordinary detail of the wooden doors themselves, executed a century and a half later by order of the quizzical-looking old Bishop of Acuna, now peacefully sleeping in the chapel of Santa Anna, is as beautiful an example of wood-carving as we have left us from this period. If Ghiberti's door was the front gate of paradise, this was certainly worthy to be a back gate, and well worth entering, should the front be found closed.

The choir occupies at present as much as one half the length of nave from crossing to western front, or the length of three bays. With its massive Corinthian colonnade, masonry enclosure and rejas rising to the height of the triforium, it is a veritable church within a church. The stalls, mostly Philip of Burgundy's work from about the year 1500, surround the old tomb of the Cathedral's noble founder. As usual, the carvings are elaborate scenes from Bible history{49} and saintly lore,—over the upper stalls, principally from the old Testament, and above the lower, from the New.

A very remarkable family of German architects have left their indelible stamp upon Burgos Cathedral. In 1435 a prominent Hebrew of the tribe of Levi died as Bishop of the See, and was succeeded by his son, Alfonso de Cartagena. Alfonso not only followed in his father's footsteps, but became one of the most renowned churchmen in Spain during the early years of Ferdinand of Aragon. And he looks it too, as he lies to-day near the entrance to his old palace, in fine Flemish lace, mitre covered with pearls, and sparkling, jewelled crozier. As Chancellor of Spain, Alfonso was sent to the Council of Basle, and thereafter, like his predecessor Maurice, he returned to Burgos, bringing with him visions of church-building such as he had never dreamed of before and the architect Juan de Colonia.

The Plateresque style was rapidly developing towards the effulgence so in harmony with Spanish taste. Interwoven and fused with the work Juan was familiar with from his native country, he and his sons, Simon and Diego, encouraged and royally assisted by Alfonso and his successor, D. Luis of Acuna, set about to erect some of the most striking and wonderful portions of Burgos Cathedral,—the towers of the façade, the first lantern and the Chapel of the Constable.

The Chapel of Don Pedro Fernandez de Velasco, Count of Haro and Constable of Castile, was not erected with pious intent, but to the immortal fame of the {50}Constable and his wife. In the centre of the chapel-church on a low base lie the Count and Countess. The white Carrara of the figures is strangely vivid against the dark marble on which they rest, and all is colored by the sunlight striking down through the stained glass. It is very regal. The Constable is clad in full Florentine armor, his hands clasping his sword and his mantle about his shoulders. The carving of the flesh and the veining, and especially the strong knuckles of the hands, are astonishing. The fat cushions of the forefinger and thumb seem to swell and the muscles to contract in their grip on the cross of the hilt. The robe of his spouse, Doña Mencia de Mendoza, is richly studded with pearls, her hand clasps a rosary, while, on the folds of her skirt, her little dog lies peacefully curled up.

CATHEDRAL OF BURGOS The Golden Staircase

Photo by J. Lacoste, Madrid

The Golden Staircase

The plan of the chapel is an irregular hexagon. It should have been octagonal, but the western sides have not been carried through and end in a broad-armed vestibule, which by rights should be the radial chapel upon the extreme eastern axis of the whole church. Above the vaulting early German pendentives are inserted in the three faulty and five true angles in order to bring the plan into the octagonal vaulting form. The builder seems almost to have made himself difficulties that he might solve them by a tour-de-force. A huge star-fish closes the vault. The recumbent statues face an altar. The remaining sides are subdivided by typically Plateresque band-courses and immense coats-of-arms of the Haro and Mendoza families. The upper surfacing is broken by a clerestory with exquisite, old stained glass. It is melancholy to see tombs of such splendid execution crushed by meaningless, empty display, out of all {51}scale, vulgar, gesticulating, and theatrical, especially so when one notices with what extraordinary mechanical skill much of the detail has been carved. It thrusts itself on your notice even up to the vaulting ribs, which the architect, not satisfied to have meet, actually crossed before they descend upon the capitals below.

The reja closing the chapel off from the apse is among the finest of the Renaissance, the masterpiece of Cristobal Andino, wrought in the year 1523. Curiously enough, the supporters of the shield above might have been modeled by Burne-Jones instead of the mediæval smith.

The interior could not always have been as light and cheerful as at present, for probably all the windows were more or less filled with stained glass from the workshops of the many "vidrieros" for which Burgos was so renowned that even other cathedral cities awarded her the contracts for their glazing. The foreign masters of Burgos were accustomed to see their arches and sculpture mellowed and illumined by rainbow lights from above, and surely here too it was of primary importance.

After the horrible powder explosion of 1813, when the French soldiers blew up the old fortress, making the whole city tremble and totter, the agonized servants of the church found the marble pavements strewn with the glorious sixteenth-century crystals that had been shattered above. They were religiously collected and, where possible, reinserted in new fields.

Chapels stud the ground around the old edifice. The Cloisters, a couple of chapels north of the chevet{52} and small portions here and there, rose with the transepts and the original thirteenth-century structure, but all the others were erected by the piety or pride of later ages or have been transformed by succeeding generations. Their vaulting illustrates every period of French and German Gothic as well as Plateresque art, while their names are taken from a favorite saint or biblical episode or the illustrious founders. The fifteenth century was especially sedulous, building chapels as a rich covering for the splendid Renaissance tombs of its spiritual and temporal lords. They are carved with the admirable skill and genius emanating once more from Italy. The Castilian Constable and his spouse, Bishop Alfonso de Cartagena (in the Capilla de la Visitacion), Bishop Antonia de Velasco, the eminent historian-archbishop (in the Sacristia Nueva), are splendid marbles of the classic revival. They must all have been portraits: for instance Bishop Gonzalvo de Lerma, who sleeps peacefully in the Chapel of the Presentacion; his fat, pursed lips and baggy eyelids are firmly closed, and his soft, double chin reposes in two neat folds upon the jeweled surplice. So, too, Fernando de Villegas, who lies in the north transept and whose scholarly face still seems to shine with the inner light which prompted him to give his people the great Florentine's Divine Comedy.

The poetry and romance that cling to these illustrious dead are equally present as you pass through the lovely Gothic portal into the cloisters which fill the southeastern angle of the church and stand by the figures of the great Burgalese that lie back of the old Gothic railings in many niches of the arcades. To{53} judge from the inscriptions they would, if they could speak, be able to tell us of every phase in their city's religious and political struggles, from the age of Henry II down to the decay of Burgos. Saints, bishops, princes, warriors, and architects lie beneath the beautiful, double-storied arcade. Here lies Pedro Sanchez, the architect, Don Gonzalo of Burgos, and Diego de Santander, and here stand the effigies of Saint Ferdinand and Beatrice of Suabia. The very first church had a cloister to the west of the transept, now altered into chapels. For some reason, early in the fourteenth century, the present cloister was built east of the south transept and with as lovely Gothic arches as are to be found in Spain. We read of great church and state processions, marching under its vaults in 1324, so then it must have been practically completed. Later on the second story was added, much richer and more ornate than the lower. The oldest masonry, with its delicate tracery of four arches and three trefoiled roses to each arcade, seems to have been virtually eaten away by time. New leaves and moldings are being set to-day to replace the old. The pure white, native stone, so easy to carve into spirited crockets and vigorous strings similar to the old, stands out beside the sooty, time-worn blocks, as the fresh sweetness of a child's cheek laid against the weather-beaten furrows of the grand-parent. A careful scrutiny of all the details shows in what a virile age this work was executed. The groining ribs are of fine outline, the key blocks are starred, the foliage is spirited both in capitals and in the cusps of the many arches, the details are carefully molded and distributed, and the early statues in the internal{54} angles and in places against the groining ribs are of rich treatment, strong feeling, and in attitude equal to some of the best French Gothic of the same period. The door that leads out of the cloisters into the old sacristy with the Descent from the Cross in its tympanum is truly a beautiful piece of this Gothic work.

While these cloisters lie to the east, the broad terraces leading to the glorious, southern transept entrance are flanked to the west by the Archbishop's Palace, whose bare sides, gaudy Renaissance doorway and monstrous episcopal arms, repeated at various stages, hide the entire southwestern angle of the church.

Between the cloisters and the Archbishop's Palace at the end of the broad terraces, rises the masonry facing the southern transept arm. It belongs, together with that of the northern, to the oldest portions of the early fabric erected while Maurice was bishop and a certain "Enrique" architect, and shows admirable thirteenth-century work. The Sarmentos family, great in the annals of this century, owned the ground immediately surrounding this transept arm. As a reward for their concession of it to the church, the southern portal was baptized the "Puerta del Sarmental," and they were honored with burial ground within the church's holy precincts. It cannot be much changed, but stands to-day in its original loveliness.

CATHEDRAL OF BURGOS The Chapel of the Constable

Photo by A. Vadillo

The Chapel of the Constable

A statue of the benign-looking founder of the church stands between the two doors, which on the outer sides are flanked by Moses, Aaron, Saint Peter and Saint Paul, and the two saints so beloved by Spaniards, Saint James and Saint Philip. The archivolts {55}surrounding the tympanum are filled by a heavenly host of angels, all busied with celestial occupations, playing instruments, swinging censers, carrying candelabra, or flapping their wings. Both statues and moldings are of character and outline similar to French work of this best period, nevertheless of a certain distinctly Spanish feeling. The literary company of the tympanum is full of movement and simple charm. In the lowest plane are the twelve Apostles, all, with the exception of two who are conversing, occupied with expounding the Gospels; in the centre is Christ, reading to four Evangelists who surround him as lion, bull, eagle and angel; finally, highest up, two monks writing with feverish haste in wide-open folios, while an angel lightens their labor with the perfume from a swinging censer.

It is sculpture, rich in effect, faithful in detail and of strong expression, admirably placed in relation to the masonry it ornaments. It has none of the whimsical irrelevancy to surroundings characterizing so much of the work to follow, nor its hasty execution. It is not meaningless carving added indefinitely and senselessly repeated, but every bit of it embellishes the position it occupies. Above the portal the stonework is broken and crowned by an exquisite, early rose window and the later, disproportionately high parapet of angels and free-standing quatrefoiled arches and ramps.

The northern doorway, almost as rich in names as in sculpture, is as fine as the southern, so far below it on the hillside. It is called the Doorway of the Apostles from the twelve still splendidly preserved statues, six of which flank it on each side. It is also named the{56} Door of the Coroneria, but to the Burgalese it is known simply as the Puerta Alta, or the "high door." The door proper with its frame is a later makeshift for the original, thirteenth-century one. On a base-course in the form of an arcade with almost all its columns likewise gone, stand in monumental size the Twelve Apostles. The drapery is handled differently on each figure, but with equal excellence; the faces, so full of expression and character, stand out against great halos and represent the apostles of all ages. Similar in treatment to the southern door, the archivolts here are filled with a series of fine statues. There are angels in the two inner arches and in the outer, and the naked figures of the just are rising from their sepulchres in the most astonishing attitudes. The tympanum is also practically a counterpart of the southern one, only here in its centre the predominating figure of the Saviour is set between the Virgin and Saint John.

As the Puerta Alta is so high above the church pavement, and ingress would in daily use have proved difficult, the great door of the Pellejeria was cut in the northeastern arm of the transept at the end of the furriers' street, and down a series of moss-grown, cobblestone planes the Burgalese could gain entrance to their church from this side. The great framework of architecture which encases it is so astonishingly different from the work above and around it that one can scarcely believe it possible that they belong to one and the same building. It is a tremendous piece of Plateresque carving, as exquisite as it is out of place, erected through the munificence of the Archbishop Don Juan Rodriguez{57} de Fonseca in 1514 by the architect Francisco de Colonia. It might have stood in Florence, and most of it might have been set against a Tuscan church at the height of the Renaissance. There is everywhere an overabundance of luxurious detail and rich carving. Between the entablatures and columns stand favorite saints. The Virgin and Child are adored by a very well-fed, fat-jowled bishop and musical angels. In one of the panels the sword is about to descend on the neck of the kneeling Saint John. In another, some unfortunate person has been squeezed into a hot cauldron too small for his naked body, while bellows are applied to the fagots underneath it and hot tar is poured on his head. While the whole work is thoroughly Renaissance, there is here and there a curious Gothic feeling to it, from which the carvers, surrounded and inspired by so much of the earlier art, seem to have been unable to free themselves. This appears in the figure ornamentation in the archivolts around the circular-headed opening, the angel heads that cut it as it were into cusps and the treatment and feeling of some of the figures in the larger panels.

The exterior of Santa Maria is very remarkable. It is a wonderful history of late Gothic and early Renaissance carving. The only clearing whence any freedom of view and perspective may be had is to the west, in front of the late fifteenth-century spires, but wherever one stands, whether in the narrow alleys to the southeast, or above, or below in the sloping city, the three great masses that rise above the cathedral roof, of spires, cimborio, and the Constable's Lantern, dominate majestically all around them.{58} If one stands at the northeast, above the terraces that descend to the Pellejeria door, each of the three successive series of spires that rise one above the other far to the westward might be the steeple of its own mighty church. The two nearest are composed of an infinite number of finely crocketed turrets, tied together by a sober, Renaissance bulk; that furthest off shoots its twin spires in Gothic nervousness airily and unchecked into the sky, showing the blue of the heavens through its flimsy fabric. Between them, tying the huge bulk together, stretch the buttresses, the sinews and muscles of the organism, far less marked and apparent, however, than is ordinarily the case. At various stages above and around, crowning and banding towers, chapels, apse, naves, and transepts, run the many balconies. They are Renaissance in form, but also Gothic in detail and feeling. Like the masts of a great harbor, an innumerable forest of carved and stony trunks rise from every angle, buttress, turret, and pier. In among them, facing their carved trunks and crowning their tops, peeping out from the myriads of stony branches, stands a heavenly legion of saints and martyrs. Crowned and celestial kings and angels people this petrified forest of such picturesque and exuberant beauty.

CATHEDRAL OF BURGOS The spires above the house-tops

Photo by A. Vadillo

The spires above the house-tops

The general mass that rises above the roofs, now flat and covered with reddish ochre tiles, is, whatever may be the defects of its detail, almost unique in its lavish richness. The spires rest upon the house-tops of Burgos like the jeweled points of a monarch's crown. The detail is so profuse that it well-nigh defies analysis. It seems as if the four corners of the earth must for generations have been ransacked to {59}find a sufficient number of carvers for the sculpture. The closer one examines it, the more astonishing is the infinite labor. Rich, crocketed cornices support the numerous, crowning balconies. Figure on figure stands against the many sides of the four great turrets that brace the angles of the cimborio, against the eight turrets that meet its octagon, on the corners of spires, under the parapets crowning the transepts, under the canopied angles of the Constable's Lantern, on balconies, over railings, and on balustrades. Crockets cover the walls like feathers on the breast of a bird. It surely is the temple of the Lord of Hosts, the number of whose angels is legion. It is confused, bewildering, over-done and spectacular, lacking in character and sobriety, sculptural fire-works if you will, a curious mixture of the passing and the coming styles, but nevertheless it is wonderful, and the age that produced it, one of energy and vitality. Curiously enough, the transepts have no flying, but mere heavy, simple buttresses to meet their thrusts. The ornamentation of the lower wall surfaces is in contrast to the superstructure, barren or meaningless. On the plain masonry of the lower walls of the Constable's Chapel stretch gigantic coats-of-arms. Knights support their heads as well as the arms of the nobles interred within. Life-sized roaring lions stand valiantly beside their wheels like immortally faithful mariners. Above, an exquisitely carved, German Gothic balustrade acts as a base for the double clerestory. The angle pinnacles are surrounded by the Fathers of the Church and crowned by angels holding aloft the symbol of the Cross. The gargoyles look like peacefully slumbering cows with unchewed cuds protruding{60} from their stony jaws. Tufts of grass and flowers have sprung from the seeds borne there by the winds of centuries.

Outside the Chapel of Sant Iago are more huge heraldic devices: knights in full armor and lions lifting by razor-strops, as if in some test of strength, great wheels encircling crosses. Above them, gargoyles leer demoniacally over the heads of devout cherubim. In the little street of Diego Porcello, named for the great noble who still protects his city from the gate of Santa Maria, nothing can be seen of the great church but bare walls separated from the adjacent houses by a dozen feet of dirty cobblestones. Ribs of the original chapels that once flanked the eastern end, behind the present chapels of Sant Iago and Santa Catarina, have been broken off flat against the exterior walls, and the cusps of the lower arches have been closed.

Thus the fabric has been added to, altered, mutilated or embellished by foreign masters as well as Spanish hands. Who they all were, when and why they wrought, is not easy to discover. Enrique, Juan Perez, Pedro Sanchez, Juan Sanchez de Molina, Martin Fernandez, Juan and Francisco de Colonia and Juan de Vallejo, all did their part in the attempt to make Santa Maria of Burgos the loveliest church of Spain.

The mighty western façade rises in a confined square where acacia trees lift their fresh, luxuriant heads above the dust. The symmetry of the towers, the general proportions of the mass, the subdivisions and relationship of the stories, the conception as a whole, clearly show that it belongs to an age of triumph{61} and genius, in spite of the disfigurements of later vandals, as well as essentially foreign masters. It is of queenly presence, a queen in her wedding robes with jewels all over her raiment, the costliest of Spanish lace veiling her form and descending from her head, covered with its costly diadem.

North and south the towers are very similar and practically of equal height, giving a happily balanced and uniform general appearance. The lowest stage, containing the three doorways leading respectively into north aisle, nave, and south aisle, has been horribly denuded and disfigured by the barbarous eighteenth century, which boasted so much and created so little. It removed the glorious, early portico, leaving only bare blocks of masonry shorn of sculpture. No greater wrong could have been done the church. In the tympanum above the southern door, the vandals mercifully left a Coronation of the Virgin, and in the northern one, the Conception, while in the piers, between these and the central opening, four solitary statues of the two kings, Alfonso VI and Saint Ferdinand, and the two bishops, Maurice and Asterio, are all that remain of the early glories. The central door is called the Doorway of Pardon.

One can understand the bigotry of Henry V and the Roundheads, which in both cases wrought frightful havoc in art, but it is truly incomprehensible that mere artistic conceit in the eighteenth century could compass such destruction. The second tier of the screen facing the nave, below a large pointed arch, is broken by a magnificent rose. Above this are two finely traceried and subdivided arches with eight statues set in between the lowest shafts.{62} The central body is crowned by an open-work balustrade forming the uppermost link between the towers. The Virgin with Child reigns in the centre between the carved inscription, "Pulchra es et decora." Three rows of pure, ogival arches, delicate, and attenuated, break the square sides of the towers above the entrance portals; blind arches, spires and statues ornament the angles. Throughout, the splays and jambs are filled with glittering balls of stone. Inscriptions similar in design to that finishing the screen which hides the roof lines crown the platform of the towers below the base of the spires.

The towers remained without steeples for over two hundred years until the good Bishop Alfonso de Cartagena, returning to his city in 1442 from the Council of Basle, brought with him the German, Juan de Colonia. Bishop Alfonso was not to see their completion, for he died fourteen years later, but his successor, Don Luis de Acuna, immediately ordered the work continued and saw the figures of Saint Peter and Saint Paul placed on the uppermost spires, three hundred feet above the heads of the worshipping multitude.

The spires themselves, essentially German in character, are far from beautiful, perforated on all sides by Gothic tracery of multitudinous designs, too weak to stand without the assistance of iron tie rods, the angles filled with an infinite number of coarse, bold crockets breaking the outlines as they converge into the blue.

When prosperity came again to Burgos, as to many other Spanish cities, it was owing to the wise enactments of Isabella the Catholic. The concordat of 1851{63} enumerated nine archbishoprics in Spain, among which Burgos stands second on the list.

Such is Burgos, serenely beautiful, rich and exultant, the apotheosis of the Spanish Renaissance as well as studded with exquisitely beautiful Gothic work. She is mighty and magnificent, speaking perhaps rather to the senses than the heart, but in a language which can never be forgotten. Although various epochs created her, radically different in their means and methods, still there is a certain intangible unity in her gorgeous expression and a unique picturesqueness in her dazzling presence.{64} {65}






Photo by J. Lacoste, Madrid


I lift mine eyes, and all the windows blaze
With forms of saints and holy men who died,
Here martyred and hereafter glorified;
And the great Rose upon its leaves displays
Christ's Triumph, and the angelic roundelays
With splendor upon splendor multiplied.

THE Cathedral of San Salvador is the strongest link in the chain that encircles the city of Avila,—"cuidad de Castilla la vieja." Avila lies on a ridge in the corner of a great, undulating plain, clothed with fields of grain, bleached light yellow at harvest, occasional groups of ilex and straggling pine and dusty olives scrambling up and down the slopes. Beyond is the hazy grayish-green of stubble and dwarfed woodland, with blue peaks closing the horizon. To the south rises the Sierra Gredos, and eastwards, in the direction of Segovia, the Sierra de Guadarrama. The narrow, murky Adaja that loiters through the upland plain is quite insufficient to water the thirsty land. Thistles and scrub oak dot the rocky fields. Here and there migratory flocks of sheep nibble their way across the unsavory stubble, while the dogs longingly turn their heads after whistling quails and the passing hunter.

The crenelated, ochre walls and bastions that, like a string of amber beads, have girdled the little city{68} since its early days, remain practically unbroken, despite the furious sieges she has sustained and the battles in which her lords were engaged for ten centuries. As many as eighty-six towers crown, and no less than ten gateways pierce, the walls which follow the rise or fall of the ground on which the city has been compactly and narrowly constructed for safest defense. It must look to-day almost exactly as it did to the approaching armies of the Middle Ages, except that the men-at-arms are gone. The defenses are so high that what is inside is practically hidden from view and all that can be seen of the city so rich in saints and stones[7] are the loftiest spires of her churches.

To the Romans, Avela, to the Moors, Abila, the ancient city, powerfully garrisoned, lay in the territory of the Vaccæi and belonged to the province of Hispania Citerior. During three later centuries, from time to time she became Abila, and one of the strongest outposts of Mussulman defense against the raids of Christian bands from the north. Under both Goths and Saracens, Avila belonged to the province of Merida. At a very early date she boasted an episcopal seat, mentioned in church councils convoked during the seventh century, but, during temporary ascendencies of the Crescent, she vanishes from ecclesiastical history. For a while Alfonso I held the city against the Moors, but not until the reign of Alfonso VI did she permanently become "Avila del rey," and the quarterings of her arms, "a king appearing at the window of a tower," were left unchallenged on her walls.

A.   Capilla Mayor.     D.   Towers.
B. Crossing. E. Main Entrance.
C. Cloisters. F. Northern Portal.

By the eleventh century the cities of Old Castile {69}were ruined and depopulated by the ravages of war. Even the walls of Avila were well-nigh demolished, when Count Raymond laid them out anew and with the blessing of Bishop Pedro Sanchez they rose again in the few years between 1090 and the turning of the century. The material lay ready to hand in the huge granite boulders sown broadcast on the bleak hills around Avila, and from these the walls were rebuilt, fourteen feet thick with towers forty feet high. The old Spanish writer Cean Bermudez describes this epoch of Avila's history.

"When," he says, "Don Alfonso VI won Toledo, he had in continuous wars depopulated Segovia, Avila and Salamanca of their Moorish inhabitants. He gave his son-in-law, the Count Don Raymond of the house of Burgundy, married to the Princess Doña Urraca, the charge to repeople them. Avila had been so utterly destroyed that the soil was covered with stones and the materials of its ruined houses. To rebuild and repopulate it, the Count brought illustrious knights, soldiers, architects, officials and gentlemen from Leon, the Asturias, Vizcaya and France, and from other places. They began to construct the walls in 1090, 800 men working from the very beginning, and among them were many masters who came from Leon and Vizcaya. All obeyed Casandro Romano and Florin de Pituenga, Masters of Geometry, as they are called in the history of this population, which is attributed to the Bishop of Oviedo, D. Pilayo, who lived at that time and who treats of these things."

During these perilous years, Count Raymond wisely lodged his masons in different quarters of the{70} city, grouping them according to the locality they came from, whether from Cantabria, the Asturias, or the territory of Burgos.

A nobility, as quarrelsome as it was powerful, must have answered Count Raymond's call for new citizens, for during centuries to come, the streets, like those of mediæval Siena and Florence, constantly ran with the blood of opposing factions. Warring families dared walk only certain streets after nightfall, and battles were carried on between the different castles and in the streets as between cities and on battlefields. In the quarrels between royal brothers and cousins, Avila played a very prominent part. The nurse and protectress of their tender years, and the guardian of their childhood through successive reigns of Castilian kings, she became a very vital factor in the fortunes of kings, prelates, and nobles. In feuds like those of Don Pedro and his brother Enrique II, she was a turbulent centre. Great figures in Spanish history ruled from her episcopal throne, especially during the thirteenth century. There was Pedro, a militant bishop and one of the most valiant on the glorious battlefield of Las Navas; Benilo, lover of and beloved by Saint Ferdinand; and Aymar, the loyal champion of Alfonso the Wise through dark as well as sunny hours.

The Jews and the Moriscoes here, as wherever else their industrious fingers and ingenious minds were at work, did much more than their share towards the prosperity and development of the city. The Jews especially became firmly established in their useful vocations, filling the king's coffers so abundantly that the third of their tribute, which he granted to{71} the Bishop, was not appreciably felt, except in times of armament and war. With the fanatical expulsion of first one, and then the other, race, the city's prosperity departed. Their place was filled by the bloodhounds of the Inquisition, who held their very first, terrible tribunal in the Convent of Saint Thomas, blighting the city and surrounding country with a new and terrible curse. The great rebellion under the Emperor Charles burst from the smouldering wrath of Avila's indignant citizens, and in 1520 she became, for a short time, the seat of the "Junta Santa" of the Comuneros.

It is still easy to discern what a tremendous amount of building must have gone on within the narrow city limits during the early part of its second erection. The streets are still full of bits of Romanesque architecture, palaces, arcades, houses, balconies, towers and windows and one of the finest groups of Romanesque churches in Spain. Of lesser sinew and greater age than San Salvador, they are now breathing their last. San Vicente is almost doomed, while San Pedro and San Segundo are fast falling.

But San Salvador remains still unshaken in her strength,—a fortress within a cathedral, a splendid mailed arm with its closed fist of iron reaching through the outer bastions and threatening the plains. It is a bold cry of Christian defiance to enemies without. If ever there was an embodiment in architecture of the church militant, it is in the Cathedral of Avila. Approaching it by San Pedro, you look in vain for the church, for the great spire that loomed up from the distant hills and was pointed out as the holy edifice. In its place and for the eastern apse,{72} you see only a huge gray bastion, strong and secure, crowned at all points by battlements and galleries for sentinels and fighting men,—inaccessible, grim, and warlike. A fitting abode for the men who rather rode a horse than read a sermon and preferred the breastplate to the cassock, a splendid epitome of that period of Spanish history when the Church fought instead of prying into men's souls. It well represents the unification of the religious and military offices devolving on the Church of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries in Castile,—a bellicose house rather than one of prayer.

CATHEDRAL OF AVILA Exterior of the apse turret

Photo by J. Lacoste, Madrid

Exterior of the apse turret

All the old documents and histories of the Church state that the great Cathedral was started as soon as the city walls were well under way in 1091 and was completed after sixteen years of hard work. Alvar Garcia from Estrella in Navarre is recorded as the principal original architect, Don Pedro as the Bishop, and Count Raymond as spurring on the 1900 men at work, while the pilgrims and faithful were soliciting alms and subscriptions through Italy, France, and the Christian portions of the Spanish Peninsula.

Of the earliest church very little remains, possibly only the outer walls of the great bastion that encloses the eastern termination of the present edifice. This is much larger than the other towers of defense, and, judging from the excellent character of its masonry, which is totally different from the coarse rubble of the remaining city walls and towers, it must have been built into them at a later date, as well as with much greater care and skill. Many hypotheses have been suggested, as to why the apse of the original church was thus built as a portion of the{73} walls of defense. All seem doubtful. It was possibly that the altar might come directly above the resting-place of some venerated saint, or perhaps to economize time and construction by placing the apse in a most vulnerable point of attack where lofty and impregnable masonry was requisite.

The church grew towards the west and the main entrance,—the transepts themselves, and all work west of them, with the advent of the new style. We thus obtain in Avila, owing to the very early commencement of its apse, a curious and vitally interesting conglomeration of the Romanesque and Gothic. Practically, however, all important portions of the structure were completed in the more vigorous periods of the Gothic style with the resulting felicitous effect.

The building of the apse or the chevet westward must, to judge from its style, have advanced very slowly during the first hundred years, for its general character is rather that of the end of the twelfth and beginning of the thirteenth centuries (the reign of Alfonso VIII) than of the pure Romanesque work which was still executed in Castile at the beginning of the twelfth century. A great portion of the early Gothic work is, apart from its artistic merit, historically interesting, as showing the first tentative, and often groping, steps of the masters who wished to employ the new forms of the north, but followed slowly and with a hesitation that betrayed their inexperience. Arches were spanned and windows broken, later to be braced and blocked up in time to avert a catastrophe. The transepts belong to the earliest part of the fourteenth century. We have their definite dates from records,—the northern{74} arm rose where previously had stood a little chapel and was given by the Chapter to Dean Blasco Blasquez as an honorable burial place for himself and his family, while Bishop Blasquez Davila, the tutor of Alfonso IX and principal notary of Castile, raised the southern arm immediately afterwards. He occupied the See for almost fifty years, and must have seen the nave and side aisles and the older portions, including the northwestern tower, all pretty well constructed. This tower with its unfinished sister and portions of the west front are curiously enough late Romanesque work, and must thus have been started before the nave and side aisles had reached them in their western progress. The original cloisters belonged to the fourteenth century, as also the northern portal. Chapels, furnishings, pulpits, trascoro, choir stalls, glazing, all belong to later times, as well as the sixteenth-century mutilations of the front and the various exterior Renaissance excrescences.

It is interesting to infer that the main part of the fabric must virtually have been completed in 1432, when Pope Eugenio IV published a bull in favor of the work. Here he only speaks of the funds requisite for its "preservation and repair." We may judge from such wording the condition of the structure as a whole.

The most extraordinary portion of the building is unquestionably its "fighting turret" and eastern end. This apse is almost unique in Spanish architectural history and deeply absorbing as an extensive piece of Romanesque work, not quite free from Moorish traces and already employing in its vaulting Gothic expedients. It may be called "barbaric{75} Gothic" or "decadent Romanesque," but, whatever it is termed, it will be vitally interesting and fascinating to the student of architectural history.

Externally the mighty stone tower indicates none of its interior disposition of chapels or vaulting. The black, weather-stained granite of its bare walls is alternately broken by slightly projecting pilasters and slender, columnar shafts. They are crowned by a corbel table and a high, embattled parapet, that yielded protection to the soldiers occupying the platform immediately behind, which communicated with the passage around the city walls. This is again backed by a second wall similarly crowned. The narrowest slits of windows from the centres of the radiating, apsidal chapels break the lower surfaces, while double flying buttresses meet, at the level of the triforium and above the clerestory windows, the thrusts of the upper walls.

The plan is most curious, and on account of its irregularity as well as certain inconsistencies, it is difficult to guess how far it was originally conceived in its present form, or what alterations were made in the earlier centuries. Some changes must have been made in its vaulting. The chevet or Capilla Mayor, which at first very properly contained the choir, is surrounded by a double ambulatory, outside of which the thick walls are pierced by nine apsidal chapels. It is probable that these were originally constructed by the engineers to lighten the enormous bulk of the outer masonry. They are not quite semicircles in plan, and are vaulted in various simple ways. Where ribs occur, they meet in the key of the arch separating chapel from ambulatory. The piers round the{76} apse itself are alternately monocylindrical and composite; the intermediate ones, subdividing unequally the "girola," are lofty, slender columns, while those of the exterior are polygonal in plan, with shafts against their faces. Some of the caps are of the best Romanesque types, and composed of animals, birds, and leaves, while others, possibly substituted for the original ones, have a plain bell with the ornamentation crudely applied in color.

The Capilla Mayor has both triforium and clerestory of exquisite early work. Dog-tooth moldings ornament the archivolts. Mohammedan influence had asserted itself in the triforium, which is divided by slender shafts into two windows terminating in horseshoe arches, while the clerestory consists of broad, round, arched openings.

The construction and balance of the apse thrusts were doubtless originally of a somewhat different nature from what we find at present, as may easily be observed from the materials, the function and positions of the double flying buttresses. They may have been added as late as three centuries after the original fabric. Lamperez y Romea's observations in regard to this are most interesting:—

"We must observe in the two present orders of windows, that the lower was never built for lights and its construction with double columns forming a hollow space proves it a triforium. That it was actually so is further abundantly proved by several circumstances: first, by a parapet or wall which still exists below the actual roof and which follows the exterior polygonal line of the girola, as well as by some semi-Romanesque traceries which end in the wall of the{77} Capilla Mayor, and finally, by a continuous row of supports existing in the thickness of the same wall below a gutter, separating the two orders of windows. These features, as well as the general arrangement of the openings, demonstrate that there was a triforium of Romanesque character, occupying the whole width of the girola, which furthermore was covered by a barrel vault. Above this came the great platform or projecting balcony, corresponding to the second defensive circuit. Military necessity explains this triforium; without it, there would be no need of a system of continuous counterthrusts to that of the vaults of the crossing. If we concede the existence of this triforium, various obscure points become clear."

The Capilla Mayor has four bays prior to reaching the pentagonal termination. The vaulting of the most easterly bay connects with that of the pentagon, thus leaving three remaining bays to vault; two form a sexpartite vault, and the third, nearest the transept, a quadripartite. All the intersections are met by bosses formed by gilded and spreading coats-of-arms. The ribs do not all carry properly down, two out of the six being merely met by the keystones of the arches between Capilla Mayor and ambulatory. The masonry of the vaulting is of a reddish stone, while that of the transepts and nave is yellow, laid in broad, white joints.

In various portions of the double ambulatory passage as well as some of the chapels, the fine, deep green and gold and blue Romanesque coloring may still be seen, giving a rich impression of the old barbaric splendor and gem-like richness so befitting the clothing of the style. Other portions, now bare, must{78} surely all have been colored. The delicate, slender shafts, subdividing unequally the ambulatory, have really no carrying office, but were probably introduced to lessen the difficulty of vaulting the irregular compartments of such unequal sides. Gothic art was still in its infancy, and the splendid grasp of the vaulting difficulties and masterly solution of its problems exemplified in so many later ambulatories, had not as yet been reached. Here we have about the first fumbling attempt. The maestro is still fighting in the dark with unequal thrusts, sides and arches of different widths, and a desire to meet them all with something higher and lighter than the old continuous barrel vault. A step forward in the earnest effort toward higher development, such as we find here, deserves admiration. The profiles of the ribs are simple, undecorated and vigorous, as were all the earliest ones; in the chapels, or rather the exedras in the outer walls, the ribs do not meet in a common boss or keystone, its advantages not as yet being known to the builders. A good portion of the old roof-covering of the Cathedral, not only over the eastern end, but pretty generally throughout, has either been altered, or else the present covering conceals the original.

Thus it is easy to detect from the outside, if one stands at the northwestern angle of the church and looks down the northern face, that the upper masonry has been carried up by some three feet of brickwork, evidently of later addition, on top of which comes the present covering of terra-cotta tiles. The old roof-covering here of stone tiles, as also above the apse, rested directly on the inside vaults, naturally damaging{79} them by its weight, and not giving full protection against the weather. The French slopes had in some instances been slavishly copied, but the steep roofs requisite in northern cathedrals were soon after abandoned, being unnecessary in the Spanish climate. Over the apse of Avila, there may still be found early thirteenth-century roofing, consisting of large stone flags laid in rows with intermediary grooves and channels, very much according to ancient established Roman and Byzantine traditions. Independent superstructure above the vault proper, to carry the outside covering, had not been introduced when this roofing was laid.

In its early days many a noted prelate and honored churchman was laid to rest within the holy precinct of the choir in front of the high altar or in the rough old sepulchres of the surrounding chapels. With the moving of the choir, and probably also a change in the church ceremonies, came a rearrangement of the apse and the Capilla Mayor's relation to the new rites.

The retablo back of the high altar, consisting of Plateresque ornament, belongs for the most part to the Renaissance. The Evangelists and church fathers are by Pedro Berruguete (not as great as his son, the sculptor Alfonso), Juan de Borgoña and Santos Cruz. In the centre, facing the ambulatory behind, is a fine Renaissance tomb of the renowned Bishop Alfonso Tostada de Madrigal. He is kneeling in full episcopal robes, deeply absorbed either in writing or possibly reading the Scriptures. The workmanship on mitre and robe is as fine as the similar remarkable work in Burgos, while the enclosing rail is a{80} splendid example of the blending of Gothic and Renaissance.

AVILA From outside the walls

Photo by J. Lacoste, Madrid

From outside the walls

The glass in the apse windows is exceptionally rich and magnificently brilliant in its coloring. It was executed by Alberto Holando, one of the great Dutch glaziers of Burgos, who was given the entire contract in 1520 by Bishop Francisco Ruiz, a nephew of the great Cardinal Cisneros.

Such, in short, are the characteristics of the chevet of the Cathedral of Avila, constructed in an age when its builders must have worked in a spirit of hardy vigor with the trowel in one hand and the sword in the other. As we see it to-day, it imparts a feeling of mystery, and its oriental splendor is enhanced by the dim, religious light.

In entering the crossing, we step into the fullness of the Gothic triumph. The vaults have been thrown into the sky to the height of 130 feet. It is early Gothic work, with its many errors and consequent retracing of steps made in ignorance. The great arches that span the crossing north and south had taken too bold a leap and subsequently required the support of cross arches. The western windows and the great roses at the end of the transepts, with early heavy traceries, proved too daring and stone had to be substituted for glass in their apertures; the long row of nave windows have likewise been filled with masonry. Despite these and many similar penalties for rashness, the work is as dignified as it is admirable. Of course the proportions are all small in comparison with such later great Gothic churches as Leon and Burgos, the nave and transepts here being merely 28 to 30 feet wide, the aisles only 24 feet wide. Avila{81} is but an awkward young peasant girl if compared with the queenly presence of her younger sisters. Nevertheless Avila is in true Spanish peasant costume, while Leon and Burgos are tricked out in borrowed finery. The nave is short and narrow, but that gives an impression of greater height, and the obscurity left by the forced substitution of stone for glass in the window spaces adds to the solemnity. The nave consists of five bays, the aisle on each side of it rising to about half its height. The golden groining is quadripartite, the ribs meeting in great colored bosses and pendents, added at periods of less simple taste. In the crossing alone, intermediary ribs have been added in the vaulting.

The walls of the transept underneath the great blind wheels to the north and south are broken by splendid windows, each with elaborate tracery (as also the eastern and western walls), heavy and strong, but finely designed. The glazing is glorious, light, warm, and intense. The walls of the nave, set back above the lowest arcade some eighteen inches, have triforium and clerestory, and above this again, they are filled quite up to the vaulting with elaborate tracery, possibly once foolhardily conceived to carry glass. Each bay has six arches in both triforium and clerestory, all of simple and early apertures. The glazing of the clerestory is white, excepting in one of the bays. In this single instance, a simple, geometric pattern of buff and blue stripes is of wonderfully harmonious and lovely color effect.

The shafts that separate nave from side aisles are still quite Romanesque in feeling,—of polygonal core faced by four columns and eight ribs. The capitals{82} are very simple with no carving, but merely a gilded representation of leafage, while the base molds carry around all breaks of the pier. It may be coarse and crude in feeling and execution, certainly very far from the exquisite finish of Leon, nevertheless the infancy of an architectural style, like a child's, has the peculiar interest of what it holds in promise. Like Leon, the side aisles have double roofing, allowing the light to penetrate to the nave arcade and forming a double gallery running round the church.

Many of the bishops who were buried in the choir in its old location were, on its removal to the bay immediately west of the crossing, also moved and placed in the various chapels. The sepulchre of Bishop Sancho Davila is very fine. Like his predecessors, he was a fighting man. His epitaph reads as follows:—

"Here lies the noble cavalier Sancho Davila, Captain of the King Don Fernando and the Queen Doña Isabel, our sovereigns, and their alcaide of the castles of Carmona, son of Sancho Sanches, Lord of San Roman and of Villanueva, who died fighting like a good cavalier against the Moors in the capture of Alhama, which was taken by his valor on the 28th of February in the year 1490."

The pulpits on each side of the crossing, attached to the great piers, are, curiously enough, of iron, exquisitely wrought and gilded. The one on the side of the epistle is Gothic and the other Renaissance, the body of each of them bearing the arms of the Cathedral, the Agnus Dei, and the ever-present lions and castles. The rejas, closing off choir and Capilla Mayor in the customary manner, are heavy and ungainly. On the other hand, the trascoro, that often{83} sadly blocks up the sweep of the nave, is unusually low and comparatively inconspicuous. It contains reliefs of the life of Christ, from the first half of the sixteenth century, by Juan Res and Luis Giraldo. The choir itself is so compact that it only occupies one bay. The chapter evidently was a modest one. The stalls are of elaborate Renaissance workmanship. The verger now in charge, with the voice of a hoarse crow, reads you the name of the carver as the Dutchman "Cornelis 1536."

Strange to say, there are no doors leading, as they logically should, into the centre of the arms of the transept. Through some perversity, altars have taken their place, while the northern and southern entrances have been pushed westward, opening into the first bays of the side aisles. The southern door leads to a vestibule, the sacristy with fine Gothic vaulting disfigured by later painting, a fine fifteenth-century chapel and the cloisters. None of this can be seen from the front, as it is hidden by adjoining houses and a bare, pilastered wall crowned by a carved Renaissance balustrade. The galleries of the present cloisters are later Gothic work with Plateresque decorations and arches walled up.

Avila Cathedral is, as it were, a part and parcel of the history of Castile during the reigns of her early kings, the turbulent times when self-preservation was the only thought, any union of provinces far in the future, and a Spanish kingdom undreamed of. She was a great church in a small kingdom, in the empire she became insignificant. Much of her history is unknown, but in the days of her power, she was certainly associated with all great events in old Castile.{84} Her influence grew with her emoluments and the ever-increasing body of ecclesiastical functionaries. In times of war, she became a fortress, and her bishop was no longer master of his house. The Captain-General took command of the bastions, as of those of the Alcazar, and soldiers took the place of priests in the galleries. She was the key to the city, and on her flat roofs the opposing armies closed in the final struggle for victory.

The Cathedral has, in fact, only an eastern and a northern elevation, the exterior to the west and south being hidden by the huge tower and the confused mass of chapels and choir which extend to the walls and houses.

The western entrance front is noble and dignified in its austere severity; probably as old as the clerestory of the nave, it is a grim sentinel from the first part of the fourteenth century. With the exception of the entrance, it speaks the Romanesque language, although its windows and some of its decoration are pointed. It is magnificent and impressive, very Spanish, and almost unique in the Peninsula. Four mighty buttresses subdivide the composition; between these is the entrance, and to the north and south are the towers which terminate the aisles.

The southern tower has never been finished. The northern is full of inspiration. It is broken at two stages by double windows, the upper ones of the belfry being crowned by pediments and surmounted by rich, sunk tracery. The piers terminate in hexagonal pinnacles, while the tower, as well as the rest of the front, is finished with a battlement. The later blocking up of this, as well as the superimposed roofing,{85} is very evident and disturbing. All the angles of buttresses, of windows, arches, splays, and pyramids,—those also crowning the bulky piers that meet the flying buttresses,—are characteristically and uniquely decorated with an ornamentation of balls. It softens the hard lines, splashing the surface with infinite series of small, sharp shadows and making it sparkle with life and light. The angles recall the blunt, blue teeth of a saw.

The main entrance, as well as the first two bays of the naves underneath the towers, must originally have been of different construction from the present one. Inside the church, these bays are blocked off from nave and side aisles by walls, on top of which they communicate with each other as also with the eastern apse by galleries, probably all necessary for the defense of troops in the early days. Possibly a narthex terminated the nave back of the original entrance portal underneath the present vaulted compartment.

The main entrance door is indeed a strange apparition. In its whiteness between the sombre tints of the martial towers, it rises like a spectre in the winding-sheets of a later age. It is distressingly out of place and time in its dark framework.

"But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth, and some to honor, and some to dishonor."

The semicircular door is crowned by a profusely subdivided, Gothic archivolt and guarded by two scaly giants or wild men that look, with their raised clubs, as if they would beat the life out of any one who should try to enter the holy cavern. Saints Peter{86} and Paul float on clouds in the spandrels. Above rises a sixteenth-century composition of masks and canopied niches. The Saviour naturally occupies the centre, flanked by the various saints that in times of peril protected the church of Avila: Saints Vincente, Sabina and Cristela, Saint Segundo and Santa Teresa. In the attic in front of a tremendous traceried cusp, with openings blocked by masonry, the ornamentation runs completely riot. Saint Michael, standing on top of a dejected and doubled-up dragon, looks down on figures that are crosses between respectable caryatides and disreputable mermaids. It is certainly as immaterial as unknown, when and by whom was perpetrated this degenerate sculpture now shamelessly disfiguring a noble casing. The strong, early towers seem in their turn doubly powerful and eloquent in their simplicity and one wishes the old Romanesque portal were restored and the great traceries above it glazed to flood the nave with western sunlight.


Photo by J. Lacoste, Madrid

Main entrance

The northeastern angle is blocked by poor Renaissance masonry, the exterior of the chapels here being faced by a Corinthian order and broken by circular lights.

The northern portal is as fine as that of the main entrance is paltry. The head of the door, as well as the great arch which spans the recess into which the entire composition is set, is, curiously enough, three-centred, similar to some of the elliptical ones at Burgos and Leon. A lion, securely chained to the church wall for the protection of worshipers, guards each side of the entrance. Under the five arches stand the twelve Apostles, time-worn, weather-beaten and mutilated, but splendid bits of late thirteenth-century {87}carving. For they must be as early as that. The archivolts are simply crowded with small figures of angels, of saints, and of the unmistakably lost. In the tympanum the Saviour occupies the centre, and around Him is the same early, naïve representation of figures from the Apocalypse, angels, and the crowned Virgin.

Two years before Luther, a true exponent of Teutonic genius, had nailed his theses to the door of a cathedral in central Germany, there was born in the heart of Spain as dauntless and genuine a representative of her country's genius. Each passed through great storm and stress of the spirit, and finally entered into that closer communion with God, from which the soul emerges miraculously strengthened. Do not these bleak hills, this stern but lovely Cathedral, rising per aspera ad astra, typify the strong soul of Santa Teresa? A great psychologist of our day finds the woman in her admirable literary style. Prof. James further accepts Saint Teresa's own defense of her visions: "By their fruits ye shall know them." These were practical, brave, cheerful, aspiring, like this Castilian sanctuary, intolerant of dissenters, sheltering and caring for many, and leading them upward to the City which is unseen, eternal in the heavens.{88} {89}





CATHEDRAL OF LEON From the southwest

From the southwest

Look where the flood of western glory falls
Through the great sunflower disk of blazing panes
In ruby, saffron, azure, emerald stains.

IN the year 1008 the ancient church of Leon witnessed a ceremony memorable for more reasons than one. It was conducted throughout according to Gothic customs, King, Queen, nobility and ecclesiastics all being present, and it was the first council held in Spain since the Arab conquest whose acts have come down to us. The object was twofold: to hold a joyous festival in celebration of the rebuilding of the city walls, which had been broken down some years before by a Moslem army, and to draw up a charter for a free people, governing themselves, for Spain has the proud distinction of granting municipal charters one or two hundred years before the other countries of Europe. For three centuries of Gothic rule, the kings of Leon, Castile and other provinces had successfully resisted every attempt at encroachment from the Holy See and, in session with the clergy, elected their own bishops, until in 1085 Alfonso VI of Castile takes the fatal step of sending Bernard d'Azeu to receive the pallium and investiture as Bishop of Toledo from the hands of Gregory VII. From this time forth, kings are crowned,{92} queens repudiated, and even the hallowed Gothic or Mozarabic ritual is set aside for that of Rome by order of popes.

In 1135 Santa Maria of Leon is the scene of a gorgeous pageant. An Alfonso, becoming master of half Spain and quarter of France, thinks he might be called Emperor as well as some others, and within the Cathedral walls he receives the new title in the presence of countless ecclesiastics and "all his vassals, great and small." The monarch's robe was of marvelous work, and a crown of pure gold set with precious stones was placed on his head, while the King of Navarre held his right hand and the Bishop of Leon his left. Feastings and donations followed, but, what was of vastly more importance, the new Emperor confirmed the charters granted to various cities by his grandfather.

Again a great ceremony fills the old church. Ferdinand, later known as the Saint, is baptized there in 1199. A year or two later, Innocent III declares void the marriage of his father and mother, who were cousins, and an interdict shrouds the land in darkness. Several years pass during which the Pope turns a deaf ear to the entreaties of a devoted husband, the King of Leon, to their children's claim, the intercession of Spanish prelates, and the prayers of two nations who had good cause to rejoice in the union of Leon and Castile. Then a victim of the yoke, which Spain had voluntarily put on while Frederic of Germany and even Saint Louis of France were defending their rights against the aggressions of the Holy See, the good Queen Berenzuela, sadly took her way back to her father's home, to the King of Castile.{93}

His prerogative once established, Innocent III looked well after his obedient subjects. When Spain was threatened by the most formidable of all Moorish invasions, he published to all Christendom a bull of crusade against the Saracens, and sent across the Pyrenees the forces which had been gathering in France for war in Palestine. Rodrigo, Archbishop of Toledo, preached the holy war and led his troops, in which he was joined by the bishops of Bordeaux, Nantes, and Narbonne at the head of their militia. Germany and Italy sent their quota of knights and soldiers of fortune, and this concourse of Christian warriors, speaking innumerable tongues, poured through mountain defiles and ever southward till they met in lofty Toledo and camped on the banks of the Tagus. Marches, skirmishes, and long-drawn-out sieges prelude the great day. The hot Spanish summer sets in, the foreigners, growing languid in the arid stretches of La Mancha, and disappointed at the slender booty meted out to them, desert the native army, march northwards and again cross the Pyrenees to return to their homes. It was thus left to the Spaniards, led by three kings and their warlike prelates, to defeat a Moslem army of half a million and gain the glorious victory of Las Navas de Tolosa on the sixteenth of August, 1212.

With Rome's firm grasp on the Spanish Peninsula came temples no less beautiful than those the great Mother Church was planting in every portion of her dominion north of the Pyrenees,—Leon, Burgos, Toledo and Valencia rose in proud challenge to Amiens, Rheims, Beauvais and Chartres.

Leon may be called French,—yes, unquestionably{94} so, but that is no detraction or denial of her native "gentileza." She may be the very embodiment of French planning, her general dimensions like those of Bourges; her portals certainly recall those of Chartres, and the planning of her apsidal chapels, her bases, arches, and groining ribs, remind one of Amiens and Rheims; but nevertheless this exotic flower blooms as gloriously in a Spanish desert as those that sprang up amid the vineyards or in the Garden of France.

A.  Capilla Mayor. E.  Trascoro.
B. Choir. F. Towers.
C. Crossing. G. Cloisters.
D. Tombs.

Leon is almost as old as the history of Spain. In the first century after Christ, the seventh Roman legion, on the order of Augustus, pitched their tents where the city now stands, built their customary rectangular enclosure with its strong walls and towers, happily seconded by the nature of the surrounding country. From here the wild hordes of the Asturias could be kept in check. The city was narrowly built in the fork of two rivers, on ground allowing neither easy approach nor expansion, so that the growth has, even up to the twentieth century, been within the ancient walls, and the streets and squares are in consequence narrow and cramped. On many of the blocks of those old walls may still be seen carved in the clear Roman lettering, "Legio septima gemina, pia, felix." The name of Leon is merely a corruption first used by the Goths of the Roman "Legio." Roman dominion survived the empire for many years, being first swept away when the Gothic hordes in the middle of the sixth century descended from the north under the conqueror, Loevgild. Its Christian bishopric was possibly the first in Spain, founded in the darkness of the third century, since which time the little city{95} can boast an unbroken succession of Leonese bishops, although a number, during the turbulent decades of foreign rule, may not actually have been "in residence." The Moslem followed the Goth, and ruled while the nascent Christian kingdom of the Asturias was slowly gaining strength for independence and the foundation of an episcopal seat. In the middle of the eighth century, the Christians wrested it from the Moors. On the site of the old Roman baths, built in three long chambers, King Ordoño II erected his palace (he was reconstructing for defense and glory the walls and edifices of the city) and in 916 presented it with considerable ground and several adjacent houses to Bishop Frumonio, that he might commence the building of the Cathedral on the advantageous palace site in the heart of the city. Terrible Moorish invasions occurred soon after, involving considerable damage to the growing Byzantine basilica. In 996 the Moors swept the city with fire and sword, and again, three years later, it fell entirely into the hands of the great conqueror Almanzor, who remained in possession only just the same time, for we may read in the old monkish manuscripts that in 1002 from the Christian pulpits of Castile and Leon the proclamation was made: "Almanzor is dead, and buried in Hell."

Leon could boast of being the first mediæval city of Europe to obtain self-government and a charter of her own, and she became the scene of important councils during the eleventh, twelfth and thirteenth centuries. In the eleventh century, under the great Ferdinand I, who united Castile and Leon, work on the basilica was pushed rapidly forward. French{96} influence was predominant in the early building operations, for Alfonso VI of Castile, who assumed the title of Emperor of Spain, had two French wives, each of whom brought with her a batch of zealous and skillful church-building prelates.

The church was finally consecrated in 1149. About twenty-five years ago, the Spanish architect, D. Demetrio de los Rios, in charge of the work of restoration on the present Cathedral, discovered the walls and foundations of the ancient basilica and was able to determine accurately its relation to the later Gothic church. The exact date when this was begun is uncertain,—many writers give 1199. Beyond a doubt the foundations were laid out during the reign of Alfonso IX, early in the thirteenth century, when Manrique de Lara was Bishop of the See of Leon and French Gothic construction was at the height of its glory. It is thus a thirteenth-century church, belonging principally to the latter part, built with the feverish energy, popular enthusiasm, and unparalleled genius for building which characterizes that period and stamps it as uniquely glorious to later constructive ages. Though smaller than most of the immense churches which afterwards rose under Spanish skies, Leon remained in many respects unsurpassed and unmatched.

"Sevilla en grandeza, Toledo en riqueza,
Compostella en fortaleza, está en sutileza
Santa Maria de Regla."

In the middle of the thirteenth century, after the consecration of the new church, a famous council of all the bishops of the realm was held in the little town of Madrid, and there the faithful were exhorted, and{97} the lukewarm admonished with threats, to contribute by every means to the successful erection of Leon's Cathedral. Indulgences, well worth consideration, were granted to contributors, at the head of whom for a liberal sum stood the king, Alfonso X.

But Leon, capital of the ancient kingdom, was doomed before long to feel the bitterness of abandonment. The Castilian kings followed the retreat southward of the Moorish armies, and the history of the capital of Leon, which, during the thirteenth century, had been the history of the little kingdom, soon became confined within the limits of her cathedral walls. Burgos, a mighty rival, soon overshadowed her. The time came when the Bishop of Leon was merely a suffragan of the Archbishop of Burgos, and her kings had moved their court south to Seville. The city of Leon was lost in the union of the two kingdoms.

The fortunes of the Cathedral have been varied and her reverses great. Her architects risked a great deal and the disasters entailed were proportionate. Though belonging preëminently in style to the glorious thirteenth century, her building continued almost uninterruptedly throughout the fourteenth. We have in succession Maestro Enrique, Pedro Cebrian, Simon, Guillen de Rodan, Alonzo Valencia, Pedro de Medina, and Juan de Badajoz, working on her walls and towers with a magnificent recklessness which was shortly to meet its punishment. Although Bishop Gonzalez in 1303 declared the work, "thanks be to God, completed," it was but started. The south façade was completed in the sixteenth century, but as early as 1630 the light fabric began to tremble,{98} then the vaulting of the crossing collapsed and was replaced by a more magnificent dome. Many years of mutilations and disasters succeeded. The south front was entirely taken down and rebuilt, the vaulting of aisles fell, great portions of the main western façade, and ornamentation here and there was disfigured or destroyed by the later alterations in overconfident and decadent times, until, in the middle of the eighteenth century, very considerable portions of the original rash and exquisite fabric were practically ruined. There came, however, an awakening to the outrages which had been committed, and from the middle of the nineteenth century to the present day, the work of putting back the stones in their original forms and places has steadily advanced to the honor of Leon and glory of Spain, until Santa Maria de Regla at last stands once more in the full pristine lightness of her original beauty.

CATHEDRAL OF LEON Looking up the nave

Looking up the nave

The plan of Leon is exceedingly fine, surpassed alone among Spanish churches by that of Toledo. Three doorways lead through the magnificent western portal into the nave and side aisles of the Church. These consist of five bays up to the point where the huge arms of the transept spread by the width of an additional bay. In proportion to the foot of the cross, these arms are broader than in any other Spanish cathedral. They are four bays in length, the one under the central lantern being twice the width of the others, thus making the total width of the transepts equal to the distance from the western entrance to their intersection. The choir occupies the fifth and sixth bays of the nave. To the south, the transept is entered by a triple portal very similar in scale and{99} richness to the western. The eastern termination of the church is formed by a choir of three and an ambulatory of five bays running back of the altar and trascoro, and five pentagonal apsidal chapels. The sacristy juts out in the extreme southwestern angle. The northern arm of the huge transepts is separated from the extensive cloisters by a row of chapels or vestibules which to the east also lead to the great Chapel of Santiago. All along its eastern lines the church with its dependencies projects beyond the city walls, one of its massive towers standing as a mighty bulwark of defense in the extreme northeastern angle.

It is a plan that must delight not only the architect, but any casual observer, in its almost perfect symmetry and in the relationship of its various parts to each other. It belonged to the primitive period of French Gothic, though carried out in later days when its vigor was waning. It has not been cramped nor distorted by initial limitation of space or conditions, nor injured by later deviations from the original conception. It is worthy of the great masters who planned once for all the loveliest and most expressive house for the worship of God. Erected on the plains of Leon, it was conceived in the inspired provinces of Champagne and the Isle de France.

It has a total length of some 308 feet and a width of nave and aisles of 83. The height to the centre of nave groining is 100 feet. The western front has two towers, which, curiously enough, as in Wells Cathedral, flank the side aisles, thus necessitating in elevation a union with the upper portions of the façade by means of flying buttresses.{100}

There is a fine view of the exterior of the church from across the square facing the southwestern angle. A row of acacia plumes and a meaningless, eighteenth-century iron fence conceal the marble paving round the base, but this foreground sinks to insignificance against the soaring masses of stone towers and turrets, buttresses and pediments, stretching north and east. Both façades have been considerably restored, the later Renaissance and Baroque atrocities having been swept away in a more refined and sensitive age, when the portions of masonry which fell, owing to the flimsiness of the fabric, were rebuilt. The result has, however, been that great portions, as for instance in the western front and the entire central body above the portals, jar, with the chalky whiteness of their surfaces by the side of the time-worn masonry. They lack the exquisite harmony of tints, where wind and sun and water have swept and splashed the masonry for centuries.

The two towers that flank the western front in so disjointed a manner are of different heights and ages. Both have a heavy, lumbering quality entirely out of keeping with the aerial lightness of the remainder of the church. It is not quite coarseness, but rather a stiff-necked, pompous gravity. Their moldings lack vigor and sparkle. The play of fancy and sensitive decorative treatment are wanting. The northern tower is the older and has an upper portion penetrated by a double row of round and early pointed windows. An unbroken octagonal spire crowns it, the angles of the intersection being filled by turrets, as uninteresting as Prussian sentry-boxes. The southern tower, though lighter and more ornamented, has, like its{101} sister, extremely bald lower surfaces, the four angles in both cases being merely broken by projecting buttresses. The lowest story was completed in the fourteenth century. It was added to in successive centuries by Maestro Jusquin and Alfonso Ramos, but its great open-work spire, of decided German form, probably much influenced by Colonia's spires at Burgos, was first raised in the fifteenth century.

It is a complete monotonous lacework of stone, not nearly as spirited as similar, earlier, French work. The spire is separated from the bald base by a two-storied belfry, with two superimposed openings on each surface. Gothic inscriptions decorate the masonry and the huge black letters spell out "Deus Homo—Ave Maria, Gratia plena."

At the base, between these huge, grave sentinels, stands the magnificent old portico with the modern facing of the main body of the church above it. This screen of later days, built after the removal of a hideously out-of-keeping Renaissance front, is contained within two buttresses which meet the great flying ones. In fact, looking down the stone gorge between these buttresses and the towers, one sees a mass of pushing and propping flying buttresses springing in double rows above the roof of the side aisles towards the clerestories of the nave. The screen itself contains, immediately above the portico, an arcade of four subdivided arches, corresponding to the triforium, and above it a gorgeous rose window. It is the best type of late thirteenth or early fourteenth-century wheel of radial system, very similar in design to the western wheel of Notre Dame de Paris and the great western one of Burgos. Springing{102} suddenly into being in all its developed perfection, it can only be regarded as a direct importation from the Isle de France. The ribs of the outer circle are twice as many as those of the inner, thus dividing the glass surfaces into approximately equal breadth of fields. This and the rose of the southern transept are similar, and both are copies of the original one still extant in the north transept. A fine cornice and open-work gallery surmount the composition, flanked by crocketed turrets and crowned in the centre by a pediment injurious in effect and of Italian Renaissance inspiration. The gable field is broken by a smaller wheel, and in an ogival niche are statues of the Annunciation.

The portico is the most truly splendid part of the Cathedral. Erected at the end of the thirteenth or beginning of the fourteenth century, much of its Gothic sculpture is unsurpassed in Spain. A perfect museum of art and a history in magnificent carving. The composition as a whole recalls again unquestionably Chartres. It consists of three recessed arches hooding with deep splays the three doorways which lead into nave and side aisles. Between the major arches are two smaller, extremely pointed ones, the most northerly of which encases an ancient columnar shaft decorated with the arms of Leon and bearing the inscription, "locus appellationis." Beneath it court was long held and justice administered by the rulers of Leon during the Middle Ages.

The arches of the porches are supported by piers, completely broken and surrounded by columnar shafts and niches carrying statues on their corbels. These piers stand out free from the jambs of the doors{103} and wall surfaces behind, and thus form an open gallery between the two. Around and over all is an astounding and lavish profusion of sculpture,—no less than forty statues. The jambs and splays, the shafts, the archivolts, the moldings and tympanums are covered with carving, varied and singularly interesting in the diversity of its period and character. Part of it is late Byzantine with the traditions of the twelfth century, while much is from the very best vigorous Gothic chisels, and yet some, later Gothic. Certain borders, leafage, and vine branches are Byzantine, and so also are some of the statues, "retaining the shapeless proportions and the immobility and parched frown of the Byzantine School, so perfectly dead in its expression, offering, however, by its garb and by its contours not a little to the study of this art, and so constituting a precious museum." Again, other statues have the mild and venerable aspect of the second period of Gothic work. The oldest are round the most northerly of the three doorways. Every walk of life is represented. There is a gallery of costumes; and most varying emotions are depicted in the countenances of the kings and queens, monks and virgins, prelates, saints, angels, and bishops. Separating the two leaves of the main doorway, stands Our White Lady. But if the statues are interesting, the sculpture of the archivolts and the personages and scenes carved on the fields of the tympanums far surpass them.

Mrs. Wharton says somewhere, "All northern art is anecdotic,—it is an ancient ethnological fact that the Goth has always told his story that way." Nothing could be more "anecdotic" than this sculpture.{104} The northern tympanum gives scenes from the Life of Christ, the Visitation, the Nativity, the Adoration of the Magi, and the Flight into Egypt. In the southern, are events from the life of the Virgin Mary; but the central one, and the archivolts surrounding it, contain the most spirited bits. The scene is the Last Judgment, with Christ as the central figure. Servants of the Church of various degrees are standing on one side with expressions of beatitude nowise clouded by the fate of the miserable reprobates on the other. In the archivolts angels ascend with instruments and spreading wings, embracing monks or gathering orphans into their bosoms, while the lost with horrid grimaces are descending to their inevitable doom. Not even the great Florentine could depict more realistically the feelings of such as had sinned grievously in this world.

The long southern side of the church has for its governing feature the wide transept termination, which in its triple portal, triforium arcade, and rose is practically a repetition of the west. The central body is all restored. The original, magnificent old statues and carving have, however, been set back in the new casings around and above the main entrance. An old Leonese bishop, San Triolan, occupies in the central door the same position as "Our White Lady" to the west, while the Saviour between the Four Evangelists is enthroned in the tympanum.


Rear of apse

One obtains a most interesting study in construction by standing behind the great polygonal apse, whence one may see the double rows of flying buttresses pushing with the whole might of the solid piers behind them against the narrow strips of {105}masonry at the angles of the choir. From every buttress rise elegantly carved and crocketed finials. Marshalled against the cobalt of the skies, they body forth an array of shining lances borne by a heavenly host. The balconies, forming the cresting to the excessively high clerestory, are entirely Renaissance in feeling, and lack in their horizontal lines the upward spring of the church below. Almost all of this eastern end, breaking through the city walls, is, with the possible exception of the roof, part of the fine old structure, in contrast to the adjoining Plateresque sacristy.

It is generally from the outside of French cathedrals that one receives the most vivid impressions. Though the mind may be overcome by a feeling of superhuman effort on entering the portals of Notre Dame de Paris, yet the emotion produced by the first sight of the queenly, celestial edifice from the opposite side of the broad square is the more powerful and eloquent. Not so in Spain,—and this in spite of the location of the choirs. It is not until you enter a Spanish church that its power and beauty are felt.

The audacious construction of Leon, which one wonders at from the square outside, becomes well-nigh incredible when seen from the nave. How is it possible that glass can support such a weight of stone? If Burgos was bold, this is insane. It looks as unstable as a house of cards, ready for a collapse at the first gentle breeze. Can fields of glass sustain three hundred feet of thrusts and such weights of stone? It is a culmination of the daring of Spanish Gothic. In France there was this difference,—while the fields of glass continued to grow larger and larger, the{106} walls to diminish, and the piers to become slenderer, the aid of a more perfectly developed system of counterthrusts to the vaulting was called in. In Spain we reach the maximum of elimination in the masonry of the side walls at the end of the thirteenth century, and in the Cathedral of Leon, whereas later Gothic work, as in portions of Burgos and Toledo, shows a sense of the futile exaggeration towards which they were drifting, as well as the impracticability of so much glass from a climatic point of view.

Internally, Leon is the lightest and most cheerful church in Spain. The great doorways of the western and southern fronts, as well as that to the north leading into the cloisters, are thrown wide open, as if to add to the joyousness of the temple. Every portion of it is flooded with sweet sunlight and freshness. It is the church of cleanliness, of light and fresh air, and above all, of glorious color. The glaziers might have said with Isaiah, "And I will make thy windows of agates and thy gates of carbuncles, and all thy borders of pleasant stones." The entire walls are a continuous series of divine rainbows.

The side walls of the aisles for a height of some fourteen feet to the bottom of their vaulting ribs, the triforium, commencing but a foot above the arches which separate nave from side aisles, and immediately above the triforium, forty feet of clerestory,—all is glass, emerald, turquoise, and peacock, amber, straw, scarlet, and crimson, encased in a most delicate, strangely reckless, and bold-traceried framework of stained ivory. Indeed, the jeweled portals of Heaven are wide open when the sun throws all the colors from above across the otherwise colorless fields of the pavement.{107} "The color of love's blood within them glows." There is glazing of many centuries and all styles. In some of the triforium windows are bits of glass, which, after the destruction or falling of the old windows, were carefully collected, put together, and used again in the reglazing. Some of it is of the earliest in Spain, probably set by French, Flemish, or German artisans who had immigrated to practise their art and set up their factories on Spanish soil adjacent to the stone-carvers' and masons' sheds under the rising walls of the great churches. Like all skilled artisans of their age, the secret of their trade, the proper fusing of the silica with the alkalies, was carefully guarded and handed down from father to son or master to apprentice. They were chemists, glaziers, artists, colorists, and glass manufacturers, all in one. The heritage was passed on in those days, when the great key of science which opens all portals had not yet become common property. Some of the oldest glass is merely a crude mosaic inlay of small bits and must date back to early thirteenth century. Coloring glass by partial fusion was then first practised and soon followed by the introduction of figures and themes in the glass, and the acquisition of a lovely, homogeneous opalescence in place of the purely geometrical patterns. Scriptural scenes or figures painted, as the Spanish say, "en caballete," became more and more general. The best of the Leon windows are from the fifteenth century, when the glaziers' shops in the city worked under the direction of Juan de Arge, Maestro Baldwin, and Rodrigo de Ferraras, and its master colorists were at work glazing the windows of the Capilla Mayor, the Capilla de Santiago, and a portion of those of the{108} north transept. "Ces vitreaux hauts en couleur, qui faisaient hésiter l'œil émerveillé de nos pères entre la rose du grand portail et les ogives de l'abside." The glazing has gone on through centuries; even to-day the glaziers at Leon are busy in their shops, making the sheets of sunset glow for their own and other Spanish cathedrals.

In some of the side aisles, they have, alas, during recent decades placed some horrible "grisaille" and geometrically patterned windows,—in frightful contrast to the delightful thirteenth-century legends of Saint Clement and Saint Ildefonso, or that most absorbing record of civic life depicted in the northern aisle. In studying the windows of Leon, Lamperez y Romea's observations on Spanish glazing are of interest: "In the fourteenth century the rules of glazing in Spain were changed. Legends had fallen into disuse and the masters had learned that, in the windows of the high nave, small medallions could not be properly appreciated. They were then replaced by large figures, isolated or in groups, but always one by one in the spaces determined by the tracery. The coloring remained strong and vivid. The study of nature, which had so greatly developed in painting and in sculpture, altered the drawing little by little, the figures became more modeled and lifelike, and were carried out with more detail. At the same time the coloring changed by the use of neutral tints, violet, brown, light blues, rose, etc. Many of the old windows are of this style. And so are the majority of the windows of Avila, Leon, and Toledo, as it lasted in Spain throughout the fifteenth century, and others which preserve the composition of great figures and{109} strong coloring, although there may be noticed in the drawings greater naturalism and modeling."

These rules differed slightly from those followed in France, where, with the exception of certain churches in the east, the windows of the thirteenth century were richer in decoration, more luscious in coloring and more harmonious in their tones than those of the fourteenth. There is little in this later century that can compare with the thirteenth-century series of Chartres figures.

The Leonese windows are perhaps loveliest late in the afternoon, when the saints and churchmen seem to be entering the church through their black-traceried portals, and, clad in heavenly raiment, about to descend to the pavement,—

As softly green,
As softly seen,
Through purest crystal gleaming,

there to people the aisles and keep vigil at the altars of God to the coming of another day.

There are, fortunately, scarcely any other colors or decorations,—or altars off side aisles,—that might divert the attention from the richness of glass. The various vaulting has the jointing of its stonework strongly marked, but, with the exception of the slightly gilded bosses, no color is applied. The glory of the glass is thus enhanced. Owing to the great portions of masonry which have been rebuilt, this varies in its tints, but the old was, and has remained, of such an exquisitely delicate creamy color that the new interposed stonework merely looks like a lighter, fresher shade of the old. The restoration has been executed with rare skill and artistic feeling.{110}

In studying the inner organism and structure of the edifice, one soon sees how recklessly the original fabric was constructed and in how many places it had to be rebuilt, strengthened and propped,—indeed, immediately after its completion. Here, as was the general custom in the greater early Gothic cathedrals, the building began with the choir and Capilla Mayor, to be followed by the transepts, the portions of the edifice essential to the service. The choir was probably temporarily roofed over and the nave and side aisles followed. The exterior façades, portals, and upper stories of the towers were carried out last of all by the aid of indulgences, contributions, alms and concessions.

In old manuscripts and documents which record the very first work on the cathedrals we find the one in charge called "Maestro,"—or magister operis, magister ecclesiae, magister fabricae, but not till the sixteenth century does the appellation "arquitecto" appear. His pay seems to have varied, both in amount and in form of emolument,—sometimes it was good hard cash, often a very poor or dubious remuneration, handed out consequently with a more lavish hand; sometimes grants, and again royal favor. Generally the architect entered into a stipulated agreement with the Cathedral Chapter, both as to his time and services, before he began his work. We find Master Jusquin (1450-69) receiving from the Chapter of Leon not only a daily salary but also annual donations of bushels of wheat, pairs of gloves, lodgings, poultry, other supplies, and the use of certain workmen.

Leon's unquestionable French parentage is, if possible,{111} even more obvious in the interior than in the exterior. The piers between nave and side aisles are cylindrical in plan, having in their lowest section on their front surface three columns grouped together that continue straight up through triforium and clerestory and carry the transverse and diagonal ribs of the nave. They have further one column on each side of the axis east and west and, strange to say, only one toward the side aisles, which thus lack continuous supports for their diagonal ribs. The outer walls of the side aisles are formed by a blind arcade of five arches, surmounted by a projecting balcony or corridor and a clerestory subdivided by its tracery into four arches and three cusped circles. The nave triforium consists of a double arcade with a gallery running between (one of the very rare examples in Spain). Each bay has in the triforium four open and two closed arches, surmounted by two quatrefoils. The clerestory rises above, divided by marvelously slender shafts into six compartments and three cusped circles in the apex of the arch. Here shine, in dazzling raiment and with ecstatic expressions, the saints and martyrs ordered in the fifteenth century from Burgos for the sum of 20,000 maravedis.

Throughout all the glazed wall surfaces we find evidence of the anxiety that overtook their reckless projectors. All but the upper cusps of the windows of the side aisles have been filled in by masonry, painted with saints and evangelists in place of the translucent ones originally placed here. The lower portions of the triforium lights have been blocked up and also the two outer arches of the clerestory. The light, clustered piers and slender, double flying{112} buttresses could not accomplish the gigantic task of supporting the great height above. Nor could the ingenious strengthening of the stone walls (consisting of ashlar inside and out, facing intermediate rubble) by iron clamps supply the requisite firmness.

It seems doubly unfortunate that the choir stalls should occupy the position they do here, when there is such liberal space in the three bays east of the crossing in front of the altar. The stone of their exterior backing is cold and gray beside the ochre warmth of the surrounding piers. The classic Plateresque statues and bas-reliefs, as well as the exquisitely carved, Florentine decoration, seems strangely out of place under the Gothic loveliness above. The trascoro itself is warmer in color, but of the extravagant later period. Its pilasters, spandrels, and band-courses are filled with elaborate and fine Florentine ornamentation, while the niches themselves, with high reliefs representing the Annunciation, the Nativity, and the Adoration of the Magi, are not quite free from a certain Gothic feeling. Above, great statues of Church Fathers weigh heavily on the delicate work and smaller scale below.

The carving of the double tier of walnut choir stalls is at once restrained and rich. Beautiful Gothic tracery surmounts in both tiers the figures that fill the panels above the seats. Below are characters from the Old Testament,—Daniel, Jeremiah, Abel, David busily playing his harp, Joshua "Dux Isri," Moses with splendid big horns and tablets, Tobias with his little fish slit up the belly. Above stand firmly full-length figures of the Apostles and saints. With the exception of some of the work near the entrance,{113} which is practically Renaissance in feeling, all this carving is late Gothic from the last part of the fifteenth century and executed by the masters Fadrique, John of Malines, and Rodrigo Aleman. Two of the stalls, more elevated and pronounced than the rest, are for the hereditary canons of the Cathedral, the King of Leon and the Marquis of Astorga. Excellent as they are, these stalls are not nearly so rich in design nor beautiful in execution as the Italian Renaissance choir stalls, in the Convent of San Marcos directly outside the city walls, carved some decades later by the Magister Guillielmo Dosel.

The crossing is splendidly broad, the transepts appearing, as one glances north and south, as much the main arms of the cross as do the nave and choir. The southern arm is quite new, having been completely rebuilt by D. Juan Madrazo and D. Demetrio Amador de los Rios. The glazing of its window and the arabesques cannot be compared to those of the original fabric in the northern arm. The four piers of the crossing, though slender and graceful, carry full, logical complements of shafts for the support of the various vaulting ribs, intersecting at their apexes.

The retablo above the high altar is in its simplicity as refreshing as the light and sunniness of the church. In place of the customary gaudy carving, it merely consists of a series of painted fifteenth-century tablets set in Gothic frames. Simple rejas close the western bays and a florid Gothic trasaltar, the eastern termination. Directly back of the altar lies a noble and dignified figure, the founder of the church, King Ordoño II. At his feet is a little dog, looking for all{114} the world like a sucking pig in a butcher's window. And above him is an ancient and most curious Byzantine relief of the Crucifixion. The lions and castles of his kingdom surround the old king. The greater portion of the carving must belong to the oldest in the church.

In looking at the vaulting and considering the difficulty of planning the "girola" or ambulatory, one realizes that such construction could only be the outcome of many years of study, experiment and inspiration. Perfection means long previous schooling and experience. The apsidal chapels that radiate from it have glass differing in excellence. Here and there frescoes of the thirteenth century line these earliest walls. It is surprising in how many different places old sepulchres are to be found, all more or less similar in their general design and belonging to the period of transition from the Byzantine to the Gothic, yet each denoting the building period of the place where it stands. Some of the subjects of the carving are most curious: a hog playing the bagpipes, the devil in the garb of a father confessor, tempting a penitent; or again, a woman suckling an ass. Saint Froila lies on one side of the altar. Not only his sanctity but even his authenticity were disputed by various disbelievers in the city, prior to his being brought to this final resting-place. The matter was decided by placing the body in question on an ass's back, whereupon the sagacious animal took his holy burden to the spot where it deserved burial.

In the Capilla de Nuestra Señora del Dado, or "of the die," stands a Virgin with the face of the Christ child ever bleeding, it is said, since the time when an{115} unlucky gambler in a fit of despair threw his dice against the Babe.

Directly opposite Ordoño's tomb lies the Countess Sancha, who, in a burst of religious enthusiasm, decided to leave her considerable worldly goods to the Church instead of to her nephew. This was more than he could stand, and he murdered her. Below her figure he is represented, receiving his just reward in being torn to pieces by wild horses.

To the north, a florid Gothic portal leads on a higher level to the Chapel of Santiago. This has been, and is still being, restored. Its three vaults are differently arched, the ribs not being carried down against the side walls to the floor, but met by broad corbels supported by curious figures. The stonework is cold and gray in comparison to the church proper.

Separating the northern entrance from the cloisters is a row of chapels, leading one into the other and crowded with tombs and sculpture. There are few more complete cloisters in Spain. Large and elaborate, they are a curious mixture of the old Gothic and the Renaissance restorations of the sixteenth century. Ancient Gothic tombs, their archivolts crowded with angels, pierce the interior walls, while the vaults themselves are most elaborately groined, the arches and vaulting being later filled with Renaissance bosses and rosettes. In the sunny courtyard are piled up the Renaissance turrets and sculptures that once usurped on the façades the places of the older Gothic ornamentation. The northern portal itself is practically hidden by the chapels and cloisters. It is fine Gothic work. A Virgin and Child form a mullion in its centre, while very worldly-looking women parade{116} in its archivolts. Everywhere are the arms of the United Kingdoms. A great portion of the ancient tapestry blue and Veronese red coloring is still preserved, throwing out the old Gothic figures in their true tints.

This aerial tabernacle, so rich and yet so simple, lies in the heart of a city so fabulously old that the Cathedral itself belongs rather to its later days. The old houses and streets have a dryness and close smell like that in the ancient sepulchres of parched countries. Monuments and walls and turrets of Rome crumble around the houses and vaults of Byzantium. The naïve frescoes and carvings of the eighth and ninth centuries seem to look down with childlike wonder and amazement on the pedestrians now crowding the patterned pavements, or pressing against the shady sides of the time-worn arches.

The worshipers who tread the narrow lanes leading to and from the altar have changed, but little else. The square, mediæval castles with their angular towers still command the approach of the main thoroughfares. The crabbed old watchman with lantern and stick under his cape treads his doddering gait across the courtyards through the night hours, crying after the peal of the bell above, "Las doce han dado y sereno," "Las trece han dado y aleviendo," "Las quince han dado y nublano," just as in the middle ages, so that the good peasant may know time and weather and merely turn in his bed, if neither crops nor creatures need care.

Santa Maria de Regla too stands to-day as she stood in the middle ages, a monument to the care and affection of her children. She has the same spirituality,{117} harmony of proportions, slenderness, and purity of lines, and she looks down and blesses us to-day with the same serenity and queenly grace which she wore in the fourteenth century. She is the finest Gothic cathedral in Spain.{118} {119}






Photo by J. Lacoste, Madrid


I withdrew at once with the Morisco into the cloisters of the Cathedral.—Don Quixote.


THE peace of death is over Toledo, unbroken by any invasion of modern thought or new architecture since her last deep sighs mingled with the distant echoes of the middle ages. But she still wears the mantle of her imperial glory. She sleeps in the fierce, beating sunlight of the twentieth century like the enchanted princess of fairy tales, undisturbed by, and unconscious of, the world around her.

The atmosphere is transparent; the sky spreads from lapis-lazuli to a cobalt field back of the snow-capped, turquoise Sierra de Gredo mountains, while a clear streak of lemon color throws out the sharp silhouette of the battlements and towers.

There is sadness and desolation in the decay, a pathetically forlorn and tragical widowhood, strangely affecting to the senses.

A blackened ruin, lonely and forsaken,
Already wrapt in winding-sheets of sand;
So lies Toledo till the dead awaken,—
A royal spoil of Time's resistless hand.

Toledo! The name rings with history, romance and legend. Enthralling images of the past rise before one and vanish like the ghosts of Macbeth. Capital{122} of Goth, of Moslem, and of Christian; mightiest of hierarchical seats,[8] city of monarch and priest, she has worn a double diadem. Gautier says, "Jamais reine antique, pas même Cléopatre, qui buvait des perles, jamais courtisane Vénitienne du temps de Titien n'eut un écrin plus étincelant, un trousseau plus riche que Notre Dame de Tolède." But the flame of life which once burned warm and bright is now extinct and all her glory has vanished. Neglected churches, convents, palaces, and ruins lie huddled together, a stern and solemn vision of the past, waiting with the silence of the tomb, broken only by the continual tolling of her hoarse bells.

The city has a superb situation. Once seen, it is forever impressed upon the memory. The hills on which it stands rise abruptly from the surrounding campagna, which bakes brown and barren and crisp under the scorching rays of the sun, and stretches away to the distant mountains, vast and uninterrupted in its solitude and dreariness. It is "pobre de solemnidad,"—solemnly poor, as runs the touching phrase in Spanish. There is no joy and freshness of vegetation, no glistening of wet leaves, no scent of flowers. You read thirst in the plains, hunger in the soil-denuded hills. All is naked and bare, without a softening line or gentler shadow, lying fallow in spring, unwatered in drought, and ungarnered at harvest time.

The Tagus rushes round the city in the shape of a{123} horseshoe, confining and protecting it as the Wear does the towers of Durham. It boils and eddies 'twixt its narrow, rocky confines, hurrying from the gloomy shadows to the sunshine below, through which it slowly sweeps, murky and coffee-colored, to the horizon, no life between its flat banks, no commerce to mark it as a highway.

You pass over the high-arched Alcantara Bridge, which the Campeador and his kinsman, Alvar Fanez, crossed with twelve hundred horsemen at their back, to demand justice from their sovereign. A broad terrace crawls like a serpent up the steep incline to the city gates. A forest of soaring steeples rises above you, topped by the square bulk of the Alcazar.

The city smells sleepy. The narrow streets, or rather alleys, of the town wind tortuously around the stucco façades, with no apparent starting-point or destination, as confused as a skein of worsted after a kitten has played with it. Thus were they laid out by the wise Arabs, to afford shade at all hours of the day. At every corner, one runs into some detail of historical or artistic interest,—history and architecture here wander hand in hand.

Huge, wooden doors, closely studded with scallop nails as big as a man's fist, proud escutcheons of noble races lost to all save Spain's history; charming glimpses of interior courtyards and gardens glittering fresh in their emerald coloring, and sweet with the scent of orange blossoms; Gothic crenelations, Renaissance ironwork and railing, and Moorish capitals and ornamentation, all pell-mell, the styles of six centuries often appearing in the same building. More than a hundred churches and chapels and forty{124} monasteries crumble side by side within the small radius of the city. Half of its area was once covered by religious buildings or mortmain property.


The church, be it a grand cathedral or the humble steeple of some little hamlet, is always the connecting link between past and present. It has been the highest artistic expression of the people, and it remains an eloquent witness to continuity and tradition. It is what makes later ages most forcibly "remember," for it seeks to embody and satisfy the greatest need of the human heart.

A.  Chapel of Saint Blase. M.  Capilla Mayor.
B. Chapel of the Parish of Saint Peter. N. Chapel of the Tower or of the Dean.
C. Octagon. O. Mozarabic Chapel.
D. Chapel of the Virgin of the Sanctuary. P. Choir.
E. Large Sacristy. Q. Portal of the Lions.
F. Court of the Hall of Accounts. R. Portal of the Olive, or Gate of La Llana.
G. Chapel of the New Kings. S. Portal of the Choir.
H. Chapel of the Master of Santiago, D. Alvaro de Luna.      T. Portal of the Little Bread.
I. Chapel of Saint Ildefonso. V. Portal of the Visitation.
K. Chapter House. W. Portal of the Tower or Gate of Hell.
L. Chapel of the Old Kings or of the Holy Cross. X. Portal of the Scriveners or of Judgment.

The history of a great cathedral church of Spain is so closely connected with the civil life of its city that one cannot be thoroughly studied without some familiarity with the other. Spanish cathedrals differ in this respect from their great English and French sisters. In England, cathedrals were built and owned by the clergy, they belonged to the priests, they were surrounded and hedged in from the outside world by their extensive lawns and cloisters, refectories, chapter houses, bishops' palaces, and numerous monastic buildings. They were shut off from the rest of the world by high walls. In France, the cathedrals were the centre of civic life; their organs were the heart-throbs of the people; their bells were notes of warning. The very houses of the artisans climbed up to their sides and nestled for protection between the buttresses of the great Mother Church. Notre Dame d'Amiens, for instance, was the church of a commune, {125}what Walter Pater calls a "people's church." They belonged to the people more than to the clergy. They were a civil rather than an ecclesiastical growth, essentially the layman's glory.

In Spain, the church belonged to both. Municipal and ecclesiastical history were one and the same, going hand in hand in bloody strife or peaceful union,—the city was the body, the cathedral its animating soul. The cathedrals were meant, not for prayer alone, but to live in,—they were for festivals, meetings, thanksgivings, for surging, excited crowds. The church was an imperium in imperio. It was the rallying place in all great undertakings or excitements. Here the Cortes often met, the great church conclaves assembled, the mystical Autos or sacred plays were performed, in them soldiers gathered, prepared for battle, edicts were published, sovereigns were first proclaimed, and allegiance was sworn; kings were christened, anointed, and buried. The troubled murmurings of the lower classes were here first voiced. They were the art galleries; here were displayed their finest paintings, statues and tapestries; they were even museums of natural history, and exhibited the finest examples of their wood-carving and glass-work, and the iron and silversmith's arts. It is thus easy to see that the political history of Toledo becomes vital in connection with its Cathedral church.

The history of Toledo dates back to Roman days,—we find Pliny referring to the city as the metropolis of Carpentania. She was among the first cities of Spain to embrace Christianity. All the barbarians, with the exception of the Franks, were Arians, but the last Gothic ruler in Spain to withstand the Roman{126} faith was Leovgild, who reigned in the last half of the sixth century. He was also their first able administrator, the first who consistently strove to bring order out of the chaos of warring tribes and conflicting authorities. Contemporaries describe his palace at Toledo, his throne and apparel, and his council chamber, as of truly royal magnificence. It was reserved to his son Reccared to change the history of Spain by publicly announcing his conversion to the Roman faith before a council of Roman and Arian bishops held in Toledo in 587, at the same time inviting them to exchange their views fearlessly and, as many as would, to follow him. The Goths were never difficult to convert, and many of the bishops and of the lords who were present embraced the Catholic faith, to which a majority of the people already belonged. Gregory the Great, hearing of the success of Reccared's gentle and liberal proselytism, wrote to him: "What shall I do at the Last Judgment when I arrive with empty hands, and your Excellency followed by a flock of faithful souls, converted by persuasion?" He summoned a third council at Toledo in 589, and in concert with nearly seventy bishops, regulated the rites and discipline of the Church, at the same time excluding the Jews from all employments. In royal Toledo Reccared was anointed with holy oil, and he substituted the Latin for the Gothic tongue in divine service, where Isidore was the first to use it. In daily life Latin soon replaced Gothic. King Wamba built the great walls round the city, and King Roderick held his glorious tournament inside them.

Greater than any fame of Gothic monarch was that of the Church Councils which met here to determine{127} the course of early dogma and shape the destinies of the larger part of Christendom.

The most salient figure during the rule of the Gothic kings was Saint Ildefonso, who quite overshadows his royal contemporaries. In 711 the Moors conquered the city, which then became a dependency of the Caliphs of Damascus and Bagdad until a Moorish prince shook off the foreign yoke. Independent Arab princes ruled, with Toledo as capital of their empire, until Alfonso VI, King of Castile and Leon, in 1085, finally conquered it for himself and his successors.

During the reigns of the early Castilian kings, we find names connected with the city's history which became famous all over Spain. The Cid was the city's first Alcaide. Alfonso el Batallador and Pedro el Cruel stand out in sombre relief, and Toledo was the cradle of the dramatic Comunidades' rising, and the scene of the noble death of their patriotic leader Padella. The streets ran with blood, and the walls spoke of glorious resistance before the Flemish emperor had crushed the liberties of the people.

We have a description of the brilliant pageant of Ferdinand and Isabella's entry after defeating the king of Portugal. "The Prince of Aragon was in full armour on his war horse and Isabella riding a beautiful mule, splendidly caparisoned, the bridle being held by two noble pages. Followed by their gorgeous retinue they rode slowly towards the Cathedral, while the highest dignitaries of the Church, the archbishop, himself a mitred king, the canons, and the clergy, in their pontifical garments, preceded by the Cross, came forth from the Puerta del Perdon{128} to receive them. On each side of the arch above the doorway were two angels, and in the centre a young maiden richly clothed, with a golden crown on her head, to represent the image of 'La Bendita Madre de Dios, nuestra Señora.' When Ferdinand and Isabella and all the company had gathered around, the angels began to sing. The following day the trophies of war were presented to the Cathedral."

During the period immediately following the reign of the Catholic Kings, Toledo reached her highest prosperity. She numbered as many as 200,000 inhabitants;—to-day she has only 20,000. Glorious processions swept through her streets, the proud knights of the military orders of Alcantara, Calatrava, and Santiago, black-robed Dominican inquisitors, executioners, royal chaplains and major-domos, the Councils of the Indies, Castilian grandees, Roman princes and cardinals, brawling Flemish and Burgundian nobles, German landsknechts, and great Catholic ambassadors.

Toledo received her death-blow when Philip II, unable to brook the haughty claims of the Toledan archbishops, and feeling his power second to theirs, finally, in 1560, moved the capital of his realm to Madrid. Toledo's annals grew dark. So merciless was the Tribunal of the Inquisition that under its vigilant eye 3327 processes were disposed of in little more than a year. So Toledo fell from her former greatness.

The site of the Cathedral in the very heart of the city is by no means dominant. The church lies so low that even the spire is inconspicuous in the landscape. On three sides adjacent buildings completely{129} bar all view or approach. The only free perspective is on the fourth side, from the steps of the Ayuntamiento across the square.

The inscription above the door of the city hall, with its trenchant advice to the magistrates, is well worth notice:—

Nobles discretos varones,
Qui gobernais a Toledo
En aquatos escalones
Codicia, temor y miedo.
Por los comunes provechos
Deschad los particulares
Puez vos hezo Dios pilares
De tan requisimos lechos
Estat vermes y derechos.[9]

In the streets, the alcazerias which wind around the sides of the Cathedral, the rich silk guild traded. Here were shipped the goods that freighted vessels sailing for the American colonies.

During the Visigothic reign in Toledo, the Cathedral site was occupied by a Christian temple. It was transformed by the Moors after their occupancy of the city into their principal mosque; there they were still permitted to carry on their worship, according to the terms of the treaty made on their surrender of the city to King Alfonso IV in 1085. A year afterwards{130} King Alfonso went off on a campaign, leaving the capital in charge of his French queen, Constance, and the Archbishop Bernard, recently sent to Toledo at the King's request by the Abbot of Cluny. No sooner was King Alfonso outside the city walls than the regents turned the Moors out of the church. The Archbishop arrived with a throng of Christian citizens, battered down the main entrance, threw the Moslem objects of worship into the gutters, and set in their place the Cross and the Virgin Mary. When the news of this outrage reached the ears of the King, he returned in wrath to Toledo, swearing he would burn both wife and prelate who had dared to break the oath he had so solemnly sworn. The Moslems, sagely fearing later vengeance would be wreaked upon them should they permit matters to take their course, besought the returning sovereign to restrain his wrath while they released him from his oath,—"Whereat he had great joy, and, riding on into the city, the matter ended peacefully."

The appearance of this fanatic Cluny monk is of the greatest importance as heralding a new influence in the development and history of Spanish ecclesiastical architecture. His coming marks the introduction of a foreign style of building and a revolution in the previous national methods, known as "obra de los Godos," or work of the Goths. Further, with the gradual arrival of French ecclesiastics from Cluny and Citeaux, came also a greater interference from Rome in the management of the Spanish Church, and a radical limitation of the former power of the Peninsula's arrogant prelates. Owing to the new influence, the Italian mass-book was soon presented in{131} place of the ancient Gothic ritual and breviary. The foreign churchmen likewise aided in uniting sovereign, clergy, and nobility in common cause against the Saracen infidels now so firmly ensconced in the Peninsula. Spanish art had previously felt only national influences; now, through the door opened by the monks, it received potent foreign elements.

Spain had been far too much occupied with internal strife and political dissension to have had breathing spell or opportunity for the development of the fine arts and the building of churches. The passion for building which the French monks brought with them awoke entirely dormant qualities in the Spaniard, which in the early Romanesque, but especially in the Gothic edifices, produced beautiful, but essentially exotic fruits. First in the days of the Renaissance the architecture showed features which might be termed original and national. With the Cluniacs came not only French artisans but Flemish, German, and Italian, all taking a hand in, and lending their influences to the great works of the new art.

Nothing remains of the old Moorish-Christian house of worship. It was torn down by order of Saint Ferdinand (he had laid the foundation stone of Burgos as early as 1221), who laid the corner stone of the present edifice with great ceremony, assisted by the Archbishop, in the month of August, 1227 (seven years prior to the commencement of Salisbury and Amiens). The building was practically completed in 1493, during the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella, the most illustrious epoch of Spanish history. Additions and alterations injurious to the harmony and symmetry of the building were made till the end of the{132} seventeenth century, and again continued during the eighteenth. It thus represents the architectural inspiration and decadence of nearly six hundred years.

In style it belongs to the group of three great churches, Burgos, Toledo and Leon, which were based upon the constructional principles and decorative features termed Gothic. In some respects these churches embodied to a highly developed extent the organic principles of the style, in others, they fell far short of a clear comprehension of them. None of them had the beauty or the purity of the greatest of their French sisters. Burgos may be said to be most consistently Gothic in all its details, but neither Toledo nor Leon was free from the influence of Moorish art, which was indeed developing and flowering under Moslem rule in the south of the Peninsula, at the time when Gothic churches were lifting their spires into the blue of northern skies under the guidance and inspiration of the French masters. In many respects the Gothic could not express itself similarly in Spain and France,—climatic conditions differed, and, consequently, the architecture which was to suit their needs. In France, Gothic building tended towards a steadily increasing elimination of all wall surfaces. The weight and thrusts, previously carried by walls, were met by a more and more skillfully developed framework of piers and flying buttresses. Such a development was not practical for Spain nor was it understood. The widely developed fields for glass would have admitted the heat of the sun too freely, whereas the broad surfaces of wall-masonry gave coolness and shade. Nor were the sharply sloping{133} roofs for the easy shedding of snow necessary in Spain. In French and English Gothic churches, the light, pointed spire is the ornamental feature of the composition, whereas in the Spanish, with a few exceptions, the towers become heavy and square.

None of the three Cathedrals in question impresses us as the outcome of Spanish architectural growth, but seems rather a direct importation. They have the main features of a style with which their architects were familiar and in which they had long since taken the initial steps. They are working with a practically developed system, whose infancy and early growth had been followed elsewhere.

While in the twelfth, and the early portion of the thirteenth century, Frenchmen were gradually evolving the new system of ecclesiastical architecture, the Spaniards, destined to surpass them, were to all purposes still producing nothing but Romanesque buildings, borrowing certain ornamental or constructional features of the new style, but in so slight and illogical a degree, that their style remained based upon its old principles. They employed the pointed arch between arcades and vaulting, and unlike the French, threw a dome or cimborio over the intersection of nave and transepts. In some instances we find a regular French quadripartite vault at the crossing, but such changes are not sufficient to term the cathedrals of the period (Tudela, Tarragona, Zamora, and Lerida) Gothic. They remain historically, rather than artistically, interesting. With the second quarter of the thirteenth century, comes the change.

In style Toledo corresponds most closely to the early Gothic of the north of France. Its plan reminds{134} one forcibly of Bourges, though it is far more ambitious in size. Owing to the long period of its building, it bears late Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque features, while traces of Moorish influence are not wanting.

The Cathedral of Toledo was built in an imaginative, creative and passionate age,—an age when the ordinary mason was a master builder as well as sculptor, stimulated by local affection, pride and piety. The results of his work were tremendous,—his finished product was a storehouse of art. Artists of all nations had a hand in the work. Bermudez mentions 149 names of those who embellished the Cathedral during six centuries. Here worked Borgoña, Berruguete, Cespedes, and Villalpando, Copin, Vergara Egas, and Covarrubias. It is rather difficult to analyze their genius. They were not naturally artists, as were the French and Italians; they did not create as easily, but were rather stimulated by a more naïve craving for vast dimensions. With this we find interwoven in places the sparkling, jewel-like intricacy and play of light and shade so natural to the Moorish artisan, and the sombre, overpowering solemnity of the warlike Spanish cavalier.

It is necessary for a people at all times to find expression for its æsthetic life. Architecture, like literature, reflects the sentiments and tendencies of a nation's mind. As truly as Don Quixote, Don Juan, or the Cid express them, so do the stories told by Toledo, Leon, or Burgos. They reproduce the passions, the dreams, the imagination, and the absurdities of the age which created them.

Toledo's first architect, who superintended the{135} work for more than half a century, was named Perez (d. 1285). He was followed by Rodrigo, Alfonso, Alvar Gomez, Annequin de Egas, Martin Sanchez, Juan Guas, and Enrique de Egas. Hand in hand with the architects, worked the high priests.

The Archbishop of Toledo is the Primate of Spain. Mighty prelates have sat on that throne, and the chapter was once one of the most celebrated in the world. The Primate of Toledo has the Pope as well as the King of Spain for honorary canons, and his church takes precedence of all others in the land. The offices attached to his person are numerous. As late as the time of Napoleon's conquest of the city, fourteen dignitaries, twenty-seven canons, and fifty prebends, besides a host of chaplains and subaltern priests, followed in the train of the Metropolitan. At the close of the fifteenth century, his revenues exceeded 80,000 ducats (about $720,000), while the gross amount of those of the subordinate beneficiaries of his church rose to 180,000. This amount, or 12,000,000 reals, had not decreased at the beginning of the nineteenth century. In the middle ages he was followed by more horse and foot than either the Grand Master of Santiago or the Constable of Castile. When he threw his influence into the balance, the pretender to the throne was often victorious. He held jurisdiction over fifteen large and populous towns besides numbers of inferior places.

Many who occupied the episcopal throne of Toledo ruled Spain, not only by virtue of the prestige their high office gave them, but through extraordinary genius and remarkable attainments. They were great alike in war and in peace. Many of them combined{136} broadness of view and real learning with purity of morals. They founded universities and libraries, framed useful laws, stimulated noble impulses, corrected abuses, and promoted reforms. Popes called them to Rome to ask their advice in affairs of the Church. Bright in the history of Spain shine the names of such prelates as Rodriguez, Tenorio, Fonseca, Ximenez, Mendoza, Tavera, and Lorenzana.

From the tenth to the sixteenth centuries Castile was far less bigoted than other European nations, for, of all the daughters of the Mother Church, Spain was the most independent. Her kings and her primate were naturally her champions, ever ready and defiant. King James I even went so far as to cut out the tongue of a too meddlesome bishop. From early Gothic days to the time when Ferdinand began to dream of Spain as a power beyond the Iberian Peninsula, no kingdom in Europe was less disposed to brook the interference of the Pope. Ferdinand and Isabella thwarted him in insisting upon their right to appoint their own candidates for the high offices of the Spanish church, and the Pope was obliged to give way.

The figure we constantly encounter in the thrilling tilts between Rome and Spanish prelates is the Archbishop of Toledo. Like Richelieu and Wolsey, Ximenez and Mendoza towered above their time, and their great spirits still seem present within their church. Ximenez, better known in English as Cardinal Cisneros, rose to his high office much against his will from the obscurity of a humble monk. The peremptory orders of the Pope were necessary to make him leave his cell and become successively{137} Archbishop of Toledo, Grand Chancellor of Castile, Inquisitor General, Cardinal, Confessor to Queen Isabella, Minister of Ferdinand the Catholic, and Regent of the Kingdom of Charles V. He was "an austere priest, a profound politician, a powerful intellect, a will of iron, and an inflexible and unconquerable soul; one of the greatest figures in modern history; one of the loftiest types of the Spanish character. Notwithstanding the greatness thrust upon him, he preserved the austere practices of the simple monk. Under a robe of silk and purple, he wore the hard shirt and frock of St. Francis. In his apartments, embellished with costly hangings, he slept on the floor, with only a log of wood for his pillow. Ferdinand owed to him that he preserved Castile, and Charles V, that he became King of Spain. He did not boast when, pointing to the Cordon of St. Francis, he explained, 'It is with this I bridle the pride of the aristocracy of Castile.'"[10]

History may accuse him of the unpardonable expulsion of the Moriscos, and the retention of the Inquisition as well as its introduction into the New World,—but what he did was done from the strength of his convictions and according to what, in the light of his age, seemed the best for his country and his Church. He was perhaps even greater as a Spaniard than as a churchman. His conceptions were all grand, and he was as versatile as he was great. Victor in the greatest of all Spanish toils, he executed the polyglot version of the Scriptures, the most stupendous literary achievement of his age. Fitting his greatness is the simplicity of his epitaph:—{138}

Condideram musis Franciscus grande lyceum,
Condor in exiguo nunc ego sarcophago.
Praetextam junxi sacco, galeamque galero,
Frater, Dux, Praesul, Cardineusque pater.
Quin virtute mea junctum est diadema cucullo,
Cum mihi regnanti paruit Hesperia.

The figure of Cardinal Mendoza stands out clear and strong in the final struggle with Granada. It was he who first planted the Cross where the Crescent had waved for six centuries, and he was the first to counsel Isabella to assist the great discoverer. His keen intellect made him lend a ready ear and friendly hand to the rapid development of the science of his time and the fast-spreading taste for literature.

And so the line of Toledo's illustrious bishops continues,—leaders of the church militant, like the Montagues and Capulets, they fought from the mere habit of fighting, but they seldom stained their swords in an unworthy cause.


There is a great discrepancy between the interior and the exterior of the Cathedral. The former is as grand as the latter is insignificant and unworthy. The scale is tremendous. Only Milan and Seville cover a greater area, if the Cathedral is considered in connection with its cloisters. Cologne comes next to it in size. It runs from west to east, with nave and double side aisles, ending in a semicircular apse with a double ambulatory. As is characteristic of Spanish churches, it is astonishingly wide for its length,—{139}being 204 feet wide and 404 feet long. The nave is 98 feet high and 44 feet wide, while the outer aisles are respectively 26 and 32 feet across.

The exterior, with the exception of the ornamental portions of the portals and a few carvings, is all built of a Berroqueña granite. The interior is of a kind of mouse-colored limestone taken from the quarries of Oliquelas near Toledo. Like many limestones, it is soft when first quarried, but hardens with time and exposure.

The impression of the exterior is strangely disappointing. Imposing and massive, but irregular, squat, and encumbered by surrounding edifices clinging to its masonry. An indifferent husk, encasing a noble interior. Only one tower is completed, and no two portions of the decoration are symmetrical. The exterior has no governing scheme, no "idée maîtresse," no individual style, and is the outgrowth of no definite period. Successive generations of peace or war have enriched or destroyed its masonry. You stop with an exclamation of admiration in front of certain details of the exterior; before others, you only feel astonishment. The want of order and unity in the execution of its various portions and elevations is distressing.

Order and harmony may be preserved, even where an edifice is carried on by successive ages, each of which imparts to its work the stamp of its own developing skill and imagination. Very few of the great cathedrals were begun and completed in one style. Most of the great French churches show traces of the earlier Norman or Romanesque; most of the English Gothic, traces of the Norman or of the {140}different periods of English Gothic architecture; but one dominating scheme has been followed by the consecutive architects. The lack of such a governing and restraining principle is felt in the exterior of Toledo. Further than this, although successive wars and religious fanaticism have with their destructive fury injured so many of the beautiful statues and exquisite carvings and much of the stained glass of the French and English religious establishments, still the architecture itself has in the main been left undisturbed. In Toledo, there is hardly a portion of the early structure and decoration of the lower, visible part of the Cathedral which has not been altered or torn down by the various architects of the last three centuries.

As an obvious result, the portions of the exterior which are interesting are individual features, and not a unified scheme; and they are interesting historically, rather than in relation to or in dependence upon one another.

The west front, which is the principal façade, the various doorways and completed tower form the most interesting portions of the exterior.

The west front is flanked by two projecting towers, dissimilar in design. To the south is the uncompleted one, containing the Mozarabic chapel,[11] roofed by an octagonal cupola and surmounted by a lantern, strangely betraying in exterior form its Byzantine ancestry.

CATHEDRAL OF TOLEDO The choir stalls

Photo by J. Lacoste, Madrid

The choir stalls

To the north rises the spire which commands the city and the Cathedral of Toledo. It was begun in 1380 and completed in sixty years,—no long time when we take into account its size and detail and the {141}carefulness of its construction. Rodrigo Alfonso and Alvar Gomez were the architects, and the Cardinals Pedro Tenorio and Tavera directed the work. Although it lacks the soaring grace of the towers of Burgos, it possesses quiet strength and a majestic dignity, and the transitions between its various stories have been executed with a skill scarcely less than that shown in the older tower of Chartres. It is in fact full of a character of its own. Divided into three parts, it rises to a height of some three hundred feet and terminates in a huge cross. The principal building material is the hard but easily carved Berroqueña granite, with certain portions finished in marble and slate. The lower part, which is square, has its faces pierced by interlacing Gothic arches, windows of different shapes, ornamental coats-of-arms and marble medallions. It is crowned by a railing and, at the corners where the transition to the hexagon occurs, by stone pyramids. The central part is hexagonal in plan and ornamented by arches and crocketed finials. Above it rises the slate spire terminating under the cross in a conical pyramid, added after a fire in the year 1662. The spire is curiously and uniquely encircled by three collars of pointed iron spikes, intended to symbolize the crowns of thorns.

The great bells of the Cathedral peal from this tower, among them the huge San Eugenio, better known, though, by the name "Campana gorda," or the Big-bellied Bell, weighing 1543 arobes (about 17 tons) and put up the same day it was cast in the year 1753. Its fame is shown by the old lines, which enumerate the wonders of Spain as the—{142}

Campana la de Toledo,
Iglesia la de Leon,
Reloj el de Benavente,
Rollos los de Villalon.[12]

Fifteen shoemakers could sit under it and draw out their cobbler's thread without touching each other. A legend relates that "the sound of it reached, when first it was rung, even to heaven. Saint Peter fancied that the tones came from his own church in Rome, but on ascertaining that this was not the case, and that Toledo possessed the largest of all bells, he got angry and flung down one of his keys upon it, thus causing a crack in the bell which is still to be seen."

Not only does the hoarse croak of Gorda's voice remind the tardy worshiper of the approaching hour of prayer, but it tells each and all of the "barrio" where the fire is raging. Though the prudent Toledan may not know the art of signing his name or reading his Pater Noster, full well he knows, whenever Gorda speaks, whether the danger is at his own door or at his neighbor's.

The lower portion of the façade between the towers is composed of a fine triple portal dating from 1418 to 1450, which, despite later changes, is still an excellent piece of Gothic work. It contains over seventy statues. Above, the façade is composed of an ornamental screen inexpressive of the structure and the internal arrangement of the edifice. A railing separated the "lonja," or enclosure immediately in front{143} of the entrances, from the street outside. The central entrance is the Gate of Pardon; to the north is the Gate of the Tower, also called the Gate of Hell; to the south is the Gate of the Scriveners or of Judgment. The middle door is the largest and most important. For centuries the steps leading to it have been climbed and descended by the pregnant women of Toledo, to insure an easy parturition.

The doors themselves are covered with most interesting bronze work, showing how far the Spaniards had in later centuries developed the art of their skillful Saracenic predecessors. The arch of the Gate of Pardon is exquisitely formed and its moldings and recesses are profusely decorated with finely chiseled figures and ornaments. Each of the three doors is surmounted by a relief, that over the Pardon representing the Virgin presenting the chasuble to Saint Ildefonso, who is kneeling at her feet.

The Scriveners' Gate derives its name from having been the door of entry for the scriveners when they came to the Cathedral to take their oath, but, though they had a gate for their own particular use, they did not seem to enjoy an especially good reputation. According to an old verse, their pen and paper would drop from their hands to dance an independent fandango long before their souls ever entered the Kingdom of Heaven.

Above the door is an inscription commemorative of the great exploits of the Catholic Sovereigns and Cardinal Mendoza and of the expulsion of the Jews from the Kingdoms of Castile, Aragon and Sicily.

The principal feature above the doors is a classical gable which extends the whole width of the façade, its{144} field filled with colossal pieces of sculpture representing the Last Supper. Our Lord and the Apostles are seated, each in his own niche. It recalls the carving over the northeast entrance of Notre Dame du Puy. Nothing could be more ineffective and out of place than to crown this portion of the Gothic building with a Greek gable end. Finally, above the gable, with a curious pair of arches built out in front of it, comes a circular rose almost thirty feet in diameter, of early fourteenth-century work, this again being surmounted by late eighteenth-century Baroque additions.

There are two doorways on the south side. The Gate of the Lions, which forms the southern termination to the transept, is of course named from the lions standing over the enclosing rail directly in front of it, each supporting its shield. Here you have a bit of the finest work of the exterior, a most exquisite specimen of the Gothic work of the fifteenth century. Its detail and finish are remarkable, and few pieces of Spanish sculpture of its time surpass it in elegance and grace. The larger figures are most interesting, varying greatly in execution and character. Those of the inner arches are stiff and still struggling for freedom from tradition, but of admirably carved drapery,—while the bishops in the niches to the right and left have faces radiating kindness and patriarchal benignity, faces we meet and bless in our own walks of life to-day. The bronze Renaissance doors are as fine as their setting,—splendid examples of the metal stamping of the sixteenth century, and the wooden carving on their inner surfaces is equally fine. The bronze knocker might easily have come from the workshop of the great Florentine goldsmith.{145}

The Gate of La Llana, west of the Gate of the Lions, is as ludicrous in its eighteenth-century dress as the gable of the west façade.

On the north side of the church we find three gates; in the centre, forming the northern entrance to the transept, the Puerta del Reloi[c], and east and west of it, the Puerta de Santa Catalina, and the Puerta de la Presentacion.


You leave the outside with a feeling of distress at having viewed a patchwork of architectural composition, feebly decorating and badly expressing a noble and mighty frame. You enter into a light of celestial softness and purity. It seems an old and faded light. As soon as you regain vision in the cool, refreshing twilight, you experience the long-deferred exultation. You are amid those that pray,—the poor and sorrowing, those that would be strengthened. Here voices sink to a reverent whisper, for curiosity is hushed into awe. "I could never fathom how a man dares to lift up his voice to preach in a cathedral,—what has he to say that will not be an anti-climax?" says Robert Louis Stevenson, and you are struck by the force of his remark when you compare the droning voice coming from one corner of the building with the glorious expression of man's faith rising above and around you. The quiet majesty and silent eloquence of the one accentuates the feebleness of the other.

For the interior is as simple and restrained and the planning as logical and lucid as the exterior is{146} blameworthy and unreasonable. Here is rhythm and harmony. The constructive problems have been ingeniously mastered, and the carved and decorated portions subordinated to the gigantic scheme of the great monument. The sculptures are limited to their respective fields. Structural and artistic principles go hand in hand. Eloquently the carvings speak the language of the time,—they become a pictorial Bible, open for the poor man to read, who has no knowledge of crabbed, monastic letters. They are the language of true religion, the religion that may change but can never die.

The plan is unquestionably the grand feature of the Cathedral; the beauty and scale of it challenge comparison with those of all other churches in Christendom. The vaulting and its development, the concentration of the thrust upon the piers and far-leaping flying buttresses are unquestionably on such a scale and of such character as to place it among the mightiest, if not the most pure and well-developed Gothic edifices. It is like a giant that knows not the strength of his limbs nor the possibilities in his mighty frame.

You do not feel the great height of the nave, owing to the immensity of all dimensions and the great circumference of the supporting piers. The nave and the double side aisles on each side are all of seven bays. The transept does not project beyond the outer aisles. The plan proper has thus, at a rough glance, the appearance of a basilica and seems to lack the side arms of the Gothic cross. The choir consists of one bay, and the chevet formed by an apse to the choir of five bays. Both aisles continue around the chevet. Outside these again, and between the buttresses of the main{147} outer walls, lie the different chapels, the great cloister and the different compartments and dependencies belonging to church and chapel,—a tremendous development, accumulation, growth,—a city in itself. The cloisters, as well as almost all the chapels, were added after the virtual completion of the Cathedral proper.

The chevet is the keynote of the plan, and the solution of the problem, how to vault the different compartments lying between the three concentric circular terminations beyond the choir. Their vaulting shows constructive skill and ingenuity of the highest order. The architects solved the problem with a simplicity and grandeur which places their genius on a level with that of the greatest of French builders. There are no previous examples of Spanish churches where similar problems have been dealt with tentatively. We are thus forced to acknowledge that the schooling for, and consequent mastery of, the problem, must have been gained on French soil. The central apse is surrounded by four piers, the two aisles are separated by eight, and the outer wall is marked by sixteen points of support. The bays in both aisles are vaulted alternately by triangular and virtually rectangular compartments. The vista from west to east is perfectly preserved, and the distance from centre to centre of every second pair of outer piers is as nearly as possible the same as that of the inner row. The outer wall of the aisles, except where the two great chapels of Santiago and San Ildefonso are introduced, was pierced alternately by small, square chapels opposite the triangular, vaulting compartments and circular chapels opposite the others.{148}

In the cathedrals of Notre Dame de Paris, Saint Remi of Rheims, and in Le Mans, we find intermediate triangular vaulting compartments introduced, but they are either employed with inferior skill or in a different form. In none of these cathedrals do they call for such unstinted admiration as those of the architect of Toledo. They just fall short of the happiest solution. In Saint Remi, for instance, we have intermediate trapezoids instead of rectangles, the inner chord being longer than the exterior.

The seventy-two well-molded, simple, quadripartite vaults of the whole edifice (rising in the choir to about one hundred, and, in the inner and outer aisles, to sixty and thirty-five feet) are supported by eighty-eight piers. The capitals of the engaged shafts, composed of plain foliage, point the same way as the run of the ribs above them. Simple, strong moldings compose the square bases. The great piers of the transept are trefoiled in section. The outer walls of the main body of the church are pierced by arches leading into uninteresting, rectangular chapels, some of them decorated with elaborate vaulting. In the outer wall of the intermediate aisle is a triforium, formed by an arcade of cusped arches, and above this, quite close to the point of the vault, a rose window in each bay. The clerestory, filling the space above the great arches on each side of the nave, is subdivided into a double row of lancet-pointed windows, surmounted by a rosette coming directly under the spring of the vault.

The treatment of the crossing of transept and nave is in Toledo, as in all Spanish churches, emphatic and peculiar. The old central lantern of the cruciform{149} church was retained and developed in their Gothic as well as in their Renaissance edifices, and was permitted illogically to break the Gothic roof line. The lantern of Ely is the nearest reminder we have of it in English or French Gothic. In Spain the "cimborio" became an important feature and made the croisée beneath it the lightest portion of the edifice. It shed light to the east and west of it, into the high altar and the choir.

The position of the choir is striking and distressing. Its rectangular body completely fills the sixth and seventh bays of the nave, interrupting its continuity and spoiling the sweep and grandeur of the edifice at its most important point. It sticks like a bone in the throat. Any complete view of the interior becomes impossible, and its impressive majesty is belittled. One constantly finds the choir of Spanish cathedrals in this position, which deprives them of the fine perspective found in northern edifices. In Westminster Abbey, strangely enough, the choir is similarly placed, and there, as here, it is as if the hands were tied and the breath stifled, where action should be freest.

This peculiar position of the choir was owing to the admission of the laity to the transept in front of the altar. In earlier days the choir was adjacent to and facing the altar, the singers and readers being there enclosed by a low and unimportant rail. The short, eastern apses of the Spanish cathedrals and the undeveloped and insufficient room for the clergy immediately surrounding the altar almost necessitated this divorce of the choir. In France and England the happier and more logical alternative was resorted to,{150} of providing sufficient space east of the intersection of the transept for all the clergy.

The rectangular choir of Toledo is closed at the east by a magnificent iron screen; at the west, by a wall called the "Trascoro," acting as a background to the archbishop's seat. A doorway once pierced its centre but was blocked up for the placing of the throne.

If the position of the choir is unfortunate, its details are among the most remarkable and glorious of their time and country. The only entrance is through the great iron parclose or reja at the east. This, as well as the corresponding grille work directly opposite, closing off the bay in front of the high altar, are wonderful specimens of the iron-worker's craft, splendid masterpieces of an art which has never been excelled since the days of its mediæval guilds. The master Domingo de Cespedes erected the grille in the year 1548. The framework seems to be connected by means of tenons and mortices, while the scrolls are welded together. The larger moldings are formed of sheet iron, bent to the shape required and flush-riveted to their light frames. Neither the general design nor the details (both Renaissance in feeling) are especially meritorious, but the thorough mastery of the material is most astonishing. The stubborn iron has been wrought and formed with as much ease and boldness as if it had been soft limestone or plaster. It is characteristic of the age that the craftsman has not limited himself to one material. Certain portions of the smaller ornaments are of silver and copper. Originally their shining surfaces, as well as the gilding of the great portion of the{151} principal iron bars, must have touched the whole with life and color. It was all covered with black paint in the time of the Napoleonic wars to escape the greedy hands of La Houssaye's victorious mob, and the gates still retain the sable coat that protected them.

Even a more glorious example of Spanish craftsmanship is found in the choir stalls which surround us to the north and south and west as soon as we enter. Here we are face to face with the finest flowering of Spanish mediæval art. Théophile Gautier, generalizing upon the whole composition, says: "L'art gothique, sur les confins de la Renaissance, n'a rien produit de plus parfait ni de mieux dessiné." The whole treatment of the work is essentially Spanish.

The stalls, the "silleria," are arranged in two tiers, the upper reached by little flights of five steps and covered by a richly carved, marble canopy, supported by slender Corinthian columns of red jasper and alabaster. All the stalls are of walnut, fifty in the lower row, seventy in the upper, exclusive of the archbishop's seat. The right side of the altar, that is, the right side of the celebrant looking from the altar, is called the side of the Gospel,—the left, the side of the Epistle. The great carvings, differing in the upper and lower stalls in period and execution, are the work of three artists. The carvings of the lower row were executed by Rodriguez in 1495, those of the upper, on the Gospel side, by Alonso Berruguete, and those on the side of the Epistle, by Philip Vigarny (also called Borgoña), both of the latter about fifty years later (in 1543).

The reading desk of the upper stalls forms the back of the lower and affords the field for their sculptural{152} decoration. The subjects are the Conquest of Granada and the Campaigns of Ferdinand and Isabella. We are shown in the childish and picturesque manner in which the age tells its story, the various incidents of the war, all its situations and groups, its curious costumes, arms, shields, and bucklers, and even the names of the fortresses inscribed on their masonry. We can recognize the Catholic monarchs and the great prelate entering the fallen city amid the grief-stricken infidels.

The spirit of the work is distinctly that of the period which has gone before, without any intimations of that to come. It has the character of the German Gothic, recalling Lucas of Holland and his school. If it has a grace and beauty of its own, there is also a childish grotesqueness without any of the self-assured mastery, so soon to spread its Italian light. The imagination and composition are there, but not the execution,—the mind, but not the hand.

The carvings of the upper stalls were executed by their masters in generous rivalry and in a spirit that shows a decided classic influence.

Many curious accounts of the time describe the excitement which prevailed during their execution and the various favor they found in the eyes of different critics. Looking at them, one's thoughts revert to that glorious dawn in which Cellini and Ghiberti and Donatello labored. The inscription says of the two artists, "Signatum marmorea tum ligna caelavere hinc Philippus Burgundio, ex adverso Berruguetus Hispanus: certaverunt tum artificum ingenia; certabunt semper spectatorum judicia."

Berruguete's work (on the Gospel side) shows {153}distinct traces of Michael Angelo's influence and his study in Italian ateliers with Andrea del Sarto and Baccio Bandinelli.[13] The nervous vigor of the Italian giant and the purity of style which looked back at Greece and Rome, are apparent.

The subjects of Vigarny's work, as also of Berruguete's, are taken from the Old Testament. They have a more subtle charm, more grace and freedom. Some of them show strength and an unerring hand, others, delicacy and exquisite subtleness. Where the Maestro Mayor of Charles V is powerful and energetic, Vigarny is imaginative and rich.

Comparing the upper and lower rows of panels, we must see what remarkable steps had been taken in so short a time by the sculptors. A lightness of execution, a victorious self-reliance, seems to follow close on the steps of tentative, even if conscientious, effort. The carving, the bold relief of the chiseling, have a vividness and intensity of expression, surpassing some of the best work of Italy and France.

The niches in the marble canopy above the upper row of stalls are filled with figures standing almost in full relief, and representing the genealogy of Christ.

The outer walls of the choir are also completely covered with sculpture. It is thoroughly Gothic in character, crude, and fumbling for expression, consisting of arcades with niches above containing alto-relievo illustrations of Old Testament scenes and characters. You recognize the Garden of Eden, Abraham with agonized face, Isaac, Jacob, passages from Exodus, and other familiar scenes. Many of the panels{154} depict further the small, everyday occurrences and incidents so loved by mediæval artists, and so full of earnest, religious feeling. Crowning it all, amid the pinnacles, are a whole flock of angels, quite prepared for Ascension Day. It is all very similar to the early fourteenth-century work in French cathedrals.

The bay in front of the high altar, forming with it the Capilla Mayor, and the choir are closed from the transept by a huge reja as fine as the one facing it, and the work of the Spaniard Francesco Villalpando (1548).[14]

The Capilla Mayor originally consisted of the one bay to the east of the transept, the adjacent terminating portion of the nave being the chapel containing the tombs of the kings. The great Cardinal Ximenez received Isabella's permission to remove the dividing wall in case he could accomplish the task without disturbing any of the monarchs' coffins. The walls all round, both internally and externally, are completely covered with sculpture. Many of the figures are faithful portraits; many of the groups tell an interesting story. On the Gospel side there are two carvings, one over the other, the upper representing Don Alfonso VIII, and the lower, the shepherd who guided the monarch and his army to the renowned plains of Las Navas de Tolosa, where the battle was fought which proved so glorious to Christian arms. One likewise sees the statue of the Moor, Alfaqui Abu Walid, who threw himself in the path of King Alfonso and prevailed upon him to forgive Queen Constance and Bishop Bernard for the expulsion of the{155} Moors from their mosque, contrary to the king's solemn oath.

All around us lie the early rulers of the House of Castile, Alfonso VII, Sancho the Deserted, and Sancho the Brave, the Prince Don Pedro de Aguilar, son of Alfonso XI, and the great Cardinal Mendoza. Below in the vault lie, by the sides of their consorts, Henry II, John I, and Henry III.

At the end of the chapel, acting as a background to the altar, you find a composition constantly met in and characteristic of Spanish cathedrals. The huge "retablo" is nothing but a meaningless, gaudy and sensational series of carved and decorated niches. It is carved in larchwood and merely reveals a love of the cheap and tawdry display of the decadent florid period of Gothic.

Back of the retablo and the high altar, you are startled by the most horrible and vulgar composition of the church. Nothing but the mind of an idiot could have conceived the "transparente."[15] It has neither order nor reason. The whole mass runs riot. Angels and saints float up and down its surface amid doughy clouds. The angel Raphael counterbalances the weight of his kicking feet by a large goldfish which he is frantically clutching. It is a piece of uncontrolled, imbecile decoration, perpetrated to the everlasting shame of Narciso Tomé in the first half of the eighteenth century.

Nothing except the choir and Capilla Mayor disturb{156} the simplicity of the aisles and the great body of the church. All other monuments or compositions are found in the numerous rooms and chapels leading from the outer aisles or situated between the lower arches of the outside walls. There are many of them, some important, others trivial. The Mozarabic chapel, in the southwest corner of the cathedral, is the one place in the world where you may still every morning hear the quaint old Visigothic or Mozarabic ritual recited. The chapel was constructed under Cardinal Ximenez in 1512 for the double purpose of commemorating the tolerance of the Moors, who during their dominion left to the Christians certain churches in which to continue their own worship, and also to perpetuate the use of the old Gothic ritual. It is most curious, almost barbaric: "The canons behind, in a sombre flat monotone, chant responses to the officiating priest at the altar. The sound combines the enervating effect of the hum of wings, whirr of looms, wooden thud of pedals, the boom and rush of immense wings circling round and round." It is strange to hear this echo a thousand years old of a magnanimous act in so intolerant an age.

In the eleventh century King Alfonso, at the insistence of Bernard and Constance, and the papal legate Richard, decided to abolish the use of the old Gothic ritual and to introduce the Gregorian rite. The Toledans threatened revolt rather than abandon their old form of worship. The King knew no other method of decision than to leave the question to two champions. In single combat the Knight of the Gothic Missal, Don Juan Ruiz de Mantanzas, killed his adversary while he himself remained unhurt. At{157} a second trial, where two bulls were entrusted with the perplexing difficulty, the Gothic bull came off victor. Councils were held and the Pope still persevered in his determination to abolish the old Spanish service book. Outside the walls of the city, in front of the King and churchmen and amid the entire populace of Toledo, a great fire was built, and the two mass-books were thrown into it. When the flames had died down, only the Gothic mass-book was found unscathed. Only after many years, when traditions had gradually altered and even much of the text had become meaningless to the clergy, did the Roman service book become universally introduced into Toledan houses of worship.

Two other chapels are of especial interest: those of Saint Ildefonso and Santiago. Saint Ildefonso, who became metropolitan in 658, is second only in honor to Saint James of Compostella; he was unquestionably the most favored of Toledo's long line of bishops.

Three natives of Narbonne had dared to question the perpetual virginity of Our Lady. Saint Ildefonso gallantly took up her defense and proved it beyond doubt or questioning in his treatise "De Virginitate Perpetua Sanctae Mariae adversus tres Infideles." It was a crushing vindication and a discourse of much reason and scriptural light. Shortly afterwards the Bishop, together with the King and court, went to the Church of Saint Leocadia to give public thanks. As soon as the multitude had had sufficient time to kneel at the saint's tomb, a group of angels appeared amid a cloud and surrounded by sweet scents. Next the sepulchre opened of its own accord. Calix relates, "Thirty men could not have moved the stone which{158} slid slowly from the mouth of the tomb. Immediately Saint Leocadia arose, after lying there three hundred years, and holding out her arm, she shook hands with Saint Ildefonso, speaking in this voice, 'Oh, Ildefonso, through thee doth the honor of My Lady flourish.' All the spectators were silent, being struck with the novelty and the greatness of the miracle. Only Saint Ildefonso, with Heaven's aid, replied to her. Now the virgin Saint looked as if she wished to return into the tomb and she turned around for that purpose, when the King begged of Saint Ildefonso that he would not let her go until she left some relic of her behind, for a memorial of the miracle and for the consolation of the city. And as Saint Ildefonso wished to cut a part of the white veil which covered the head of St. Leocadia, the King lent him a knife for that purpose, and this must have been a poniard or a dagger, though others say it was a sword. With this the saint cut a large piece of the blessed veil, and while he was giving it to the King, at the same time returning the knife, the saint shut herself up entirely and covered herself in the tomb with the huge stone."

CATHEDRAL OF TOLEDO Chapel of Santiago, tombs of D. Alvaro de Luna and his spouse

Photo by J. Lacoste, Madrid

Chapel of Santiago, tombs of D. Alvaro de Luna and his spouse

But even this was not a sufficient expression of gratitude to satisfy Saint Mary, for next week she herself came down to enjoy matins with Saint Ildefonso in the Cathedral. She sat in his throne and listened to his discourse with both pleasure and edification. A celestial host dispensed music in the choir, music of heaven, hymns, David's psalms and chants, such as never had been heard before, either in Seville or in Toledo. To cap it all, the Virgin made her favorite a splendid present of a chasuble worked by the angels with which she invested him with her own hands {159}before she said good-bye. You may still kiss your fingers after having touched the sacred slab upon which the Virgin stood and above which run the words of the Psalmist: "Adorabimus in loco ubi steterunt pedes ejus." The chapel is, similarly to the screens around the choir, of fourteenth-century work.

The Chapel of Santiago was erected by Count Alvaro de Luna, for more than thirty years the real sovereign of Castile. It is most elaborately decorated throughout with rich Gothic work, interwoven with sparkling filigree of Saracenic character. The tombs of the Lunas are of interest because of the great Count. His own is not the original one. The first mausoleum which he erected to himself was so constructed that the recumbent effigy or automaton could, when mass was said, slowly rise, clad in full armor, and remain kneeling until the service was ended, when it would slowly resume its former posture. This was destroyed at the instigation of Alvaro's old enemy, Henry of Aragon, who remained unreconciled even after the death of his old minister. At each corner of Alvaro's tomb kneels a knight of Santiago, at his feet a page holds his helmet, his own hands are crossed devoutly over the sword on his breast, and the mantle of his order is folded about his shoulders. His face wears an expression of sadness.

Alvaro began his career as a page in the service of Queen Catharine (Plantagenet). He ended it as Master of Santiago, Constable of Castile, and Prime Minister of John II, whom he completely ruled for thirty-five years. He lived in royal state, became all-powerful and arrogant. His diplomacy effected{160} the marriage of Henry II and Isabella of Portugal, but he later incurred the enmity of Isabella, was accused of high treason, found guilty, and executed in the square of Valladolid. Pius II said of him, "He was a very lofty mind, as great in war as he was in peace, and his soul breathed none but noble thoughts."

And thus we may continue all around the Cathedral, past the successive chapels, vestries, sanctuaries and treasuries,—the architecture and sculpture of each connected with great events and telling its own story of dark tragedy or lighter romance.

In one, the Spanish banners used to be consecrated before leading the hosts against the Moors; in another, Spain now keeps her priceless treasures under the locks of seven keys hanging from the girdles of an equal number of canons. There are silver and gold and pearl and precious jewels sufficient to set on foot every stagnant Spanish industry. The 8500 pearls of the Virgin's cape might alone feed a province for no short time. They are buried in the dark. Outside in the light, the children of Spain are starving and without means of obtaining food. At one's elbow the whine of the beggar is continually heard, till one recalls Washington Irving's words: "The more proudly a mansion has been tenanted in the days of its prosperity, the humbler are its inhabitants in the days of her decline, and the palace of the king commonly ends in being the resting-place of the beggar."

Here and there, in the interior as in the exterior, we find, mixed with or decorating the Gothic, Moorish and Renaissance details and the later extravagances which followed the decline of the Gothic. Even where the carvers are expressing themselves{161} in Gothic or Renaissance details, we frequently observe an extreme richness, a love of chiaroscuro, of sparkling jewel-like light and shade, and intricately woven ornamentation which betrays the influence of the Arab. We see the Morisco, a kind of fusion of French and Moorish, in many places. The triforium of the choir is decidedly Moorish in its design, although it is Gothic in all its details and has carvings of heads and of the ordinary dog-tooth enrichment instead of merely conventionalized leaf and figure ornament. It consists of a trefoil arcade. In the spandrels between its arches are circles with heads and, above these, triangular openings pierced through the wall. The moldings of all the openings interpenetrate, and the whole arcade has the air of intricate ingenuity so usual in Moorish work. Again, in the triforium of the inner aisle we find Moorish influence,—the cusping of the arcade is not enclosed within an arch but takes a distinct horseshoe outline, the lowest cusp near the cap spreading inward at the base. We see Moorish tiles, we find Moorish cupolas as in the Mozarabic chapel, and Moorish doorways, as the exquisite one leading into the Sala Capitular,—here and there and everywhere, we suddenly come upon details betraying the Arab intimacy.

The children of the Renaissance also embellished in their new manner, not only in the magnificent carvings of the choir but in a variety of places, for instance, the doors themselves contained within the Moorish molds leading to the Sala just mentioned, the entire chapel of St. Juan, the Capilla de Reyes Nuevos, portions of the Puerta del Berruguete, and the bronze doors of the Gate of the Lions.{162}

Again, on the capitals and bases of many of the piers, with the exception of those of the central nave, Byzantine influence may be seen.

So each age, according to its best ken, dealt with the Cathedral. In among the varying styles of architectural decoration, the sister arts embellish the stone surfaces or are hung upon them. There are paintings by Titian, Giovanni Bellini, and Rubens, by El Greco, Goya, and Ribera; Italian and Flemish tapestries, and frescoes too. Probably the greater portion of the main walls were covered with them, for here and there traces are still to be seen and a tree of Jesse remains in the tympanum of the south transept, and near it an enormous painting of Saint Christopher.

While the "Tresorio" may have been the treasure-house of the clergy, the church itself was that of the people. Here was their art museum, here were their galleries. The decorations became the primers from which they learnt their lessons. Here they would meet in the afternoon hour as the light fell aslant sapphire and ruby, through the clerestory openings. It would light up their treasures with strange, unearthly glory and form aureoles and haloes of rainbow splendor over the heads of their beloved saints. Cool amethyst and emerald and warmer amber and gold touched the darkest corners, and a gold and purple glory illuminated the high altar.

Some of the earlier glass is as fine as any to be found in Europe. The depth and intensity of the colors are remarkable. Probably none of it was Spanish, but all was imported from France, Belgium, or Germany. The glass in the rose of the north transept and in the eastern windows of the transept{163} clerestory can hold its own beside that of the cathedrals of Paris and Amiens. The subject scheme of the rose in the north transept is truly noble. The earliest glass is that in the nave (a little later than 1400), and this is Flemish. The windows of the aisles are at least a century later. Their composition is simple and broad, the coloring rich and deep, and the interior dusk of the church enhances the value of the sunlight filtering through the glass.

Better than to descend into the immense crypt below the Cathedral, with its eighty-eight massive piers corresponding to those above, is it to stray into the broken sunlight of the green and fragrant cloister arcade.

Bishop Tenorio procured the site for the church from the Jews, who here, right under the walls of the Christian church, held their market. A fresco adjoining the gate explains by what means. It represents on a ladder a fiendish-looking Jew who has cut the heart out of a beautiful, crucified child and is holding the dripping dagger in his hand. This fresco stirred up the fury of the Christian populace to the point of burning the Jewish market, houses and shops, which then were annexed by the Bishop. The fine, two-story Gothic arcade of the cloisters encloses a sun-splashed garden filled with fragrant flowers. Around the walls of the lower arcade are a series of very mediocre frescoes. The architecture itself is not nearly as interesting as that of the cloisters of Salamanca. It ought particularly to be so in this portion of the church, for here is the very climate and place for the courtyard life of the Spaniard.{164}


So lies the Cathedral, crumbling in the sunlight of the twentieth century. Beautiful, but strange and irreconcilable to all that is around her, she alone, the Mother Church, stands unshaken, lonely and melancholy, but grand and solemn in the midst of the paltry and tawdry happenings of to-day. She has served giants, and now sees but a race of dwarfs; princes have prostrated themselves at her altars, where now only beggars kneel. Her walls whisper loneliness, desertion, widowed resignation.

Note.—In connection with the remarks on page 160, a Catholic friend has pointed out how rarely, when Peter has been robbed, ostensibly to pay Paul, Paul (otherwise the Poor) has derived any benefit from it. It is willingly conceded that Henry VIII bestowed much of the wealth derived from the dissolution of the religious houses on his own favorites, and recent disclosures in France show as scandalous a diversion of some of the funds similarly obtained.









Photo by J. Lacoste, Madrid


Where through the long-drawn aisle and fretted vault,
The pealing anthem swells the note of praise.

ONCE upon a time, long, long ago, in the days of the Iberians, there was a city and its name was Segovia. It is now so old that all of it, with the exception of the great heap of masonry which crowns its summit, has practically crumbled into a mountain of ruins. The pile still stands, dominating the plain and facing the setting sun, triumphant over time and decay,—the Cathedral of Saint Mary and Saint Froila. Though Mary was the holier of the two patrons, owing to whose protection the church stands to-day so well preserved, still Froila was in certain respects no less remarkable. The Segovians of his day saw him split open a rock with his jackknife and prove to the Moslems then ruling his city, beyond all doubt, the validity of his Christian faith.

But long before saints and cathedrals, the Romans, recognizing the tenacious and commanding position as a military stronghold of the rock of Segovia, which rises precipitously from the two valleys watered by the Erasma and Clamores, pitched their camp upon its crest, renaming it Segobriga. The city was fortified, and under Trajan the truly magnificent aqueduct was built, either by the Romans or the devil, to supply the city with the waters of the Fonfria mountains.{168} A beautiful Segovian had at this early time grown weary of carrying her jugs up the steep hills from the waters below and promised the devil she would marry him, if he only would in a night's time once and for all bring into the city the fresh waters of the eastern mountains. She was worth the labor, and the suitor accepted the contract. Fortunately the Church found the arcade incomplete, the devil having forgotten a single stone, and the maid was honorably released from her part of a bargain, the execution of which had profited her city so greatly. Segovia still carries on her shield this "Puente del diabolo," with the head of a Roman peering above it.

The strong position of the city made it an envied possession to whatever conqueror held the surrounding country. It lay on the borderland, constantly disputed with varying fortune by Christian and Moslem. Under the dominion of the early Castilian kings, and even under the triumphant Moors, the youthful church prospered and grew, for in the government of their Christian subjects, the Mohammedans here, as elsewhere, showed themselves temperate and full of common sense. The invaders had, indeed, everywhere been welcomed by the numerous Jews settled in Spanish cities, who under the new rulers exchanged persecution for civil and religious liberty. Prompt surrender and the payment of a small annual tax were the only conditions made, to confirm the conquered, of whatever race or religion, in the possession of all their worldly goods, perfect freedom of worship and continued government by their own laws under their own judges.

In the eleventh century, Segovia was included in{169} the great Amirate of Toledo, but the Castilian kings grew stronger, till in 1085 they were able to recapture Toledo. The singularly picturesque contours of the city are due to the various races which fortified her. Iberians were probably the first to strengthen their hill from outside attack,—the Romans followed, building upon the foundations of the old walls, and Christian and Moslem completed the work, until the little city was compactly girdled by strong masonry, broken by some three to four score fighting towers and but few gates of entrance. Alfonso the Wise was one of the great Segovian rulers and builders. He strengthened her bastions, added a good deal to the walls of her illustrious fortress, and in 1108 gave the city her first charter. A few years later Segovia was elevated to a bishopric.

Long before the earliest cathedral church, the Alcazar was the most conspicuous feature in the landscape, and it still holds the second place. Erected on the steep rocks at the extreme eastern end of the almond-shaped hill, it stands like a chieftain at the head of his warriors, always ready for battle, and first to meet any onslaught. Several Alfonsos, as well as Sanchos, labored upon it during the perilous twelfth century. Here the kings took up their abode in the happy days when Segovia was capital of the kingdom, and even in later times it sheltered such illustrious travelers as the unfortunate Prince Charles of England, and Gil Blas, when out of suits with fortune.

The first Cathedral was erected on the broad platform east of the Alcazar, directly under the shadow of its protecting walls. The ever-reappearing Count{170} Raymond of Burgundy was commissioned by his father-in-law, the King, to repopulate Segovia after the Moorish devastations, and he rebuilt its walls, as he was doing for the recaptured cities of Salamanca and Avila. The battlements were repaired, and northerners from many provinces occupied the houses that had been deserted.

A. Capilla Mayor. D. Sacristy.
B. Choir. E. Cloisters.
C. Crossing. F. Tower.

To judge from the ruins as well as from well-preserved edifices, Romanesque days must have been full of great architectural activity. One is constantly reminded of Toledo in climbing up and down the narrow streets, where one must often turn aside or find progress barred by Romanesque and Gothic courtyards or smelly culs-de-sac. Everywhere are Romanesque portals and arches, palaces and the apses and circular chapels of the age, bulging beyond the sidewalks into the cobblestones of the street. They seem indeed venerable. Some of the old palaces present a curious all-over design executed in Moorish manner and with Moorish feeling. It is carved into the sidewalk, showing in relief a geometrical, circular pattern, each circle filled with a quantity of small Gothic lancets, surely difficult both to design and to execute. Some of the old parish churches stand with their deep splays, round-headed arches and windows and broad, recessed portals almost as perfectly preserved as a thousand years ago. The Romanesque style died late and hard. Even in the thirteenth century, the city could boast thirty such parish churches. To-day they seem fairly prayer-worn. Beyond their towers stretch the plains in every direction, seamed by stone walls and dotted with gray rocks. Olive and poplar groves cluster round {171}the small hillocks, rising here and there like camels' backs.

As long as the welfare and development of the city depended on strong natural fortifications, Segovia remained intact. To the twelfth and thirteenth centuries belongs her glory. Her power passed with the middle ages and their chivalry, and in the sixteenth century she was a dead city.

Villages, convents and churches lie scattered over the plain, the houses crowded together for protection against the blazing, scorching, pitiless sun. Standing by itself is the ancient and severe church, where many a knight-templar kept his last vigil before turning his back on the plains of Castile, and apart sleeps the monastery where Torquemada was once prior. They all crumble golden brown against the horizon.

Many a bloody fray or revolution upset the city during the middle ages. The minority of Alfonso XI witnessed one of the worst. The revolt which broke out in so many of the Spanish cities against the Emperor Charles V, proved most fatal to the Cathedral of Segovia.

The first Romanesque Cathedral had been built in honor of St. Mary, under the walls of the Alcazar, during the first half of the twelfth century. It was consecrated in 1228 by the papal legate, Juan, Bishop of Sabina. Some two hundred and fifty years later, a new and magnificent Gothic cloister was added to it by Bishop Juan Arias Davila, and likewise a new episcopal palace more fitting times of greater luxury and magnificence. This palace, despite the coming translation of the Cathedral itself, remained the abode of the bishops for the three following centuries.{172} In the new cloisters a banquet of reconciliation was celebrated in 1474 by Henry IV and the Catholic Kings. It was held on the very spot whence Isabella had started in state on a journey proving so eventful in the history not only of Castile but of the entire Peninsula and countries beyond. Three years after the furious struggle which took place around the entrance of the Alcazar, Charles V issued the following proclamation:—

"The King: To the Aldermen, Justices, Councillors, Knights, Men-at-arms, Officials, and good Burghers of the city of Segovia. The reverend Father in Christ, Bishop of the church of this city, has told me how he and the Chapter of his church believe that it would be well to move the Cathedral church to the plaza of the city on the site of Santa Clara, and that the parish of San Miguel of the plaza should be incorporated in the Cathedral church; and this, because when the said Cathedral church is placed in a situation where the divine services may be more advantageously held, our Saviour will be better served and the people will receive much benefit and the city become much ennobled; it appears to me good that this plan should be carried out, desiring the good and ennoblement and welfare of the said city because of the loyalty and services I have always found in it, therefore I command and request that you unite with the said Bishop or his representative and the Chapter of said church and all talk freely together about this and see what will be best for the good of the said city, and at the same time consider the assistance that the said city could itself render, and after discussion, forward me the results of your{173} combined judgment, in order that I better may see and decide what will be for the best service of Our Lord, Ourselves, and the welfare of the city. Dated in Madrid, the 2d day of October, in the year 1510.—I, the King."

While the discussion of the feasibility and expense of commencing an entirely new cathedral upon a new site nearer the heart of the city was at its height, the revolt of the Comunidades broke out, in 1520, and swept away in its burning and pillaging course the Romanesque edifice. This stood at the entrance to the fortress, where the fight naturally raged hottest. Only a very few of the most sacred images, relics and bones were carried to safety within the walls of the Alcazar before the old pile had been practically destroyed. Segovia was without a Cathedral church.

In the centre of the city, on the very crest of the hill, lay the only clearing within the walls. Here at one end of the plaza was the site of the convent mentioned by Emperor Charles, which had long sheltered the nuns of Santa Clara. They had abandoned it for other quarters, and the adjacent convent of San Miguel had become unpopular and was dwindling into insignificance. Both could thus in this most free and commanding location give way to a new and larger cathedral, distant from what would always prove the rallying point of civic strife. Following the mighty wave of revolt which had swept the city, came a great receding wave of religious enthusiasm to atone in holy fervor for the impious act recently committed. Citizen and noble alike proposed to build an edifice which would be much more to the glory of Saint Mary than the shrine which they had{174} so recently pulled down. Lords gave whole villages; women, their jewels; and the citizens, the sweat of their brows. We find in the archives of the Cathedral the following entry by the Canon Juan Ridriguez[b]:

"On June 8th, 1522, ... by the consent and resolution of the Lord Bishop D. Diego de Rovera and of the Dean and Chapter of the said church, it was agreed to commence the new work of the said church to the glory of God and in honor of the Virgin Mary and the glorious San Frutos and all saints, taking for master of the said work Juan Gil de Hontañon, and for his clerk of the works Garcia de Cubillas. Thursday, the 8th of June, 1552, the Bishop ordered a general procession with the Dean and Chapter, clergy and all the religious orders."

The corner stone was laid and the masonry started at the western end under the most renowned architect of the age. Juan Gil had already worked on the old Segovian Cathedral, but had achieved his great fame on the new Cathedral of Salamanca, started ten years previously, whose walls were rising with astounding rapidity. His clerk was almost equally skilled, always working in perfect harmony with his master and carrying out his designs without jealousy during the "maestro's" many illnesses and journeys to and from Salamanca. Garcia lived to work on the church until 1562, and the old archives still hold many drawings from his skillful hand.

The two late Gothic Cathedrals are so similar in many points that they are immediately recognizable as the conception of the same brain. Segovia is, however, infinitely superior, not only in the magnificent development of the eastern end with its semicircular{175} apse, ambulatory, and radiating apsidal chapels, as compared with the square termination of Salamanca, but, throughout, in the restrained quality of its detail and the refinement of its ornamentation. How far the abrupt and uninteresting apsidal termination of Salamanca was Juan Gil's fault, it is difficult to say, for we find records of its having been imposed upon him by the Chapter as well as of his having drawn a circular apse. Fortunately, the Segovian churchmen had the common sense to leave their architect alone in most artistic matters and allow him to make the head of the church either "octagonal, hexagonal, or of square form." Where Salamanca has been coarsened by the new style, Segovia seems inspired by its fidelity to the old.

The similarity of the two churches is visible throughout. The general interior arrangements are much alike. The stone of the two interiors is of nearly the same color, and the formation and details of the great piers are strikingly similar. There is the same thin, reed-like descent of shafts from upper ribs, the same, almost inconspicuous, small leaves for caps, and, in both, the bases terminate at different heights above the huge common drum, which is some three feet high. Externally, there are analogous buttresses, crestings, pinnacles and parapets, and a concealment of roof structure, but there is none of the vanity of Salamanca in the sister church of Segovia. The last great Gothic church of Spain, though deficient in many ways, was not lacking in unity nor sincerity. The flame went out in a magnificent blaze.

Such faithfulness and love as possessed Juan Gil for his old Gothic masters seems well-nigh incredible.{176} He designed, and during his activity there of nine years, raised the greater portions of Segovia in an age when Gothic building was practically extinct, when Brunelleschi was building Santa Maria del Fiore, and the classic revival was in full march. Segovia and Spaniards were as tardy in forswearing their Gothic allegiance as they had been their Romanesque. Not until the beginning of the sixteenth century does the reborn classicism victoriously cross the Pyrenees, and then only in minor domestic buildings. The last manifestations of Gothic church-building in Spain were neither weak nor decadent, but virile, impressive and logical. Segovia Cathedral may be said to be the last great monument in Spain, not only of Gothic, but of ecclesiastical art. Thereafter came the deluge of decadence or petrification. What must not the power of the Church, as well as the religious enthusiasm of the populace, have been during this extraordinary sixteenth century! It is almost incredible that this tiny city, in a weak little kingdom, and so few miles from Salamanca, had the spirit for an undertaking of the size of this Cathedral church, so soon after Salamanca had entered on her architectural enterprise. Either of the two seems beyond the united power of the kingdom.

Even more remarkable than the starting of Segovia in the Gothic style at so late a date, was the fact that the architects succeeding Juan Gil, who were naturally tempted to embody their own ideas and to employ the new style then in vogue, should nevertheless have faithfully adhered to the original conception and completed in Gothic style all constructive and ornamental details everywhere except in the final closing {177}of the dome and a few minor exterior features. Naturally the Gothic of the sixteenth century was not that of the thirteenth,—not that of Leon or Toledo, nor even of Burgos,—it had been modified and lost in spirit, but still its origin was undeniable.


Photo by J. Lacoste, Madrid

From the Plaza.

In 1525 Segovia was fairly started. House after house that impeded the progress of the work was destroyed, until up to a hundred of them had been razed. Santa Clara was kept for the services until the very last moment, when a sufficient portion of the new building was ready for their proper celebration.

It was unusual to start with the western end, the apse and its surrounding arches being the portion necessary for services. In Segovia, however, as well as in the new Salamancan Cathedral, the great western front was the earliest to rise. Gil did not live to finish it, but it is evident that, as long as he directed, the work drew the attention of the entire artistic fraternity of the Peninsula. We find constant mention in old documents of the visits and the praise of illustrious architects, among them Alfonso de Covarrubias, Juan de Alava, Enrique de Egas, and Felipe de Borgoña. Gil's clerk-of-the-works, Cubillas, succeeded him as "maestro," and under him the western front with its tower, the cloisters, and the nave and aisles as far as the crossing, were virtually completed by 1558. Aside from the manual labor, "it had taken more than forty-eight collections of maravedis" to bring it to this point. The magnificent old cloisters erected by Bishop Davila beside the old Cathedral in 1470, had been spared the fury of the mob, and in 1524 they were moved stone by stone to the southern flank of the new Cathedral. This would have been a remarkable{178} feat of masonry in our age, and, for the sixteenth century, it was astonishing. Not a stone was chipped nor a piece of carving broken. Juan de Compero took the whole fabric apart and put it together again, as a child does a box of wooden blocks.

The 15th of August, 1558, when the first services were held in the Cathedral, was the greatest day in Segovia's history. Quadrado, probably quoting from old accounts, tells us, "The divine services were then held in the new Temple. People came to the festival from all over Spain, and music, from all Castile. At twilight on August 14th, 1558, the tower was illuminated with fire-works, the great aqueduct, with two thousand colored lights, and the reflection of the city's lights alarmed the country-side for forty leagues round. The following day, the Assumption of Our Lady, there was an astonishing procession, in which all the parishes took part and the community offered prizes for the best display. The procession went out by the gate of Saint Juan, and, after going all around the city, returned to the plaza, where the sacrament was being borne out of Santa Clara. There was a bull-fight, pole-climbing, a poetical competition and comedies. The generosity of the donations corresponded to the pomp of the occasion. Ten days afterwards the bones were taken from the old church and reinterred in the new one, among which were those of the Infante Don Pedro, Maria del Salto, and different prelates."

The bones of the two former were laid to rest under the arches of the cloister. Don Pedro was a little son of King Henry II who had been playing on one of the iron balconies in front of the Alcazar windows, and, while his nurse's back was turned, pitched headlong{179} over the precipice into eternity and the poplar trees three hundred feet below. The nurse, who knew full well it would be a question of only a few hours before she followed her princely charge, anticipated her fate and jumped after him. Maria del Salto ("of the leap") was a beautiful Jewess who, having been taken in sin, was forced to jump from another of Segovia's steep promontories. Bethinking herself of the Virgin Mary as a last resource, she invoked her assistance while in mid-air, and the blessed saint immediately responded, causing the Jewess to alight gently and unharmed. It was naturally a great pious satisfaction to the Segovians to carry to the new edifice such cherished bones.

With services in the church, the building was well under way. Juan Gil's son, Rodrigo Gil, had worked on Salamanca as well as very ably assisted Cubillas. Upon the latter's death, in 1560, Rodrigo became maestro mayor. Three years later, when the corner stone of the apse was laid, the Chapter seems to have seriously discussed the advisability of finally deviating from the original Gothic plans and building a Renaissance head. It was, however, left to Rodrigo, who loyally adhered to his father's original designs, and when he died in 1577, there was fortunately but little left to do. Indeed, most of what followed in construction, repair or decoration was rather to the detriment than embellishment of the church. It was consecrated in 1580. Chapels were added to the trasaltar by Rodrigo's successor, Martin Ruiz de Chartudi; the lantern above the crossing was raised by Juan de Mogaguren in 1615; five years later, the northern porch was erected and Renaissance features invaded{180} the edifice. Like most Spanish churches, it has been constantly worked upon and never completed.

The plan is admirable,—at once dignified and harmonious, and the semicircular Romanesque termination is striking. The total length is some 340 feet, its entire width, some 156; the nave is 43 and the side aisles are 32 feet wide. It is thus logical, symmetrical, and fully developed in all its members. Beyond the side aisles stretches a row of chapels separated from each other by transverse walls. As the transepts, which are of the same width as the nave, do not project beyond the chapels of its outer aisles, the Latin cross disappears in plan. The nave, aisles and chapels consist of five bays up to the crossing crowned by the great dome. Beyond this comes the vault of the Capilla Mayor and the semicircular apse surrounded by a seven-bayed ambulatory, or "girola," and an equal number of radiating pentagonal chapels. The chevet is clear in arrangement and noble in expression. Entrances lead logically into the nave and side aisles of the western front and into the centres of the northern and southern transepts, while cloisters which abut to the south are entered through the fifth chapel. When Segovia was built, Spaniards were thoroughly reconciled to the idea of placing the choir west of the crossing and the Capilla Mayor east, and consequently the latter was designed no larger than was requisite for its offices, and a space was frankly screened off between it and the choir for the use of the officiating clergy. The third and fourth bays of the nave contained the choir.

As one enters the church, there is a consciousness of joy and order. The stone surfaces are just sufficiently{181} warmed and mellowed by the glorious light from above. The piers are very massive and semicircular in plan; the foliage at their heads underneath the vaulting is so delicate and unpronounced that it scarcely counts as capitals. The walls of the chapels in the outer aisles, as well as round the ambulatory, are penetrated by narrow, round-headed windows, as timid and attenuated as those of an early Romanesque edifice; the walls of the inner aisle, by triple, lancet windows; and the clerestory of the nave, by triple, round-headed ones. Under them, in the apse, is a second row of round-headed blind windows. None of them have any tracery whatever. The glass is of great brilliancy of coloring and exceptional beauty, but the designs are as poor as the glazing is glorious. In the smaller windows, the subjects represent events in the Old Testament; in the larger, scenes from the New. Around the apse much of the old, stained glass has been shamefully replaced by white, so as to admit more light into this portion of the building.

There is no triforium, but a finely carved late Gothic balcony runs around the nave and transepts below the clerestory. In the transepts, this is surmounted by a second one underneath the small roses which penetrate their upper wall surfaces. Both nave and side aisles are lofty, the vaulting rising in the former to a height of about 100 feet and, in the latter, to 80 feet, while the cupola soars 330 feet above. The vaulting itself is most elaborate and developed. While the early Gothic edifices have only the requisite functional transverse, diagonal and wall ribs, we now find every vault covered with intermediate ones of most intricate designs. Especially over the Capilla{182} Mayor in its ambulatory chapels and around the lantern, this ornamentation becomes profuse,—everywhere ribs are met by bosses and roses. The general effect of the endless cutting up of the vaults into numberless compartments by the complicated system of lierne ribs is one of restlessness. One misses the logical simplicity of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries and is reminded of the decadent surfacing of late German work and the ogee, lierne ribs of some of the late English, in which the true ridges can no longer be distinguished from the false.

Looking up into the dome over the crossing, we see that the pendentives do not rise directly above the four arches, but spring some fifteen feet higher up above a Gothic balustrade which is surmounted by elliptical arches pierced by circular windows. The dome, disembarrassed of the ribs which still cling to some of its predecessors, is finely shaped,—a thorough Renaissance piece of work. Light streams down through the bull's eye under the lantern.

There is considerable difference in the design as well as workmanship of the many rejas. Tremendous iron rails, surely not as fine as those of Seville, Granada, or Toledo, but still very remarkable, close the three sides of the Capilla Mayor and the front of the choir. The emblematical lilies of the Cathedral rise in rows one beside the other, as one sees them in a florist's Easter windows. Rejas close off similarly all the outer chapels from the side aisles.

Among the very few portions of the old Cathedral which remained intact after the fury of the Comunidades, were the choir stalls and an exquisite door. The former were placed in the new choir and the latter{183} became an entrance to the transplanted cloisters. It was indeed fortunate that these stalls were spared, for they are among the most exquisite in Spain and excelled by few in either France or Germany.

Wood-carving had long been a favorite art in Spain, one in which the Spaniards learned to excel under the skillful tutelage of the great masters from Germany and Flanders. The foreign carvers settled principally in Burgos, where there grew up around them apprentices eager to fill the churches with statues, retablos, choir stalls, and organ screens executed in wood. The art of carving became highly honored. An early ordinance of Seville referring to wood-carving, masonry and building, esteems it "a noble art and self-contained, that increaseth the nobleness of the King and of his kingdom, that pacifieth the people and spreadeth love among mankind conducing to much good." In the numerous panels of cathedral choir stalls, there was a wonderful opportunity for relief work and the play of the fertile imagination and childlike expressiveness of the middle ages. Curious freaks of fancy, their extraordinary conceptions of Biblical scenes, the events and personages of their own day, could all be portrayed and even carved with wonderful skill. Leonard Williams, in his "Art and Crafts of Older Spain," tells us that "the silleria consists of two tiers, the sellia or upper seats with high backs and a canopy, intended for the canons, and the lower seats or sub-sellia of simpler pattern with lower backs, intended for the beneficados. At the head of all is placed the throne, larger than the other stalls, and covered in many cases by a canopy surmounted by a tall spire."{184}

Few of the many Gothic stalls are finer than those of Segovia. The contrast with the work above them, as well as with that which backs onto them, is doubly distressing. The tremendous organs above are a mass of gilding and restless Baroque ornamentation, while their rear is covered by multicolored strips of stone which would have looked vulgar and gaudy around a Punch and Judy show and here enframe the four Evangelists. The chapels and high altar are uninteresting, decorated in later days in offensive taste. Apart from these furnishings, which play but a small part, it is rare and satisfying to survey an interior in which there has been so much decorative restraint, in which the constructive and architectural lines dominate the merely ornamental ones, and where harmony, severity and excellent proportions go hand in hand. Were it not for the cupola and a few minor details, there would be added to these merits, unity of style.

The cloisters are rich and flamboyant, but nevertheless more restrained than those of Salamanca. They are elaborately subdivided, carved and festooned, and, in the bosses of the arches, they carry the arms of their original builder, Bishop Arias Davila. Just inside their entrance lie three of the old architects, Rodrigo Gil de Hontañon, Campo Aguero, and Viadero. The old well in the centre is covered with a grapevine, and nothing could be lovelier than the deep emerald leaves dotted with purple fruit growing over the white and yellow stonework.

Few Spanish cathedrals can be seen to such advantage as Segovia, its situation is so unusual and fortunate. In mediæval towns closely packed within their city walls, there could be but little room or{185} breathing space either for palace or hovel, and the buildings adjacent to a cathedral generally nestled close to its sides. The plaza of Segovia is unusually large compared to the area of the little city. The clearing away of Santa Clara and San Miguel and all the smaller surrounding edifices condemned for the Cathedral site, left much room also in front of the western entrance for a fine broad platform as well as an unobstructed view from the opposite side of the square. Most of the flights of granite steps leading to it from the streets below are now closed by iron gates and overgrown with grass and weeds. The days of the great processions are past, when the various trades, led by their bands of musicians, filed up to deliver their offerings towards the construction, and the staircases are no longer thronged by devout Segovian citizens anxious to see the daily progress of the work. The platform is paved with innumerable granite slabs which in the old Cathedral covered the tombs of the city's illustrious citizens, whose names may still be easily deciphered.

Taken as a whole, the façade is bald and void of charm. It is neither good nor especially faulty, of a certain strength, but without interest or merit. It is logically subdivided by five pronounced buttresses marking the nave, side aisles and outer row of chapels. Their relative heights and the lines of their roofing are clearly defined. To the north, a rather insignificant turret terminates the façade, while to the south rises the lofty tower, three hundred and forty-five feet above the whole mountain of masonry, the most conspicuous landmark in the landscape of Segovia. It consists of a square base of sides thirty{186}-five feet wide, broken by six rows of twin arches; the first, the third and the sixth are open, the last is a belfry. The present dome curves from an octagonal Renaissance base, the transitional corners being filled with crocketed pyramids similar to the many crowning buttresses and piers at all angles of the church below. The dome and lantern are almost exact smaller counterparts of those crowning the crossing. They were put up by the same architect, Mogaguren, who certainly could not have been over-gifted with artistic imagination. The tower had varying fortunes,—much to the distress of the citizens, it has been twice struck by lightning. The wooden structure and lead covering were burned and melted by the fire which followed the first catastrophe, but fortunately it was soon put out by the rain which saved the Cathedral and city. After the second thunderbolt, in 1809, the surmounting cross was replaced by a lightning-rod.

The nave is entered by the Perdon portal, which, under a Gothic arch, is subdivided into two elliptical openings. Peculiarly late Gothic railings here, as elsewhere, crown the masonry and conceal the tiling of the sloping roofs.

Rounding the church to the south, we find the view obstructed by the cloisters and sacristy; only the façade of the transept, ascended from the lower ground by a flight of steps, remains visible. The southern doorway is quite denuded, and even its buttresses rise without as much as a corbel to soften their lines. When one has, however, dodged through the tortuous, narrow, malodorous streets and come out opposite the apse and northern flank, the whole bulk{187} of the logical organic body of the church becomes visible with its larger squat and higher lofty domes towering into the blue. To the same Renaissance period as the two domes belongs the classical portal of Pedro Brizuela, leading to the northern transept. The view from the northeast is particularly fine. Every portion of the structure is expressed by the exterior lines. One above the other rise chapels, ambulatory, apse, transepts and lanterns, each level crowned by its sparkling balustrade. The sky is jagged by the crocketed spires which terminate the flying buttresses, the piers and the angles of the wall surface. Here the Latin cross may be seen, and the sub-divisions of every portion of the interior. There is no deception nor trickery. It is simple and straightforward. Its artistic merits may be small, the forest of carved turrets rising all around the apse, tiresome, but this final impression of Spanish Gothic was thoroughly sincere.{188} {189}





CATHEDRAL OF SEVILLE The Giralda, from the Orange Tree Court

Photo by J. Lacoste, Madrid

The Giralda, from the Orange Tree Court

"Wen Gott lieb hat, dem giebt er ein Haus in Sevilla."

SEVILLE is ever youthful, for the blood which courses in her veins absorbs the sunlight. Venice is the city of dreamy love, Naples, of indolence, Rome, of everlasting age, but Seville keeps an eternal youth.

What picturesqueness, what color, what passion blend with memories of Andalusia!

All sunny land of love!
When I forget you, may I fail
To . . . say my prayers!

And Seville is the queen of Andalusia, of noble birth, proud and beautiful. Distinctly feminine in her subtle, indefinable charm, like a woman she changes with her surroundings, and her mutability adds to her fascination. We never fathom nor quite know her, for she is one being as she slumbers in the first chalky light of morning, another, in the resplendent nakedness of noontide, overarched by the indigo firmament, and yet another, in the happy laughter of evening when her mantle has turned purple and her throbbing life is more felt than seen. The roses, hyacinths and crocuses have closed in sleep, but the orange groves, the acacia, and eucalyptus, jasmine, lemon, and palm trees and hedges of box fill the air with heavy, aromatic perfume. To the exiled Moors she was so{192} sweet in all her moods that they said, "God in His justice, having denied to the Christians a heavenly paradise, has given them in exchange an earthly one." With the oriental languor of her ancestors, she keeps the freshness and sparkle of the dewy morn. She is as gay and full of youthful vitality as her Toledan sister is old and worn and haggard. While Toledo is sombre and funereal, Seville is alive with the tinkling of silver fountains, the strumming of guitars and mandolins, and the songs of her women. She lies rich and splendid on the bosom of the campagna, fruitfulness and plenty within her embattled walls. "She is a strange, sweet sorceress, a little wise perhaps, in whom love has degenerated into desire; but she offers her lovers sleep, and in her arms you will forget everything but the entrancing life of dreams."

Andalusia and Seville justly claim an ancient and royal pedigree, which through all the vicissitudes of centuries has still left its stamp upon them. Andalusia was the Tarshish of the Bible, whither Jonah rose to flee. Her commerce is spoken of in Jeremiah, Isaiah, the Psalms, and the Chronicles: "Tarshish was thy merchant by reason of the multitude of all kind of riches, with silver, iron, tin, and lead they traded in thy fairs" (Ezekiel xxvii, 12).

In passing the Straits of Hercules, Seville and Ceuta alone caught Odysseus' eye:—

Tardy with age
Were I and my companions, when we came
To the Strait pass, where Hercules ordain'd
The bound'ries not to be o'erstepp'd by man.
The walls of Seville to my right I left,
On th' other hand already Ceuta past.
Inferno, xxvi. 106-110.


The honor of founding the city of Seville seems to be shared by Hercules and Julius Cæsar. In the popular mind of the Sevillians, as well as through an unbroken chain of mediæval historians and ballad-makers, Hercules is called its father. Monuments throughout the city bear witness to its founders. On one of the gates recently demolished the inscription ran,—

Condidit Alcides, Renovavit Julius urbem.
Restituit Christo Fernandus tertius heros.

The Latin verses were later paraphrased in the Castilian tongue over the Gate of Zeres:—

Hercules me edifico,
Julio Cesar me cerco,
de meno y torres altes
y el rey santo me ganó,
Con Garci Perez de Vargas.

"Hercules built me, Julius Cæsar surrounded me with walls and high towers, the Holy King conquered me by Garcia Perez de Vargas." Statues of the founder and protector still stand in various parts of the city.

In the second century B. C., the shipping of Seville made it one of the most important trade centres of the Mediterranean. Phœnicians and Greeks stopped here to barter. In 45 B. C., Rome stretched forth her greedy hand, and Cæsar entered the town at the head of his victorious legion. Eighty-two years later the Romans formed the whole of southern Spain into the "Provincia Bætica." With its formation into a Roman colony, Seville's historical background begins to stand out clearly and its riches are sung by the ancients. "Fair art thou, Bætis," says Martial, "with thine olive crown and thy limpid waters, with the fleece stains of a brilliant gold." The whole province{194} contained what later became Sevilla, Huelva, Cadiz, Cordova, Jaen, Granada and Almeria. Seville, or Hispalis, became the capital and was accordingly fortified with walls and towers, garrisoned and supplied with water from aqueducts and adorned with Roman works of art. After the spread of Christianity during the later Emperors, Seville was important enough to be made the seat of a bishop.

With the fall of Rome, Hispalis was overrun by hordes of Goths and Vandals. They held possession of the country until they were conquered in 711 by the Moors, who, after crossing the strait between Africa and Europe, gradually spread northward through the Iberian peninsula. The Goths made Hispalis out of the Roman Hispalia, and the Arabians in their turn, unable to pronounce the p, formed the name into Ixbella, of which the Castilians made Seville.

To the Moors, Andalusia was the Promised Land flowing with milk and honey. What was lacking, their genius and husbandry soon supplied. The land which they found uncultivated soon became a garden filled with exotic flowers and rich fruits, while they adorned its cities with the noblest monuments of their taste and intelligence. They divided their territory (el Andalus) into the four kingdoms of Seville, Cordova, Jaen, and Granada, which still exist as territorial divisions. To-day the three latter contain only the ruins of a great past. Seville alone remains in many respects a perfectly Moorish city. Her courts, her squares, the streets and houses, the great palace and the tower are essentially Arabian and bear witness to the magnificence of her ancient masters.

A.  The Giralda. I.  The Sagrario. Q.  Puerta Mayor.
B. Royal Chapel. J. Portal of the Orange Trees. R. Portal of the Nacimiento.
C. Chapter House. K. Choir. S. Trascoro.
D. Sacristy. L. Capilla Mayor. T. Dependencias de la Hermandad.
E. Old Sacristy. M. Portal of the Lonja (San Cristobal).     U. Portal of the Sagrario.
F. Colombina Library. N. Portal of the Palos. V. Portal of the Lagarto.
G. Portal of the Perdon. O. Portal of the Campanillas. X. Tomb of Fernando Colon.
H. Courtyard of the Orange Trees.     P. Portal of the Bautismo.  

{195}They had lost all the rest of Spain except Granada before Cordova and Jaen surrendered, and finally Seville fell into the hands of Ferdinand III of Castile in 1248, and its Christian period began. Three hundred thousand followers of the detested faith were banished from Seville, and slowly the power of the Catholic Church began to rise and the agricultural beauty and industry of the surrounding province to wane.

The city was divided into separate districts for the different races, the canals were dammed up, the water-works fell to pieces, the valley was left untilled, and fruit trees were unpruned and unwatered. Hides bleached in the sun and webs rotted on the looms, sixty thousand of which had woven beautiful silk fabrics in the palmy days of the Moors.

Ferdinand the Holy was a great king, of a saintliness and greatness still acknowledged by the soldiers of Seville. After eight centuries they still lower their colors as they march past the great shrine of the Third Ferdinand, in the church which he purged from Mohammedanism and dedicated to the worship of the Christians' God and the Holy Virgin.

After him, Seville became the theatre of momentous deeds and events that had a far-reaching influence on the history of the country. Into her lap was poured the riches of the New World; within her halls Queen Isabella laid the foundation of her united kingdom; from Seville came the intellectual stimulus that revived the arts and letters of the whole Peninsula. Here were born and labored Pedro Campaña, Alejo Fernandez, Luis de Vargas, the several Herreras, Francisco de Zurbaran, Alfonso Cano, Diego de Silva {196}Velasquez, Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, and Miguel Florentino. The riches of the western world made of Seville a second Florence, where art found ready patrons, and literature, cultivated protectors. She rivaled the great schools of Italy and the Netherlands, but out of her secret council chambers came the Institution of the Holy Office, the scourge that withered the nation. In the latter half of the sixteenth century, forty-five thousand people were put to death in the archbishopric of Seville. Finally, under Philip II, Seville and her great church rose to stupendous wealth and power.

"When Philip II died, loyal Seville honored the departed king by a magnificent funeral service in the Cathedral. A tremendous monument was designed by Oviedo. On Nov. 25th, 1598, the mourning multitude flocked to the dim Cathedral while the people knelt upon the stones, and the solemn music floated through the air. There was a disturbance among a part of the congregation. A man was charged with deriding the imposing monument and creating disorder. He was a tax-gatherer and ex-soldier of the city named Don Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra. Some of the citizens took his side, for there was a feud between the civil and the ecclesiastical authorities in Seville. The brawler was expelled from the cathedral,—but he had his revenge. He composed a satirical poem upon the tomb of the King which was read everywhere in the city:—

To the Monument of the King of Seville

I vow to God I quake with surprise,
Could I describe it, I would give a crown,
And who, that gazes on it in the town
{197} But starts aghast to see its wondrous size;
Each part a million cost, I should devise:
What pity 'tis, ere centuries have flown,
Old time will mercilessly cast it down!
Thou rival'st Rome, O Seville, in my eyes!
I bet, the soul of him who's dead and blest,
To dwell within this sumptuous monument,
Has left the seats of sempiternal rest!
A fellow tall, on deeds of valour bent,
My exclamation heard. "Bravo," he cried,
"Sir Soldier, what you say is true, I vow!
And he who says the contrary has lied!"
With that he pulls his hat upon his brow,
Upon his sword-hilt he his hand doth lay,
And frowns—and—nothing does, but walks away!"[16]

Far more ineffaccable even than the record left by Philip's life upon the history of Seville and Spain is that of this immortal soldier and scribbler, who "believed he had found something better to do than writing comedies."

The soft, sonorous syllables of Guadalquivir (from the Arabic Wad-el-Kebir, or The Great River) would picture to the imaginative eye a river far more poetic than the sluggish stream that loiters across the wide plain and fruitful valley until it pierces the amber girdle of crenelated walls and embattled towers which enclose the treasures of Seville. On its broad bosom have swept the barks and galleys of Phœnicia and Greece, of Roman, Goth, and Moor. On its shores Columbus lowered the sails of his caravel and presented Spain with a new world on Palm Sunday, 1493; Pizarro and Cortez here first embarked their greedy and daring adventurers; hither Pizarro returned with hoards of gold and silver treasures from Mexico and Peru, for the Council of the Indies restricted{198} all the trade of the colonies to the port of Seville. The valley through which the river descends is sheltered from the cold tablelands lying northward by the Sierra Moreña chain. Gray olive trees, waving pastures, and fields of grain cover its slopes. A soft, tempered wind whispers through the grassy meadows of La Tierra de Maria Santissima, and the atmosphere is so dry and clear that far away against the horizon objects stand out in clear silhouette. So vivid are the colors that the smoky olive groves, the orange and lemon-colored walls, the fir trees, the chalky white of the stucco, the fleshy, prickly leaves of the cacti, and the tall standards of the aloes seem photographed on the brain.

In a fair and fruitful land lies the city, and her spires pierce a smokeless, unspotted sky.

In the heart of the city, set down in the very centre of her life of song and laughter and childish simplicity, surrounded by crooked streets and great airy courts, in the widest sunlit square, lies her Cathedral.

The first impression made by a building is generally not only the most distinct but the truest. That produced by Seville's Cathedral is its immensity of scale.

Toledo la rica,
Salamanca la fuerta,
Leon la bella,
Oviedo la sacra,
Sevilla la grande,

runs the Spanish saying. The size is overpowering. Each of the four side aisles is nearly as broad and high as the nave of Westminster Abbey, while the arcades of Seville's nave have twice the span. To the{199} impressionable sensitiveness of Théophile Gautier it was like a mountain scooped out, a valley turned topsy-turvy. Notre Dame de Paris might walk erect under the frightful height of the middle nave; pillars as large as towers appear so slender that you catch your breath as you look up at the far-away, vaulted roof they support.

Here are the first impressions of two early Spanish writers. Cean Bermudez finds that, "seen from a certain distance, it resembles a high-pooped and beflagged ship, rising over the sea with harmonious grouping of sails, pennons, and banners, and with its mainmast towering over the mizzenmast, foremast, and bowsprit." Caveda is struck by "the general effect, which is truly majestic. The open-work parapets which crown the roofs; the graceful lanterns of the eight winding stairs that ascend in the corners to the vaults and galleries; the flying buttresses that spring lightly from aisle to nave, as the jets of a cascade from cliff to cliff; the slender pinnacles that cap them; the proportions of the arms of the transept and of the buttresses supporting the side walls; the large pointed windows to which they belong, rising over each other, the pointed portals and entrances,—all these combine in an almost miraculous effect, although they lack the wealth of detail, the airy grace, and the delicate elegance that characterize the cathedrals of Leon and Burgos."

Such are the varying impressions of ancient critics. To the student's question, "To what period of architecture does the Cathedral of Seville belong?" we must answer, "To no period, or rather to half a dozen." Authorities and writers will give completely{200} different information, and Seville has found more willing and loving chroniclers than any other of Spain's churches. Gallichan classes it as the "largest Gothic cathedral in the world," and Caveda calls it "a type of the finest Spanish Gothic architecture."

The interior of the main body of the church is pure, severe Gothic, the sacristy major, highly developed Renaissance; the main portions of the exterior are what might be termed for want of a better word "Spanish Renaissance—plateresco"; other details are Moorish, classical, late florid Gothic, rococo, and so forth. As if to add to the incongruity of the architectural hodge-podge, it is surrounded by shafts of old Roman columns as well as Byzantine pillars from the original mosque, sunk deep into the ground and connected with iron chains. The total impression to any student of architecture is one of outraged law and order, composition and unity. Recalling the carefully membered and distinctly developed plan of the great Gothic churches of France, the expressive exteriors of the huge Renaissance cathedrals of Italy, the satisfying perspective of English monastic temples, one feels the hopelessness of attempting a comparison between this huge, impressive undertaking and any accepted standards or schools. It is something so entirely different and apart, a mighty and unbridled effort which cannot be classified nor grouped with other churches, nor studied by methods of earlier architectural training. It is full of romance,—a building romantic as the Cid, a child of architectural fervor or even architectural furor. Centuries of Spanish history and religion and the various temperaments of different and inspired races{201} have created it and fostered its growth. Like many of its sister churches, the artisans that labored on it were gathered from different lands and their work stretches through centuries of time and architectural thought. There is the sparkling, oriental fancy of the Mudejar, the classic training of the Italian, the brilliant color and technique of the Fleming and Dutchman, the skilled and masterful chiseling of the German, and the restless pride and domination of the Spaniard. You find it expressed in every way,—on canvas, in wood and clay and stone, on plaster and in glass. It is a museum of art from the fifteenth to the nineteenth centuries, with portions still waiting for the work of the twentieth. The artists range from Juan Sanches de Castro, "the morning star of Andalusia," in 1454, to Francisco Goya, the last of the great Spanish painters.

It is colossal, incongruous, mysterious, and elusive. It breathes the spirit of the middle ages with all their piety and loyalty to church and crown, and their unparalleled ardor in building religious temples. Gazing at it, you feel the same religious fervor that flung the arches of Amiens and Chartres high into the northern air and rounded the dome of Santa Maria del Fiore under Lombardy's azure vault.

If you stand in the Calle del Gran Capitan, or better, the Plaza del Triumfo, best of all, near the gateway of the Patio de las Banderas, where the Cathedral and the Giralda pile up in front of you, unquestionably you have before you Spain's mightiest architectural work, a sight as impressive as the view from the marble pavement of the Piazzetta by the Adriatic.{202}

The lofty tower is entirely oriental. The walls of the Cathedral which rise from a broad paved terrace consist below of a classical screen, whose surface is broken by a Corinthian order carrying a Renaissance balustrade and topped by heavy, meaningless stone terminations. Windows with Italian Renaissance frames pierce the ochre masonry. Above rises a confusion of buttresses, kettle-shaped domes, and Renaissance lanterns, simple, massive walls, some portions entirely bare, others overloaded with delicate Gothic interlacings full of Spanish feeling; flowers and rosettes, broad blazons and coats-of-arms,—above all, a forest of Gothic towers, finials, crockets, parapets, and rails peculiarly Spanish in carving and treatment. There is practically no sky line. The interior of the nave and aisle vaulting are entirely concealed externally by the parapets and walls.

So lacking in sobriety is the first view!—but you are ready to echo the Spanish saying,—

Quien no ha visto Sevilla
No ha visto maravilla.[17]

or the words of Pope, "There stands a structure of majestic fame!"

The Spanish Christians in Seville, like those who obtained possession of other Moorish strongholds, first appropriated the old Arab mosque for their house of worship. Later, when it no longer sufficed, they and their fellow-believers elsewhere built the new cathedral on, around, or adjacent to, the old consecrated walls. Like all other churches from which Islam had been driven, the great mosque of Seville{203} was dedicated to Santa Maria de la Sede. The famous Moorish conqueror, Abu Jakub Jusuf, had laid the foundation stones of his mosque and tower in 1171, building his walls with the materials left by imperial Rome, and laying out orange courtyard and walls in a manner befitting his power and the traditions of his race. It belongs to what architectural writers have for convenience called the second period of the Spanish Arabs, between 1146 and about 1250, under the Almohaden dynasty. This was the period of the Moors' greatest constructive energy,—they no longer blindly copied the ancient architecture of Byzantium, but endeavored to create a bold and independent art of their own.

After the capture of Seville in 1248, Ferdinand at once consecrated the mosque to Christian service, and it was used without alteration until it began to crumble. Its general plan was probably very much like the one in Cordova, a great rectangle filled with a forest of columns: its high walls of brick and clay supported by buttresses and crowned with battlements enclosed an adjacent courtyard with fountain and rows of orange trees, abutted by the bell or prayer tower. The courtyard and tower remain with but slight changes or additions; portions of the foundation walls, the northeast and west porticos, decorative details and ornamentation still to be found on the Christian church are all Moorish. The plan and general structure have been restricted by the lines of the old Moorish foundations. There are no documents extant that give a trustworthy account of what portions of the old mosque were allowed to remain when the Christians finally decided to rebuild, but the most{204} cursory glance at the outline of the Cathedral shows how organically it has been bound by what was retained. The mosque must have been built on as large and magnificent a scale as the one which still amazes us in Cordova. The peculiar, oblong, quadrilateral form was probably common to both.

On the 8th of July, 1401, the Cathedral Chapter issued the challenge to the Catholic world which to the more practical piety of to-day rings with a true mediæval fervor. Verily a faith that could remove mountains! The inspired Chapter proclaimed they could build a church of such size and beauty that coming ages should call them mad to have undertaken it. And their own fat pockets were the first to be emptied of half their stipends. The pennies of the poor, grants from the crown, indulgences published throughout the kingdom, all went to satisfy the ever-grasping building fund.

In 1403 the work of tearing down and commencing afresh on the old foundations was begun. These measured about some 415 feet in length by 278 feet in width. The old mosque or the present church proper is now only the central edifice in a rectangle of about 600 by 500 feet. This is the size of a village, with its courts, its tower, the great library of the Cathedral Chapter where books were collected from all over the lettered world by the son of Columbus, the parroquia or parish church, the endless row of chapels, some larger than ordinary churches, the sacristy, the chapter house and offices. It became the largest church of the middle ages, covering 124,000 square feet; Milan covers only 90,000, Toledo, 75,000, and Saint Paul's in London, 84,000. Among the churches of all ages,{205} Saint Peter's, with an area of 162,000 square feet, alone exceeds it in size.

In 1506, under the archbishops Alfonso Rodriguez and Gonzalo de Rojas, the building was completed. For a century the work had been carried on with such reckless haste that inferior building methods had been employed, which led to subsequent disasters. On December 28, 1511, to the consternation of the devout workmen, the great central dome fell in during an earthquake, carrying with it or weakening many of the vaults and much of the masonry below. After the earthquake, some of the large piers supporting the great crossing as well as the adjacent ones were found filled with the most carelessly laid rubble and earth, with no carrying power nor resistance. About 1520 the building might in the main be said to be finished. Externally it has never been completed, although in the nineteenth century the west front was finished and its central doorway ornamented. An extensive restoration which took place in 1882 was interrupted by the second earthquake of 1888, during which the dome again fell in. To-day it is all rebuilt.

The entrance is at the west end. The plan, as I have said, was governed by the old basilica-shaped mosque. The transepts do not project beyond the chapels of the side aisles, and at the east end it differs from most Spanish churches in having a square termination instead of an apse. Also along the east wall chapels have been built between the buttresses similar to those between the north and south sides. The central portions of the east end open into the great Capilla Real. There are nine doorways to the church.

In studying the plan, it is interesting to note what{206} Mr. Ferguson has indicated, that similarly to what is found in the Indian Jain temples, the diagonal of the aisle compartments has the same length as the width of the nave. The original documents and accounts of the church, which have disappeared, were probably burnt among Philip II's papers destroyed by the great Madrid fire.

Scarcely two of the Cathedral's many biographers agree as to its architects, its historic precedents or what part of the work was actually inspired by earlier Spanish architecture and national builders. Naturally Spanish writers attribute workmanship, precedents and builders all to their own Peninsula, while the different foreign authorities vary in their estimates. Distinctly Spanish features of construction as well as ornamentation are found side by side with others which unquestionably came from masters trained beyond the Pyrenees. In various places vaulting is found thoroughly German in its complexity and florid detail. Several authorities point out the resemblances between Milan and Seville, not that the ornamentation of the frosted and encrusted Italian misconception can be intelligently compared with the Plateresque carving, but there is a certain mixture of local and foreign feeling in both. In Seville French and German feeling seems to be struggling under Spanish fetters, just as in Lombardy the German seems to be laboring with Italian comprehension of Gothic, finally abandoning the inorganic scheme for a lovely, riotous, and marvelous attempt at carving to which the material no longer placed any limitations.

The Spanish architect of the middle ages was{207} placed in a novel situation, and his art had very peculiar and unusual influences bearing upon it. Gothic methods of construction and ornamentation had slowly spread over the country with the growing sovereignty of Aragon and Castile, and in spite of the corresponding decline of the Arab kingdoms, Moorish art began to work hand in hand, as far as was possible, with the forms of the Christian invader, although the hostility between the races hindered any extensive fusion of the two. They began, however, to influence each other for good or bad and to flourish side by side. The result might be called architectural volapük. In Seville it is certain that, whatever the nationality of the original architect and however incongruous and expressionless the exterior may finally have become, the interior is less exotic, less unquestionably a French importation, than in either of the great Gothic churches of Toledo or Burgos. When we recall the organic completeness, the truthful exterior expression, of interior lines and construction in the greatest Gothic cathedrals of France, we turn with sadness to the outer form of so fair a soul as that of Santa Maria of Seville, the work of the most famous architects of her age. Some attribute the original plans of the church to Alfonso Rodriguez, others to Alfonso Martinez, who was Maestro Mayor of the chapter in 1396, others again to Pedro Garcia; a long list of names follows: Juan the Norman, Juan de Hoz, Alfonso Ruiz, Ximon, Alfonso Rodriguez, and Gonzalo de Rojas, Pedro Mellan, Miguel Florentin, Pedro Lopez, Henrique de Egas, Juan de Alava, Jorge Fernandez Alleman, Juan Gil de Hontañon and the masters who after the earthquake hurried to Seville from their buildings in Toledo,{208} Jaen, Vittoria, and other places. Casanova is the last of her many architects.

Correctly speaking, there is no façade. The Cathedral runs from west to east, the western or main entrance portal being pierced by three ogival doorways, the Puerta Mayor with a modern relief of the Assumption, the Puerta del Nacimento or de San Miguel to the south, and the Puerta del Bautizo or de San Juan to the north. Saint Miguel has a relief of the Nativity of Christ, Saint Juan, one representing Saint John baptizing. In the moldings surrounding these, are very exquisite little figures of early sixteenth-century work executed in terra-cotta. They are full of the best Gothic feeling, splendidly fitted to their spaces, alive with the expression of the imaginative period of their sculptor, Pedro Millan. Above and around the door of San Juan is a Gothic tracery of the most elaborate character.

One cannot refrain from comparing the sculptural work of these three doorways. Riccardo Bellver's modern Assumption over the central doorway is as congealed as the terra-cotta sculptures above and around the side portals are admirable. They are unquestionably among the most interesting bits of relief as well as figure sculpture of their kind produced in Spain during the fifteenth century. Pedro Millan stands out as a great mediæval master, not only from the consummate skill with which the drapery is treated but from the living, breathing personality and attitudes of the men and women around him, which we still gaze at in the truth of their curious, naïve, fifteenth-century light.

As the whole western façade was not completed in{209} its present form until 1827, much of its work is as poor as it is modern.

There are two entrances to the eastern end, richly decorated with fine terra-cotta statues and reliefs of angels, patriarchs, and Biblical figures, attributed to Lope Marin. In the northern façade there are three,—one classical and of very little interest leading to the parish church; the second is the Puerto de los Naranjos.

In the Puerta del Lagarto, where the Giralda abuts the Cathedral, there hangs a poor stuffed crocodile, once sent by a Sultan of Egypt in token of admiration to Saint Ferdinand. The beast, having died on his way from the Nile, could never crawl in the basins of the Alcazar gardens, but found a resting-place under the shelves of the Columbina library.

On the opposite side of the orange-tree court is the Puerta del Perdon. The Florentine relief above, representing the crouching traders as they were driven from the Temple, naturally spoils the effectiveness of the magnificent Moorish portal below. Its horseshoe curve, with delicate Moorish interlacing, arabesques, frieze and bronze doors, is a curious and striking note of a bygone age, leading as it does to the walled and fragrant courtyard of its builders, and the fountain where they made their ablutions. Later Renaissance statues of the Annunciation and Saint Peter and Saint Paul, as well as Florentine pilasters and ornament, flank the Moorish moldings in an utterly meaningless manner.

On the south is the gate of San Cristobal, or of the Lonja, finished only a few years ago.

In and out of these many entrances the populace{210} stream, to worship, to whisper, to gossip, to rest, to bargain, to beg, and to make love. The whole drama of life in its conglomerate population goes on within the walls of the Cathedral. It is the most frequented thoroughfare, where the people enter as often with a song on their lips as with a prayer. The great edifice with all the ceremonial of its religious services is woven into their life, as is the sound of the guitars and castanets that echo within its portals and courtyards. The church and her children are not strangers. The Sevillian does not approach her altars with religious awe and fear, but with a childish trust; he kneels down before them as much at home as when rolling his cigarette on the bench of his café. The Cathedral, like the houses nestling and crumbling around it, opens wide and hospitable gates that lead to the refreshing shade and comfort within.

The western front is practically the only one which presents the Cathedral unobscured by adjacent buildings climbing up its sides or struggling between the buttresses,—or which is not concealed by enclosing screenwork. To the north the walls of the Orange Court block the view; to the east, the high screen; and to the south, the chapter house and the Dependencias de la Hermanidad and the sacristy. The mass of domes with supporting flying buttresses, ramps and finials above it, all remind one curiously of a transplanted and ecclesiasticized Chambord.

CATHEDRAL OF SEVILLE Gateway of Perdon in the Orange Tree Court

Photo by J. Lacoste, Madrid

Gateway of Perdon in the Orange Tree Court

As the plan conforms to the conditions of the old rectangular mosque and has neither projecting transepts nor semicircular chevet, it can scarcely be called Gothic. It consists of nave and double side aisles,—the nave 56 feet wide from centre to centre {211}of the columns and 145 feet high, and the inner side aisles 40 wide and about 100 high. Outside these is another aisle filled with various chapels.

At the crossing of the nave and transept, we have the typical, small Spanish octagonal dome,—in this instance covering possibly what was in the original mosque a central octagonal court. It is a construction rising some hundred and seventy feet above the level of the eye, admitting light below its spring into what in the French Gothic edifices would usually be the gloomiest portions of the building.

The side aisles differ slightly in width, the two lateral ones being filled with various chapels. There are nine bays, separated by thirty-six clustered pillars, some of them perfect towers in their huge and massive strength. Their detail and outline are excellent, all of the greatest simplicity and restraint. The delicate engaged shafts which surround the huge supports of fifteen feet diameter terminate below the vaulting ribs in delicately interlaced palm-leaf caps. Nothing is confused or intricate. Sixty-eight compartments spring from the various piers with a loftiness reminding one of Cologne. The groining differs very much. The greater portion is admirably plain, of simple quadripartite design; other parts are fanciful and elaborate, recalling florid German prototypes. The five central vaults forming the cross under the dome alone have elaborate fan-vaulting; the geometrical design is as excellent as its detail. The richness given this central and most correct portion of the great roofing is all the more effective by contrast with the plain, unelaborated groins of the surrounding vaults. The petals of the flower, the very holy of{212} holies, between the choir and the Capilla Mayor, before the high altar, are what is most beautiful and enriched.

The lighting is very unusual, and better than either Leon or Toledo. Ninety-three windows are filled with the most glorious glass. There are two clerestories to light the body of the church, one in the walls of the second side aisle, admitting light above the roofs of the chapels, the second in the nave. Added to this come the huge lights of the five rose windows.

In Seville, as in Toledo and many of the other great Spanish cathedrals, the general view of the interior is blocked, and the majestic effectiveness of the columnar rows marred, by the placing of the great choir in the centre of the edifice.

But the interior effect is nevertheless one of the most inspiring produced by the imagination and hands of man. All truly majestic conceptions are simple and, though we may at times wonder at the secret of their power, we always find their enduring grandeur due to a hidden simplicity. This is true of the Parthenon, of the Venus of Milo, and the Sistine Madonna. Whoever enters the Cathedral of Seville is struck first of all by its simplicity. The tremendous scale of the interior is unperceived, owing to the just proportion between all the parts. There is height as well as width, massiveness and strength, boldness and light. None of the detail is petty or too elaborate, but simple and effective, making a harmony in all its parts. Even the furniture carries out the tremendous boldness and grandeur of the edifice. Bells, choir books, candles, altar chests, are all on the same grandiose scale. It has true majesty in its simplicity{213} of direct, honest appeal, and a proud unconsciousness, because it is free from the artificiality which is invariably vulgar. The truly beautiful woman needs none of the devices of art. The shafts and vaults and string courses in Seville's Cathedral need little ornamentation to bring out their beauty; they are in fact as effective as the elaborate carving of Salamanca and Segovia. Seville preaches a great lesson to our twentieth century, of peace, rest and completeness. It has room for all its children; they may kneel at eighty-two different shrines and find romance or encouragement or the consolation they are seeking. Some churches are strangely secular in their restlessness of feeling, while others breathe an atmosphere full of poetry, exaltation and the infinite peace of the Gospels. Seville's religion is for the humble and simple as much as for the grandee. It is not only the great cathedral church of the archbishop and bishop, the eleven dignitaries, forty canons, twenty prebendaries, twenty minor canons, twenty veinteneros, twenty chaplains and the host of a choir, but the beloved home of the poor, miserable, starving sons and daughters of Santa Maria de la Sede.

Although architecturally the injurious effect of placing choir and high altar in the middle of the church cannot be overstated, from the point of view of ritual, of closely uniting the officiating body with the worshipers, it is undoubtedly a far happier arrangement than where the prayers and psalms proceed from the extreme apsidal termination. In the former case the religious guidance seems to emanate from the very soul of the edifice, and to reach all humble worshipers in the remotest nooks and corners.{214}

The Spanish nature craves the sensuous and theatrical in religious rites, and not far-away but intimately, as part and parcel of it. In the time of the great ecclesiastical power of the bishopric of Seville 20,000 pounds of wax were burned every year, 500 masses were daily celebrated at the 80 altars, and the wine consumed in the yearly sacrament amounted to 18,750 litres. Seville's children wished to be close to the glare and flicker of the wax candles and torches and to hear distinctly the unintelligible Latin service. Seek the shade of the cathedral when the July sun is burning outside, or during one of the nights of Holy Week, when the great Miserere of Eslava is sung, and you will find it the most thronged spot in all Seville. In the words of Havelock Ellis: "Profoundly impressive,—around the choir an impassive mass, in the rest of the church characteristic Spanish groups crouched at the bases of the great clustered shafts, and chatted and used their fans familiarly, as if in their own homes, while dogs ran about unmolested. The vast church lent itself superbly to the music and the scene. It was a scene stranger than the designs of Martin, as bizarre as something out of Poe or Baudelaire. In the dim light the huge piers seemed larger and higher than ever, while the faint altar lights dimly lit up the iron screen of the Capilla Mayor, as in Rembrandt's conception of the Temple of Jerusalem. In the scene of enchantment one felt that Santa Maria of Seville had delivered up the last secret of her mystery and romance."

If you enter the church from the west through the main portal, or the Puerta Mayor, the whole length of the nave is broken by various structures. On the{215} axis, under the second vault, is the tomb of Fernando Colon; the fourth and fifth vaults contain the choir; the sixth comes under the dome; the seventh and eighth take in the Capilla Mayor and Sacristia Alta; back of the ninth and terminating the eastern end, rises the great Renaissance royal chapel (Capilla Real). Fernando Colon deserves to live not only in Seville's history but in the memory of all Spain, first and foremost for being his father's son (by his mistress Beatrix Enrigues), and, secondly, for leading a most pious and studious life and devoting his time and fortune while traversing Europe during the first half of the sixteenth century, to the purchase of the most valuable books and manuscripts of the time. These he united into the famous Columbina Library and presented to the Cathedral Chapter. The enormous wooden tabernacle erected every Passion Week over the great Discoverer's son, to reach the very arches of the vaults overhead, is as hideous as the inscription is touching. Three caravels are inlaid on the slab, between which runs the legend, "A Castilla y a Leon mundo nuevo die Colon"[a] (To Castile and Leon Columbus gave a new world), and the following inscription: "Of what avails it that I have bathed the entire universe in my sweat, that I have thrice passed through the new world, discovered by my father, that I have adorned the banks of the gentle Bati and preferred my simple tastes to riches, in order to gather around thee the divinities of the Castalian Spring and offer thee the treasures already gathered by Ptolemy, if thou in passing this stone in Seville, dost not at least give a greeting to my father and a thought to me."{216}

Directly back of Fernando Columbus' tomb rises the rear surface or trascoro of the choir. The choir, which occupies the fourth and fifth bays, is enclosed by the most elaborate walls, except at the entrance to the east, where it is screened by the remarkable iron reja. This, as well as the rejas of the choir, is in design and workmanship a marvelous example of mediæval craft, quite as fine as the screens of Toledo and Granada and the best work of the German forgers and guilds. The design, from 1519, harmonizes splendidly with the ironwork facing it. Its gilding must have improved as each century has toned it down. Now in the evening hours when it catches the reflection of some light, the spikes look like angels' spears rising flame-like out of the mysterious twilight and guarding the holy places beyond.

The choir, placed so nearly under the dome, naturally suffered greatly by its fall. A portion of the 127 stalls has been so well restored that it is difficult to distinguish the old from the new. "Nufro Sanchez, sculptor, whom God guarded, made this choir in the year 1475." The subjects are as usual from the New and Old Testaments, and the character of the carving constantly betrays Moorish influence. The pillars as well as the canopies and the figures themselves are possibly entirely Gothic, but one glance at the gaudily inlaid backs shows Arab workmanship. Along the outer sides of the choir around the four little stonework niches, which serve as smaller chapels, the Gothic carving (some of it executed in transparent alabaster), works more happily than usual in combination with the later Plateresque or Renaissance, here containing the fine feeling of the Genoese school.{217} One piece of sculpture stands out from all the rest, viz., the Virgin, carved by Montañes. Her hands are of such exquisite girlish delicacy, of such immature and dimpled softness, that one cannot pass them by without a feeling of delight.

The organs, which form a part of the choir, have an incredible number of pipes and stops. According to a remarkable old tale, they were filled with air by the choir boys, who walked back and forth over tilting planks placed on the bellows. Whether or no the boys still have this happy outlet for their ecclesiastic activities, the music means little to the Spaniard, and their design still less to the architect's eye.

The Capilla Mayor faces the choir, merely separated from it by the space lying directly under the dome and forming the intersection of nave and transepts. As the church services constantly require the simultaneous use of the choir and the high altar of the Capilla Mayor, a portion of the intermediate space or "entre los dos Coros" is roped off during service time for the clergy to pass from one to the other. The Spanish taste for pomp and magnificence centres in all its extravagance about the high altar, while a more subdued richness characterizes the surrounding stone and iron work which encloses the sanctuary on all sides. Not only on the front, complementing and balancing admirably the facing reja of the choir, but on the western ends of the sides, immense ornamental iron screens bar the way. The front one is quite overpowering in size, rising some seventy-five feet above the altar. The Spaniard was equal to any undertaking in the days of early Hapsburg splendor under the pious Reyes Catolicos. With the aid of Sancho Munoz and{218} Diego de Yorobo, a Dominican Friar, Francesco de Salamanca designed them (1518) and then superintended the welding, gilding and the final erection in 1523.

The east end of the Capilla Mayor is formed by the magnificent retablo, almost four thousand square feet in size. One is immediately struck by its immense proportions and the infinite amount of carving bestowed on it. Its great scheme was conceived in 1482 by the Flemish sculptor Dancart, evidently a man of prolific and versatile imagination. If we try to compare it with the work of English churches, we might best liken it to the great altar screens. This and the retablo at Toledo are probably the richest specimens of mediæval woodwork in existence. Portions of the execution are somewhat inferior to the conception, and yet the artists who labored on it with loving skill until the middle of the following century carried out all their work with a richness and delicacy which make it not only a representative piece of late Gothic sculpture but one of the most magnificent specimens of this branch of Spanish art. Its various portions embrace the whole period of florid Gothic from its earlier, more restrained expression to the very last stroke of the art, when wood was mastered and carved into incredible filigree work as if it had been as soft and pliable as silver leaf. Everything that could be carved is there, figures, foliage, tracery, moldings and mere conventionalized ornament. The central portions are of the earlier fifteenth century, the outer ones, of the late sixteenth, executed under Master Marco Jorge Fernandez. The wood is principally larch, with minor portions of chestnut and pine. The whole field is{219} divided by slender shafts and laboriously carved bands into forty-four compartments representing in high and low relief various scenes from the life of Christ and the Virgin Mary. In the centre is Santa Maria de la Sede, the patron saint of the church, surmounted by a Crucifixion with Saint John and the Virgin on either side.

Between the retablo and the rear wall enclosing the rectangle of the Capilla Mayor, there is a dark space known as the Sacristia Alta, where is preserved the Tablas Alfonsinas[18] brought from Constantinople to Paris by Saint Ferdinand's son, Alfonso.

Seville ranks high among the churches of Spain in the beauty of its carving. The stone screen that forms the rear of the retablo is filled with admirable Gothic terra-cotta statues, saints, virgins, bishops, martyrs and prelates executed with a little of the curious rigidity of the Dutch School still awaiting its Renaissance emancipation, but with faces full of holy devotion. The modeling is correct and the treatment of the drapery excellent.

Within the enclosure of the Capilla Mayor, there is still to be seen at certain times of the year, a ceremony which has been performed for centuries, and which is certainly the most unique religious rite celebrated in any Christian church. To the Saxon it is most extraordinary. During the last three days of the Carnival or after the Feast of Corpus Domini, we may see boys dressed in costumes perform a dance before the high altar of the Cathedral. Children, so the tale{220} runs, danced, skipped and shouted for joy when the city of Seville was finally taken from the Mohammedans, and these childish demonstrations so touched the hearts of the clergy who entered the city with the conquering army, that they resolved that succeeding generations of boys should perpetuate them forever. Of all the festivals and religious processions culminating in or outside Saint Mary's shrine, surely none can give her so much pleasure as the sight of these little boys dancing and singing in her honor.

This naïf and charming ceremonial is part of the Mozarabic Ritual, the work of Saint Isidore, a metropolitan of Seville a hundred years before the arrival of the Saracens. In his early years, when his elder brother Leander ruled the Gothic Church with stern hand, Isidore had time and talents to master in his cloistered seclusion so much art and science that he became the Admirable Crichton of his day. His work on "The Origin of Things" shows the profundity of his knowledge, his history of the Goths is beyond doubt his most valuable legacy to us, but what endeared him above all to his countrymen was the Mozarabic Rite, of which he composed both breviary and music. The Benedictine monks of Cluny, those architects and chroniclers, who had been obliged to sacrifice their Gallican liturgy for the Roman, could not rest satisfied until they had imposed it on the Peninsula. They were supported in this truly foreign aggression by Constance of Burgundy, Queen of Alfonso VI, and by the masterful Gregory VII, himself a Benedictine. And so Saint Isidore's quaint old hymn with the accompanying melody was banished from all but one or two favored chapels. Fortunately{221} Cardinal Ximenez became its enthusiastic and powerful protector. He endowed in the Cathedral of Toledo a special chapel and had thirteen priests trained for the service, "Mozarabes sodales." In Ximenez' time a German, Peter Hagenbach, first printed "missale secundum regulam beati Isidori dictum Mozarabes," what Saint Isidore called "those fleeting sounds so hard to note down." His breviary was the first Roman one to be used in Spanish churches.

To enumerate the endless rows of chapels with their countless treasures and chaste or tawdry architecture and decoration would be tiresome and unprofitable,—with a plan and guide-book, one may pass them in review. "Sixty-seven of the great sculptors and thirty-eight of the painters here display to the astonished and incredulous eye the masterpieces of their hand," says one. Here is almost every painter belonging to the great Sevillian school of painting of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. They form a veritable museum or a series of small museums, each chapel being a separate room of masterpieces. But here, as in the museum, there are good and bad paintings and statues, and only the excellent are worth attention. They are better worth studying here than elsewhere, for they have been left in the surroundings for which they were intended and painted. Spain's great religious artist did not paint his Madonnas so full of distracting and sensuous loveliness for the walls of the Prado; their smiles, human and pathetic, were for the altars and panels of sanctuaries. Here is the light in which they were studied and for which they were colored; here are the walls and frames which were intended to surround them; they{222} are in the company they would choose, and they were painted with the same religious devotion that inspires the prayers now offered before them. The painter's inspiration sprang from the fervor of his faith.

Three of the paintings are lovely above all others. Two are Murillo's, namely the Angel de la Guarda and the San Antonio of the baptistery; the third is the Deposition from the Cross, by Pedro de Campana (or more correctly Kempeneer), hanging in the great sacristy. This is the painting, Spanish historians will tell you, Murillo loved so well that whenever he was downhearted he would stand in front of it for hours, and become lost to all around him, even forgetting his own Madonnas. One day the sacristan asked him impatiently, why he so often stood there staring. "I am waiting," Murillo answered, "till those holy men have taken the Saviour down from the Cross." It hangs well lighted over one of the altars of the Sacristy. Few faces have ever been painted which convey depth and intensity of feeling in a more affecting way. The agonized faces of the women at the foot of the Cross express all an innocent human heart can feel of compassion, heart-wrung sorrow and despair. The ecstasy with which Saint Anthony, who is kneeling in prayer, gazes at the Child Jesus has seldom been surpassed in reality and power. Entirely lifted beyond the earthly sphere, his features kindle with ardent piety and divine love. The angels surrounding the Infant Jesus have a simplicity of expression which never escapes those who have loved and studied children. The coloring is unique and of a truly penetrating softness. All the little details of the miserable cell in which the saint is kneeling are rendered with{223} the vigorous reality so characteristic of the Spanish school, while in the upper part of the painting one seems to see even the dust particles floating in the rays of sunlight. The shadows have a marvelous transparency.

The Angel de la Guarda, or Guardian Angel, is one of the master's very best works. The purples and yellows of the angel's vesture have kept their depth and richness through all the centuries in which the colors have been drying.

There might be a guide-book dealing with the paintings of the Cathedral alone. How differently it is decorated from the great Gothic cathedrals of the present Anglican Church! In Seville as in Florence, all the fine arts seemed to flower and come to perfection during the sixteenth century. Sculpture and painting were employed to embellish architecture, as in the ancient days of Greece. The sister arts walked once more hand in hand. The figures in stone and still more in terra-cotta which adorn the exterior porches and the more decorative portions of the interior are unusually fine. Many of the bishops, saints and kings have an unmistakable Renaissance feeling. Take, for instance, such a statue as the Virgin del Reposo, so dear to the Sevillians,—you feel in all the handling the period of transition. Such sculptors as Miguel Florentin, Juan Marin, and Diego de Pesquera must have been influenced by Italy when they carved the statues which adorn the Cathedral of Seville.

The contact with Italy and the many Italian workmen gradually induced faithlessness to the earlier Gothic ideals of the founders and builders of the church. The great Maestro Mayor of Toledo Cathedral,{224} Henrique de Egas, was among the first to introduce restraint in Spanish building after the fanaticism of the later flamboyant. In the time of Ferdinand and Isabella, a well-known Toledan published a Spanish abridgment of Vitruvius; this in conjunction with the influence of many foreign artists led the way to classical building. Granada was soon resurrected as a Greek-Roman "Centralbau" and even the crossing of Gothic Burgos was unfortunately restored by Borgoña after classic models.

The new foreign movement found expression in architecture, in sculpture and in painting, often with the most extraordinary attempts to employ the new without discarding the old. Grotesque and fantastic ornaments crown illogical construction.

The royal chapel, the chapter house, the sagrario and the great sacristy are examples of the new-born style. The first two are magnificent specimens of Spanish Renaissance. Each of them is a fine church in itself, and they can only be classed as chapels because they bear that relation and are proportioned to the immense mother church of Seville.

The walls of the Capilla Real form the eastern termination to the Cathedral, and the chapel is very properly planned upon the axe of the church and entered through a splendidly decorated lofty arch. It is about 81 by 59 feet in plan, and 113 feet high to the lantern crowning the really fine dome. A round altar at its eastern extremity is closed off by a typically impressive reja. The architecture is of the magnificence of Saint Peter's in Rome, and not unlike it in detail. Eight Corinthian pilasters support the dome, breaking the wall space into panels and carrying the{225} richest classical cornice surmounted by fine statues of the Apostles, Evangelists and kings. The chapel takes its name from being the burial place of the royal house. Along its walls are the tombs of Saint Ferdinand's consort, of Alfonso the Learned and his mother, Beatrice of Suabia, and the beautiful Doña Maria de Padilla, the mistress of Pedro the Cruel. He himself is buried below in the vault with many other of the royal princes. In the centre of the chapel Saint Ferdinand lies in full armor with a crown on his head. Three times a year he is shown to the soldiers of Spain, who march past with sounding bugles and lowered banners.

The chapel was planned and built by Martin Ganza during the reign of Charles V. Shortly after the defeat of the Moors, an earlier royal one was built upon the same site and added to the old mosque. When the great new Cathedral was planned, the Chapter begged permission to remove temporarily the bodies of the royal personages interred in the chapel,—the holy King Ferdinand, his mother and son. This petition was granted by Queen Joanna on condition that they would rebuild it on a more fitting scale at as early a date as possible. The Chapter preferred, however, to expend all its means and energies on the great vaulting of the Cathedral rather than on the new royal sepulchre, and this was not rebuilt until Charles V finally lost patience over the negligent and disrespectful manner in which the remains of his forbears were treated and wrote to the Chapter, in 1543, commanding them "to start the work without any delay whatsoever, and to bring it to completion as rapidly as possible, and to execute the{226} work as excellently as befitted its royal guests." That the workmen made no delay in obeying the royal commands is shown by the fact that the walls were well up as early as 1566 and finished shortly afterwards.

None of the Spanish cathedrals have a better type of Plateresque architecture and decoration than the sacristy, built during the first half of the seventeenth century. The plan is that of a Greek cross, 70 by 40 feet, and about 120 feet high. Its dome, spanning the great central vault, is a distinct feature in any comprehensive exterior view of the Cathedral. The Sacristy is filled with curious and priceless relics, treasures, and vestments belonging to the church. As Santa Justa and Santa Rufina are in a manner the patron saints of Seville, their picture by Goya hanging here is of interest. Both of them hold vessels of the character of soup dishes; and their faces, taken from Seville models, are of decidedly earthly types.

To the west of the façade as you enter, lies the large sagrario, or parish church. It is a building entirely by itself, 112 feet long, with a single nave spanned by a dangerously bold barrel vault.

Here and there among the chapels you come suddenly on famous subjects by great masters, names renowned in Spanish history or striking works of art. Learning and statesmanship are honored in great Mendoza's monument: the silent mailed effigies of the Guzmans commemorate the thrilling exploits of Spanish arms. What sympathies are stirred as you stand uncovered before the tomb of the great and deeply wronged Discoverer! We hear again the passionate appeals and the vain pleadings of his undaunted{227} faith. The living head was left to whiten within prison walls; its effigy is now proudly carried on the four gorgeous shoulders of the Spanish states; the poor bones, after their weary travels from Valladolid to the Carthusian monastery of Las Cuevas, from Hispaniola to Havana, have finally found a resting-place within the very walls where they were once treated with such contumely,—for here lies the Great Admiral, Cristoforo Colon.

You pass paintings by Alfonso Cano, Ribera, Zurbaran, Greco and Goya,—Murillo's Immaculate Conception, better known than all his other works; Montañez' exquisite Crucifixion, canvases by Valdes, Herrera, Boldan and Roelas. There are subjects curious and out of keeping with our present artistic sentiments, saints walking about with their heads instead of breviaries under their arms, dresses more fitting for the ballroom than the wintry scenery amid which they are worn, marriage ceremonies of the Virgin, Adam and Eve, entirely forgetful of their lost Eden in the contemplation of the Virgin's halo, keys with quaint old Arab inscriptions: "May Allah render eternal the dominion of Islam in this city," saints with removable hair of spun gold and jointed limbs, others snatched from quiet altar service to plunge into the turmoil of battle on the saddle bow of reigning kings. Verily a museum of historical curiosities as well as of the fine arts, satisfying sensational cravings as well as the finer artistic sense.

The structure is revealed to us through a light of unearthly sweetness. None of the Spanish cathedrals are more satisfactorily lighted, for Seville has neither the brilliant clarity of some of the northern churches,{228} which robs them of a certain mystery and awe, nor has it the sinister obscurity of some of the southern, where both structure and detail are half lost in shadows, as in Barcelona.


Photo by J. Lacoste, Madrid


The light from the cimborio and from the two rows of windows as well as the doors penetrates every chapel with its rainbow hues; it reveals the whole majestic structure, the lofty spring of the arches, the glittering ironwork of the screens, the titanic strength and simple caps of the columns, and breathes celestial life into the army of saints and martyrs. It gives a soul to it all. The effect produced by the early morning and late afternoon light is very different. Santa Maria de la Sede, like all her earthly sisters, has a variety of expressions. At times she burns with animation, even a remnant of earthly passion may glow in her holy countenance, and again she is cold, impassive and nunlike in her gray garb of renunciation.

According to an Andalusian proverb, the rays of the sun have no evil power where the voice of prayer is heard. For this reason, only a few of the highest windows are screened by semi-transparent curtains, and the light pours in unbroken through most of their brilliant tints—down the nave in deep blood reds and indigo blues. The greater portion of the glass is unusually rich in coloring,—perhaps too florid, but typical of the Flemish School of glass-painting. Ninety-three windows were stained during the first half of the sixteenth century, for which the church paid the painters the large sum of 90,000 ducats. The earliest ones are by Micer and Cristobal Aleman, who in 1538 introduced in Seville real stained glass. Aleman's, {229}representing the Ascension of Christ, Mary Magdalen, and the Awakening of Lazarus, the Entry into Jerusalem, the Descent of the Holy Ghost and the Apostles, all in the transept, together with those by his brother Arnao de Flanders, are the best,—better than most Flemish windows of the time in any European cathedral. True, they are somewhat heavy in outline and the coloring lacks softness and restraint in tone, but they have great depth, excellency of drawing and power of expression in faces and figures.

The little chapel, the Capilla de los Doncelles, contains a magnificent sheet of glass representing the Resurrection of Christ, painted by Carlos de Bruges, one of the great Flemish artists. A whole school of foreign painters seem to have gathered round these famous "vidrieros," many of them working in their shops. Among the best known are Arnao de Vergara, Micer Enrique Bernardino de Celandra and Vicente Menardo.

The Giralda is incomparable, a unique expression of feminine strength. She is as oriental and mysterious as the Sphinx, or might be likened to a great sultana in enchanted sleep. Though her majestic head has towered for centuries beside her Christian sister, they still seem as irreconcilable as their faiths a thousand years ago. It has been a strange companionship. The oriental loveliness and splendor of the Giralda, like that of Seville, are best felt at the twilight hour, when her jewels sparkle in the last rays of the setting sun. With the waning light the coloring becomes purple, then indigo, while the silhouette still stands out in startling clearness and strength against the{230} spotless blue of the evening sky. You feel as if the whole mountain of masonry were slowly but surely leaning more and more from its base and about to bury you in its fall. The vermilion and ochre coloring are like the petals of the rose. Nowhere is the surface uniform, but passes gradually from light cream and buff through warmer amber to brilliant orange and carmine and crimson lake, even to the color of the pomegranate's heart. The exquisite surface of delicate tinting, mellowed by the storms and suns of centuries, is everywhere relieved by the brilliant sparkle, the delicate play of light and shade, of the Moorish designs. When the low rays of the Andalusian sun illumine the Giralda, just touched here and there with dots of molten gold like the orange trees from whose green bed it rises, you see the boldest creation of Moorish imagination in all its splendor. The great Cathedral itself becomes a modest nun with rich, but sombre, cape over her shoulders, beside this dazzling creature glowing with Saracenic fire.

The Giralda is the greatest of all the monuments of that enlightened civilization. She is so different from any other tower that comparison becomes difficult. There is a robustness, an appearance of adequate solidity and strength which are lacking in the Italian towers of Saint Mark's, of Pistoja, or of Florence. This holds true even in relation to other Moorish towers, or such edifices as the Mosque at Cordova, the Alcazar at Seville, or the pillared halls of Granada; all other Moorish work seems to have a certain feminine weakness, a timidity and insecurity, when compared with the tower which dominates Maria Santissima. The Giralda is your first and last impression{231} of this corner of the world, for it embodies all the grace and strength that can be combined in architecture. Old Spanish authorities assert that it was in the very year when believers throughout Christendom were anxiously expecting the end of the world that the Moslem infidels began to build their huge monument. More probably it was started about the year 1185, as the prayer tower or minaret of the mosque which was then rapidly progressing. The Spanish historian Gayangos says that it was completed by Jabar or Gever in 1196, during the reign of the illustrious Almohad ruler, Abu Jakub Jusef, the same monarch who erected the Mesquita at Cordova. Other authorities insist that its original purpose was as an observatory,—but although it may have been used for astronomical purposes, it was certainly erected as a tower from which the muezzin could call the faithful to prayer in the Mosque of Seville. While building it, Gever claims to have invented algebra.

The original tower has undergone skillful but of course detrimental changes from the hands of later generations. We have descriptions and representations of it prior to the changes made in 1500. The main Arab structure was, like almost all Mohammedan prayer-towers, surmounted by a smaller tower and capped by a spire. It was about 250 feet high, and on its summit an iron standard supported, before the earthquake of 1395, four enormous balls of brass. King Alfonso the Wise, in his "Cronica de España," describing Seville in the thirteenth century, says that "when the sun shone upon these balls, they emitted so fierce a light that they might be seen a day's journey{232} away from the city." When Seville was taken by Saint Ferdinand in 1248, the tower was standing in the full glory of its original conception. The thought that it might fall into the hands of the conquerors so horrified its builders that they were only prevented from destroying it by Saint Ferdinand's threat that, if a single brick were removed, not an infidel in Seville should keep his head.

The Giralda had already lost the Byzantine crown which it had worn proudly for five hundred years when, in 1595, it came near total destruction, and was only saved during the terrible earthquake and storm which almost destroyed the city by the interposition of its special protectresses, the potter girls of Triana, Santa Justa and Santa Rufina. There are pictures which show us these blessed Virgins supporting the tower while the wind devils with distended cheeks are blowing on its sides with all their might and main. We are not only grateful to them for this timely intervention, but very glad it cost them so little exertion, for we find them shortly afterwards holding the tower in their hands as lightly as a filigree casket. The architects who restored it about twenty years ago fortunately refrained from all attempts at improving or renovating its sunburned, wind-swept surface.

The Giralda is as strong as it looks. The huge walls have a thickness of eight feet below, diminishing to seven feet in the upper stories. The height to the very top of the crowning figure is 308 feet. In the foundations are bricks, rubble, and huge blocks of earlier Roman and Visigothic masonry; even Latin inscriptions are found immured. The Moors, like all other{233} builders, used the materials readiest at hand; the rejected building stones of one generation become the corner stones of the next.

Below the Renaissance addition with which the tower was terminated in 1568, the broad sides of the shaft had been broken by the Arabs in the simplest and most felicitous manner. The brickwork was treated in three panels with the corner borders very properly broader and stronger than the two intermediate ones. The panels, which could not be of a happier depth, are filled down to eighty feet of the ground with varying Moorish arabesque patterns; the figured diaper-work on all sides is broken in the two outer panels by blind cusped arches, and in the central patterns, by Moorish windows of the "ajuiez" variety. Their double arches are subdivided by small Byzantine columns; these again are framed within larger cusped and differently broken horseshoe curves. Small Renaissance balconies have at a later date been placed below the windows. The small niches comprising the total Moorish composition sparkle throughout with life and charm, and, though no two are alike, they form a harmonious whole. The Arab seemed to have an instinctive aversion from tedious repetition. He would always vary the design just enough to satisfy his imagination and creative faculty, but never sufficiently to disturb the harmony of the general scheme. As with the windows, so also with the arabesques. They begin at slightly varying heights on the different sides of the tower, so that the windows may properly meet the different elevations of the interior stair. Their patterns are not quite the same, neither on the various sides of the tower nor at{234} different heights on the same side. The decoration employed is admirably fitted to a large surface which would have been weakened by strong cutting or deep relief. Considering what Arab art achieved within prescribed limits, the student of Christian art may well deplore that the Koran, in its abhorrence of idol-worship, forbade its followers in any way to reproduce human or animal forms. Forever debarred all the wider possibilities of movement and poetry these would have given them for interior decoration, Moorish art necessarily stagnated to mere conventionalization of floral and natural subjects. These are well adapted to exterior mural surfacing. When we look at the fancifully handled geometric patterns on the Giralda, we can only rejoice that the frescoes added by the later Renaissance artists in the upper arches and along some of the lower surfaces have been washed away by time. They were ineffective; all that remains of Moorish is magnificent. A small arcade, running the width of each side in its single panel, terminates the Moorish work.

It is almost to be regretted that the Renaissance top has been so well done, for its barbarous exotism is sufficient to condemn it. It has excellently fulfilled a dastardly purpose.

The original Moorish termination was taken down by the architect, Francisco Ruiz, who was commissioned by the Cathedral Chapter in 1568 to give it a more fitting crown. His design consists of three stages reaching to a height of about a hundred feet. The first, of the same width as the shaft below, is pierced by openings "to let out the sweet sounds of the bells inside." The second stage consists of a double tier of{235} considerably smaller squares pierced by wide arches. Around the four sides of its upper frieze runs the inscription so legible that all Sevillians who know how may read, "Nomen Domini Fortissima Turris" (Proverbs, xviii, 10). The third stage consists of a double lantern surmounted by a soaring Seraphim, bearing in one hand the banner of Constantine and in the other the Roman palm of conquest. The "Girardello" was cast in gilded bronze by Bartolomé Morel in the year 1568. Intended to symbolize Faith, the name, a diminutive of Giralda, or weathercock, is most inappropriate. Despite her enormous size and weight, the faintest zephyr blowing down from the Sierra Moreña sets her turning on the spire she treads so lightly, whereupon the crowds of hawks resting on Girardello disperse in noisy scolding.

Dumas gazed at her in wonder and admiration. "C'est merveilleux," he said, "de voir tourner dans un rayon de soleil cette figure d'or aux ailes deployées, qui semble, comme un oiseau céleste fatigué d'une longue course, avoir choisi pour se reposer un instant le point le plus proche du ciel."

The great bells of the tower, all baptized with holy oil, a custom very frequent in Spain, are dear to the hearts of those whom they daily call to rest and prayer. As they strike the hours, passers-by look up to see their great tongues protrude. Their sweet peal is heard in the most distant quarters of the city, and beyond on the waters of the Guadalquivir and in the fertile valley through which it flows. The deep resonant note of Santa Maria is the last sound we hear before falling asleep.

Inside you may ascend to the very summit by{236} steps so broad and easy that two horses abreast may go as far as the platform of the bells. Below you lies the city with its scattered white buildings that once housed half a million, and beyond, the valley that enfolded twelve thousand villages. Though dwindled and changed, time has dealt gently with Seville. There is gay laughter in her sunny streets and the olive groves echo with rippling song. Just under your feet throbs the heart of it all. Though repeatedly struck by lightning, the great Cathedral still stands, an everlasting symbol of the Church, triumphant and eternal. {237}





Photo by J. Lacoste, Madrid

West front

Kennst du das Land we die Citronen blühn,
Im dunkeln Land die Goldorangen glühn,
Ein sanfter Wind vom blauen Himmel weht,
Die Myrte still und hoch der Lorbeer steht?
Goethe's Wilhelm Meister.
Thus being entred, they behold arownd
A large and spacious plaine, on every side
Strewed with pleasauns, whose fayre grassy grownd
Mantled with greene, and goodly beautifide
With all the ornaments of Floraes pride.
Faerie Queene, book 2, c. xii.


THE first stars shone pale in the fields of upper air over walls and towers wrapt in the mystery of twilight which softened every outline and cast a kindly veil over the decay of a thousand years. The air was oppressively sweet with the fragrance exhaled by southern vegetation on a summer evening. The roses had climbed to the top of the walls, where they could cool their flushed cheeks on the marble copings of the battlements. The myrtle and ivy trembled in the evening breeze, and through the broken casements the aloes whispered to the sweet-breathing orange trees in the courtyards. The martlet twittered in the branches. On all sides was heard in cool silvery continuity the gurgle and plash of streams which, issuing from mountain snows, had wound their loitering way through fields of violets and forget-me-nots to the "large and spacious plaine" of the Vega.{240} The fairy palace of the Alhambra, the Acropolis that once held forty thousand defenders of the faith, crowns and encircles the hill. From its watch-tower the nightingales pour forth lovers' songs, plaintive and passionate, heightening the enchantment of a scene unsurpassed in natural loveliness and the charm of a romantic past.

The hillsides undulating from the vermilion ramparts of the Alhambra are clad with graceful elms, with orange and pomegranate trees bearing deep red and golden fruit and with the mulberry's glistening olive green. Here and there are open spaces between the groves; fields of roses and lilies. The Darro and the Xenil flow by the foot of the hill, and from their banks for almost thirty miles stretches the Vega. At the base of the fortress, between the rivers, lies the city of Granada,—

The artist's and the poet's theme,
The young man's vision, the old man's dream,—
Granada, by its winding stream,
The City of the Moor.

Out on the plain the settlement becomes gradually sparser, the houses more scattered. White stucco walls are interspersed with plots of green garden, the ochre houses are smaller shining patches amid the yellow-flowering fig-cactus and the regularly planted olive groves, until finally the eye must search for the farmhouse hidden among vineyards, orchards and waving fields of corn. The gleaming villas and farmhouses still look as they did to the Moor, like "oriental pearls set in a cup of emeralds."

The endless plain, once the fertile bosom of fourteen cities, innumerable strong castles and high{241} watch-towers, is shut in from the outside world like a very Garden of Eden, by the mountain walls of the Alpujarras and Sierra Alhama. Far away on the horizon the barrier is broken at a single point, the Loja gorge. This was once guarded by sentinels ever on the watch for the distant gleam of Christian lances to light the fires that signaled approaching danger to the distant citadel. Most Spanish cities were densely built within high walls, but Granada felt so secure in her mountain fortress that her dwellings were strewn broadcast over the plain. Behind the walls of the Alhambra, on a second slope wooded with cypress, the brilliant towers of the Generaliffe gleam against the dark foliage. Beyond, across the whole southern sweep, rises the chalky, hazy blue of the Sierra Nevada, capped with glittering, everlasting snow. Gazing up from the valley below, one might fancy it a white veil thrown back from the lovely features of the landscape.

Thus lies Granada, a verdant and perfumed valley wrapt in the soft mystery of its hazy atmosphere,—"Grenade,—plus éclatante que la fleur et plus savoureuse que le fruit, dont elle porte le nom, semble une vierge paresseuse qui s'est couchée au soleil depuis le jour de la création dans un lit de bruyères et de mousse, défendue par une muraille de cactus et d'aloes,—elle s'endort gaiement aux chansons des oiseaux et le matin s'éveille souriante au murmure de ses cascatelles."[19]

More than any other spot on earth, Granada seems haunted by memories of bygone glory. The wide plains, now inhabited by less than seventy-five thousand,{242} once swarmed with over half a million souls. The artist feels poignantly the charm of those long centuries of Arabian Days and Nights that were forever blotted out by the zeal of the Christian sword. The ruined temples still attest the thrift and industry, the refinement and learning of the vanished race; the squalid poverty that has replaced it is deaf and blind to the records of ancient grandeur, but the traveler and the historian may still be thrilled by the struggle that destroyed "the most voluptuous of all retirements" and feel there as nowhere else the relentless power of the most Catholic Kings, the pathos of the Moor.

A.  Sagrario. E.  Door of the Perdon.
B. Royal Chapel. F. Door of St. Jeronimo.
C. Capilla Mayor. G. Main Entrance.
D. Choir.  

Granada is a very old city, and like Cordova and Seville, it was one of the principal Moorish centres; in fact after their fall, the industries and culture which had been theirs went to swell the inheritance of Granada. Its name has always been associated with the scarlet-blossoming tree which covers its slopes, whose fruit the Catholic sovereigns proudly placed in the point of their shield, with stalks and leaves and shell open-grained. During the Roman occupation, a settlement had been made on the wooded slopes at the foot of the Sierra Nevada and called Granatum (pomegranate). The Goths in their turn swept over the peninsula until, in 711, they were driven out of the valley by the advancing Arab hordes. These transformed the name given it by the Romans to Karnattah. Seven hundred and eighty-two years passed before the Crescent set forever on the Iberian peninsula. Dynasties had succeeded one another in the various kingdoms formed of larger and smaller portions of southern and central Spain, but in the north, hardy {243}monarchs had founded more stable thrones on the ruins of the Gothic Empire, and they were eagerly watching the advancing decay, the domestic discord of the Mohammedan power and grasping every opportunity for the aggrandizement of their own states.

In the tenth century, the Moorish power was at its zenith. During the eleventh, Granada had become strong enough to break away from the caliphate of Cordova. There the Almorvides and Almohades dynasties had alternated while the Nasrides ruled in the kingdom and city of Granada until the luckless Boabdil surrendered its keys.

During the last three centuries of Moorish rule, the northern Cross cast an ever longer shadow before it. Alfonso of Aragon advanced to within the walls of the outer forts in 1125, and in the two and a half centuries following, tribute was exacted by the crown of Castile. The Moors of Cordova were more hardy and warlike than the Arabs of Granada. The arts of peace flourished with this latter poetical, artistic and commercial race, who as time went on became less and less able to defend themselves against the fanaticism and skill of the Spanish armies. Like Hannibal's soldiers on the fertile plains of Lombardy, they had become enervated in the luxury of their beautiful valley. When their imprudent ruler answered the Castilian envoys who had come to collect the usual tribute, "that the Kings of Granada who paid tribute were dead, and that the mint now only coined blades of scimeters and heads of lances," the hour of Granada's destiny had struck. The smiling valley became for ten years a field of blood and carnage, after which its devastation was relentlessly completed by the Holy Office of the Inquisition.{244}

Ferdinand and Isabella entered the last stronghold of the Moors in the very year when the history of the civilized world was changing its course. Its helmsman, Columbus, was received in the Castilian camp outside the walls of the beleaguered city. On the second of January, 1492, Hernando, Bishop of Avila, raised the Christian Cross beside the banner of Castile on the ramparts of the highest tower of the Alhambra; four days later, on the day of the Kings and the festival of the Epiphany, Ferdinand and Isabella entered the city.

"The royal procession advanced to the principal mosque, which had been consecrated as a cathedral. Here the sovereigns offered up prayers and thanksgivings and the choir of the royal chapel chanted a triumphant anthem, in which they were joined by the courtiers and cavaliers. Nothing could exceed the thankfulness to God of the pious King Ferdinand for having enabled him to eradicate from Spain the empire and name of that accursed heathen race, and for the elevation of the Cross in that city where the impious doctrines of Mohamed had so long been cherished."[20]

Bells were rung and masses celebrated in gratitude throughout the Christian world. As far away as Saint Paul's in London town, a special Te Deum was chanted by order of the good King Henry the Seventh. Spain had reached the summit of her glory, before which yawned the abyss.

And now in the name of Christ the Inquisition was established and one of its chief offices founded; in His name the Jews were driven out, Christian oaths and{245} covenants broken, and the peaceful Moorish inhabitants hounded from their hearths. Under Philip III, in 1609, their last descendants were banished from the realm.

No scene of chivalry during the middle ages displayed a more brilliant and bloody pageant than the battlefield of Granada. It was the culmination of the work of Spain's greatest rulers,—the great crisis in her history.

Here gallants held it little thing for ladies' sake to die,
Or for the Prophet's honour, or pride of Soldenry.
For here did Valour flourish and deeds of warlike might
Ennobled lordly palaces in which was our delight.[21]

Gazing over this famous plain, the Vega, that "Pearl of Price," with its courtyards now desolate, its gardens parched and well-nigh calcined by the sun, one recalls Voltaire's words: "Great wrongs are always recent wounds!" and long years have passed since the iron heel of Austria set its first impress on the soil.

James Howell, the English traveler and busybody in the capital at the time Prince Charles went surreptitiously wooing, writes home in 1623, after visiting Granada: "Since the expulsion of the Moors, it is also grown thinner, and not so full of corn; for those Moors would grub up wheat out of the very tops of the craggy hills, yet they used another grain for their bread, so that the Spaniard had nought else to do but go with his ass to the market and buy the corn of the Moors."

Only once more does Granada's name emerge from the oblivion of ages,—when the Iron Duke occupied{246} the city during the Peninsular War. He covered with a kindly hand some of her barrenness, planting English elms beneath her fortress.


In the heart of a crumbling mass of chalky, chrome-colored walls and vermilion roofs, rises the dome of the Cathedral. Here, as in Seville, the ground once sanctified to Moslem prayer was cleansed by the Catholics from the pollution of the Moor, and the Christian edifice was reared on the foundations of the Mohammedan mosque. As already noted, one of the first religious acts of the conquerors was the consecration, in January, 1492, of the ancient mosque, which thereafter was used for Christian worship under the direction of the wise and tolerant Talavera, as first Bishop of Granada. The new building was not begun until the year 1523, an exceedingly late date in cathedral-building,—a time when the great art was slowly dying down, and, in northern countries, flickering in its last flamboyancy.

On March 25, 1525, the corner stone was laid of the new Cathedral of Santa Maria de la Encarnacion. It was planned on a much more elaborate scale than the previous mosque, which, however, continued to be independently used as a Christian church until the middle of the seventeenth century and was not demolished till the beginning of the eighteenth, to make room for the new sagrario, or parish church, of Santa Maria de la O.

The old mosque was of the usual type of Moslem{247} house of prayer, its eleven aisles subdivided by a forest of columns and resembling in general aspect the far greater mosque of Cordova. Prior to the actual commencement of the new Cathedral, though not to its design, the Royal Chapel was erected, between the years 1506 and 1517, and when the Cathedral was built, it became its southern, lateral termination and by far the most magnificent and interesting portion of the interior. It was planned and executed by the original designer of the church, and even after this was finished, the Royal Chapel remained, like the chapel of Saint Ferdinand of Seville, an independent church with its own Chapter and clergy and independent services.

About a dozen master-builders, almost all working under foreign influence, are known as the architects of the great Spanish cathedrals. They seem generally to have worked more or less in conjunction with each other, several being employed on the same building, or called in turn to advise in one place or superintend in another. Sometimes a whole body of them reported together, or several of them were jointly consulted by a cathedral chapter.

The original conception of the Cathedral of Granada was the work of Enrique de Egas of Brussels, who, when he was commissioned by the new Chapter to plan a fitting memorial to the final triumph of Christianity over Islam in Spain, was among the most celebrated builders of his day. He had already succeeded his father as Maestro Mayor of the Cathedral of Toledo when, just before his death, in 1534, he executed the Royal Chapel of Granada Cathedral, as well as built the hospital of Santa Cruz in the same{248} city. The Colegio de Santa Cruz at Valladolid was also his work, and he had been summoned with other leading architects to decide the best mode of procedure in Seville Cathedral after the disastrous collapse of its dome. At times he was giving advice in both Saragossa and Salamanca. Enrique de Egas' designs were accepted in 1523. He had hardly proceeded further in two years than to lay out the general plan of the Cathedral, when, either through misunderstanding or some controversy, he was supplanted in his office by the equally celebrated Diego de Siloé. Like Egas, his activity was not confined to Granada, but extended to Seville and Malaga.

In the year 1561, two years before Siloé's death, the building was sufficiently completed to be opened for public worship, and consequently on August 17th of that year it was solemnly consecrated. The foundations and lower portion of the northern tower were executed about this time by Siloé's successor, Juan de Maeda. The tower was completed and partially taken down again during the following twenty years by Ambrosio de Vico. Then follows the main portion of the exterior work, especially the west façade (of the first half of the seventeenth century), by the celebrated, not to say notorious, Alfonso de Cano, and José Granados. The decoration of the interior, the addition of chapels and the building of the sagrario were continued through the latter part of the seventeenth and beginning of the eighteenth centuries.

CATHEDRAL OF GRANADA The exterior cornices of the Royal Chapel

Photo by J. Lacoste, Madrid

The exterior cornices of the Royal Chapel

The building operations thus extended over a period of two hundred and fifty years. Alfonso de Cano's reputation was of various kinds; the son of a carpenter and a native of Granada, as soon as his talents {249}were recognized, he was apprenticed to the great Montañes. To judge from contemporaneous accounts, he must have been as hot-headed and quarrelsome as the Florentine goldsmith of similar talents and versatility. He was always ready to exchange the paint-brush or chisel for his good sword, and there was scarcely a day during the years of his connection with the Cathedral in which he was not enjoying a hot controversy with the Chapter. His favor with the weak monarch and the powerful ruling Conde-Duc was so great that they had the audacity to appoint him a prebendary of the Chapter after he had been forced to fly from justice in Valladolid on a charge of murder, as well as for having beaten his wife on his return from a meeting of the ecclesiastical body. The Chapter deprived him of his office as soon as they dared, which was six years after his appointment.

Egas' original plan, like the work he actually carried out in the Royal Chapel, was undoubtedly for a Gothic edifice, as this style was understood and executed in Spain. From the fact that the original Gothic intention was abandoned for a Spanish Renaissance church, many authorities give the date of its commencement as 1529, when Diego de Siloé's Renaissance work was under way. In the end of the fifteenth and beginning of the sixteenth centuries, the great turning-point had come. Italian influences were beginning to predominate over earlier styles and the last exquisite flames of the Gothic fire were slowly dying out to give place to the heavy Renaissance structure of ecclesiastical inspiration. Spaniards who had returned fresh from Italian soil and tutelage evolved with their ornate sense and characteristic{250} love for magnificence, the style, or rather decorative treatment, which marks the first stage of Spanish Renaissance architecture called "Estilo Plateresco." This is a happy name for it, its derivation being from "plata," or silver plate, and indicating that architects were attempting to decorate the huge superficial spaces on their churches with the same intricacy and sparkle as the silversmiths were hammering on their ornaments. There was evolved the same lace-like quality, the same sparkling light and shade. Wonderful results were indeed obtained by the stone-cutters of the sixteenth century.

The Cathedral of Granada is not at all remarkable. Its interest is derived from the city of which it is the chief Christian edifice and the great bodies which it contains; to students of architecture it is in a manner a connecting link between the Gothic building of the middle ages and the modern revival of classical building methods.

It is the death of the old and the birth of the new; it marks the advent of stagnant, uninspired formalism in constructive forms. Its sarcophagi and much of its decoration are both in design and execution most exquisite and appropriate examples of Renaissance art in Spain. Its easy victory in decorative forms was owing to the fact that there had practically been evolved little or no Spanish ornamental design outside of that produced by the ingenuity and peculiar skill of the Moors. The influence of Moorish design is long traceable in Christian decoration. The Spanish nature craves rich adornment in all material. The art of the great sculptors who, like Berruguete, returned at the beginning of the new century with{251} inspiration gained in the workshops of the Florentine Michael Angelo, soon found a host of pupils and followers. Not only in stone, but in wood, metal, plaster, and on canvas, the new forms were carried to a gorgeous profusion never dreamt of before. Charles V stands out amid its glories in as clear relief as in the tumult of the battlefield. The decline and frigid formality did not set in until the reign of his unimpassioned and repulsive son. The grandest epoch in Spain's history thus corresponds to the most inspired period of its sculpture. The first architects of this period worked on Granada Cathedral; the work of the greatest sculptor, the Burgundian Vigarny, is found in inferior form on the retablo of the Royal Chapel. In Spain, where the climate made small window openings desirable, the churches offered great wall spaces to the sculptor. The splendid portals, window frames, turrets and parapets, the capitals and string courses and niches all became rich fields for Spanish interpretation of the exquisite art of Lombardy.

The new art first found tentative expression in decorative forms, then in more radical and structural changes. The world-empire of which Ferdinand had dreamed, and which his grandson almost possessed, placed untold wealth and the art of every kingdom at the disposal of Spain.

Granada Cathedral has a strange exterior, meaningless except in certain portions, which are essentially Spanish. To the Granadines it is as marvelous as Saint Peter's to the Romans. Its view is obstructed on all sides by a maze of crumbling walls, yellow hovels, and shop fronts shockingly modern and out of keeping. It is all very, very provincial. The stream of the{252} world has left it behind and its pageants and glories had departed centuries ago. Donkeys heavily laden with baskets of market produce stand—personifications of wronged and unremonstrating patience—hitched to the iron rails before its main portals. Goats browse on the grass in its courtyards, and are milked between the buttresses. Immediately to the south of it lies the old episcopal palace, where the archbishop preached the sermons criticized by the ingenuous Gil Blas.

The main entrance is to the west. This front is the latest portion of the building with the exception of certain portions of the interior. Though not as corrupt as some of the surgical decorations in the trascoro, it is the heaviest and least interesting part of the church. It bears no relation to the sides of the building, but seems to have been clapped on like a mask. The central portion is subdivided into three huge bays, the spring of the arch, which rises from the intermediate piers, being considerably higher in the centre than those of the two to the north and south. Diego de Siloé probably designed the composition, intending that it should be flanked and terminated by great towers. Three stages, rising to a height of some 185 feet, stand to the north. Corinthian and Ionic orders superimpose a Doric entablature over a plain and restrained base. Arches frame more or less meaningless and unpierced designs between the pilasters and engaged columns of the orders. The whole is as painfully dry as the transfer of a student's compass from a page of Vignola. Old cuts and descriptions represent this northern tower crowned by an octagonal termination with a height of 265 feet. Despite the{253} apparent massiveness of the substructure, this soon made the whole so alarmingly insecure that it was pulled down. The present tower scarcely reaches above the broken lines and flat surfaces of the roof tiles and, particularly at a distance, has the effect of a huge buttress. The southern tower was never erected, but in place of it the front was supported by a makeshift portion of base. The northern tower is the work of Maeda, the façade principally by Cano, although much of the sculpture, such as the Incarnation over the central doorway, and the Annunciation and Assumption over the side portals, are by other inferior eighteenth-century sculptors.

Statues, cartouches and ornamental medallions relieve the paneled surfaces of the stonework, the masonry of which has been laid and jointed with the utmost conceivable mechanical skill. The whole central composition fizzles out in a meaningless mass of parapets and variously carved stone terminations. One feels as if the original designer had started on such a gigantic scale that he either had to give up finishing his work proportionately or keep on till it reached the sky,—he wisely chose the former alternative.

In Granada, as in most of the Spanish cathedrals, the decoration of the doorways and portals forms one of the principal features of exterior interest. Their ornamentation, with that of the parapets crowning the outer walls of chapels and aisles, is practically all that relieves the huge surfaces of ochre masonry. The walls themselves indicate in no manner the interior construction; the windows which pierce them are very low and narrow and Gothic in outline. The north and south façades,—if despite their many{254} obstructions they may be spoken of as such,—differ radically. The northern is to a great extent executed in the same ponderous magnificence as the western. Two doorways pierce it, the Puerta de San Jeronimo with mediocre sculpture by Diego de Siloé and his pupil and successor, Juan de Maeda, and the Puerta del Perdon, leading into the transept. The decoration of this doorway is as good pure Renaissance work as was executed in Spain during the first quarter of the sixteenth century. It consists of a double Corinthian order crowned by a broken pediment. The shafts of both orders are wreathed. The pilasters, the moldings of the arch, the archivolt and jambs are all, in the lower order, most profusely covered with exquisite designs, admirably fitted to their respective fields, full of imagination and virility. They are as good as the best corresponding work in Italy. Above the arch key of the main door, splendidly treated bas-reliefs of Faith and Justice support from the spandrels an inscription recounting the defeat of the Moors. The frieze band of both lower and upper orders is profusely filled with ornament, while small cherubs in excellent scale replace the conventional volutes of the Corinthian capitals. In the upper order the niches have unfortunately been left uncompleted. A bas-relief of God the Father fills the semicircle of the main arch; Moses and David occupy the lunettes.

The huge pilasters or buttresses of the church which run up east and west of the entire composition are decorated with the enormous imperial shields of Charles V, overshadowing in their vulgar predominance all the exquisitely proportioned and delicate detail adjacent to them.{255}

Some of the bays on the southern side of the Cathedral can be better seen, as a small courtyard separates them from the adjacent building, the episcopal palace. The others are choked by the Capilla del Pulgar, the Royal Chapel and the sagrario.

This side of the church exhibits in its balustrades, its ornamentation and the crocketed terminations and finials to the exterior buttresses, what is far more interesting in the Plateresque style of Spain than the purely borrowed and imitative features of the west and northern fronts. Here appear in jeweled play of light and shade, in all their imaginative and exquisite intricacy, those forms of carved string courses which were developed by the Spanish Renaissance and were essentially Spanish and national. You feel somewhere back of it the Moorish influence. It presents all the richness, the magnificence and exuberant fancy which characterizes the spirit in which its masters worked. The labor it involved must have been enormous. The splendor of the solid lacework ten to twelve feet high is thrown out by contrast with the naked walls which it crowns.

The Capilla del Pulgar, which blocks the most westerly corner of the south elevation, was named in honor of Hernan Peres del Pulgar, the site of whose brave exploit it marks. In 1490, during the last siege of Granada, he determined on a deed which should outdo all feats of heroism and defiance ever performed by Moslem warriors. At dead of night, some authorities say he was on horseback, others that he swam the subterranean channel of the Darro, he penetrated to the heart of the enemy's city and fastened with his dagger to the door of their principal mosque a scroll{256} bearing the words "Ave Maria." Before this insult to their faith had been discovered, he had regained Ferdinand's camp.

A double superimposed arcade faces the southern side of the sagrario: the lower story has been brutally closed and defaced by modern additions, almost concealing its original carving. The upper story, however, which forms a balcony, strongly recalls by its fancifully twisted shafts, elliptical arches and Gothic traceried balustrade, similar early Renaissance work at Blois, where the Gothic and early Italian work were so charmingly blended.

The Royal Chapel is entered through an Italian Renaissance doorway of good general design and decoration, but the Spanish cornice and balustrade crowning the outer walls are much more interesting in details. The principal member consists of a band of crowned and encircled F's and Y's, the initials of the Catholic Kings. It is broken over the window by three gigantic coats-of-arms. To the left is Ferdinand's individual device of a yoke, the "yugo," with the motto "Tato Mota" (Tanto Monta) tantamount, assumed as a mark of his equality with the Castilian Queen; to the right Isabella's device of a bundle of arrows or "flechas," the symbol of union. In the centre is the common royal shield, proudly adopted after the union of the various kingdoms of the Peninsula had been cemented. The Eagle of Saint John the Evangelist and the common crown surmount the arms of Castile and Leon, of Aragon, Sicily, Navarre, and Jerusalem and the pomegranate of Granada.

CATHEDRAL OF GRANADA The reja enclosing the Royal Chapel and tombs of the Catholic Kings

Photo by J. Lacoste, Madrid

The reja enclosing the Royal Chapel and tombs of the Catholic Kings

The various roofs of the Cathedral are covered with endless rows of tiles, which in the furrowed, {257}overlapping irregularity of their surfaces add to the general play of light and shade. Above them all spreads the umbrella-shaped dome which crowns the Capilla Mayor.

At the period when Gothic church-building was disappearing, we find not a few edifices where the old and new styles are curiously blended. A Renaissance façade added in later days might encase a practically complete Gothic interior. In Granada, with the exception of the Royal Chapel, very little of the interior contained traces of the expiring style. In the Cathedral proper, it is principally found in a groined vaulting of the different bays, which is covered with varying and most elaborate schemes of ornamental Gothic ribs, which seem strangely incongruous to the architect as he looks up from the classical shafts in the expectation of finding a corresponding form of building and decoration in the later vaulting.

The general plan of the church is more Renaissance than Gothic, exhibiting rather the form of the "Rundbau" than the "Langbau" of the Latin cross. Its main feature is likewise the great dome rising above and lighting the Capilla Mayor. The Spanish cimborio has at last reached its fullest development in the Renaissance lantern.

The church is divided into nave and double side aisles, outside of which is a series of externally abutting chapels. East and west it contains six bays. The choir blocks up the fifth and sixth bays of the nave, and in the customary Spanish manner it is separated from the high altar in the Capilla Mayor by the croisée of the transept. Back of this, forming the eastern termination, runs an ambulatory.{258}

The vaulting, one hundred feet high, is carried by a series of gigantic white piers consisting of four semi-columns of Corinthian order with their intersecting angles formed by a triple rectangular break. The vaulting springs from above a full entablature and surmounting pedestals, the latter running to the height of the arches dividing the various vaulting compartments. The church is about 385 feet long and 220 feet wide.

The choir is uninteresting; the carving of its stalls and organs in nowise comparing with the "silleria" of Seville or Burgos. The Capilla Mayor, the principal feature of the interior, is circular in form, and separated from the nave by a splendid "Arco Toral." The dome, which rises to a height of 155 feet, is carried by eight Corinthian piers. In general scheme it is pure Italian Renaissance, of noble and harmonious proportions and very richly decorated. At the foot of the pilasters stand colossal statues of the Apostles. Higher up there is a series of most remarkable paintings by Alfonso Cano and some of his pupils. Cano's represent seven incidents in the life of the Virgin,—the Annunciation, Visitation, Nativity, Assumption, etc. Though some of his carvings, and especially the dignified and noble Virgin in the sacristy, are admirable, still, to judge from this series, it was as a painter that he excelled. They show, too, how essentially Spanish he was, like his great master, Montañez. The careless, lazy quality of his temperament is sufficiently apparent, but he cannot be denied a place among the great masters of Spanish painting who immediately preceded the all-eclipsing glory of Velasquez, Murillo, and Ribera.{259}

The lights of the dome which rises over the paintings are filled with very lovely stained glass, representing scenes from the Passion by the Dutchmen, Teodor de Holanda, and Juan del Campo. On the two sides of the choir below are colossal heads of Adam and Eve carved by Cano and kneeling figures of Ferdinand and Isabella.

There are endless chapels outside the outer aisles, but, in spite of some good bits of sculpture and painting here and there, one longs to sweep them out of the way and free the edifice from their encumbrance.

The interior of the great sagrario is an expressionless jumble of the later Renaissance decadence,—and it is a shame that no more fitting architecture surrounds the tomb of the good Talavera, here laid to rest by his friend Tendilla, the first Alcaide of the Alhambra, with the inscription over his tomb, "Amicus Amico."

The general color scheme in the interior of the Cathedral is white and gold. One feels that it is handsome, even harmonious and magnificent, but that all the mystery and religious awe that pervaded the great churches of the previous centuries have vanished forever.

The Royal Chapel, although the oldest part of the building, should be considered last of all, as it is by far the most interesting portion and leaves an impression so vivid as to overshadow all other parts of the great edifice. It is situated between the sagrario and the Sacristia and is entered through the southern arm of the transept. The chapel itself is the very last Gothic efflorescence from which the spirit has fled, leaving only empty form. It consists of a single big nave flanked by lower chapels. The ornamentally{260} ribbed vaulting with gilt bosses and keystones is carried by clustered shafts engaged in its side walls. The shafts are too thin and the capitals too meagre. A broader and more generous string course runs, at the height of the capitals, across the wall surfaces between the upper clerestory and the lower arcades. Portions of this reveal a strong Moorish influence, as the manner in which the great Gothic lettering is employed to decorate the band. Similarly to the invocations to Allah running round the walls of the Alhambra, we read here that "This chapel was founded by the most Catholic Don Fernando and Doña Isabel, King and Queen of the Españos[d], of Naples, of Sicily, and Jerusalem, who conquered this kingdom and brought it back to the faith, who acquired the Canary Isles and Indies, as well as the cities of Ican, Tripoli, and Bugia; who crushed heresy, expelled Moors and Jews from these realms, and reformed religion. The Queen died Tuesday, November 26, 1504. The King died January 25, 1516. The building was completed 1517." Enrique de Egas had, at Ferdinand's order, commenced building two years after Isabella's death. The grandson enlarged it later, finding it "too small for so much glory."

The high altar with its retablo and the royal sarcophagi are separated from the rest of the chapel by the most stupendous and magnificent iron screen or reja ever executed. Spaniards have here surpassed all their earlier productions in this their master craft. Not even the screens of the great choir and altar of Seville or Toledo can compare with it. With the possible exception of the curious Biblical scenes naively represented by groups of figures near the apex, which{261} still tell their story in true Gothic style, it is a burst of Renaissance, or Plateresque glory. It is not likely that the crafts, with all their mechanical skill, will ever again produce a work of such artistic perfection. It represents the labor of an army of skilled artisans,—all the sensitive feeling in the finger-tips of the Italian goldsmith, the most cunning art of the German armorer and a combination of restraint and boldness in the Spanish smith and forger. The difficulty naturally offered by the material has also restrained the artisan's hand and imagination from running riot in vulgar elaboration. The design, made by Maestro Bartolomé of Jaen in 1523, is as excellent as the technique is astonishing. It may be said that in grandeur it is only surpassed by the fame of the Queen whose remains lie below. The material is principally wrought iron, though some of the ornaments are of embossed silver plate and portions of it gilded as well as colored. Bartolomé's design consists in general of three superimposed and highly decorated rows of twisted iron bars with molded caps and bases. Each one must have been a most massive forging, hammered out of the solid iron while it was red hot. The vertically aspiring lines of the bars are broken by horizontal rows of foliage, cherubs' heads and ornamentation, as well as two broad bands of cornices with exquisitely decorated friezes. Larger pilasters and columns form its panels, the central ones of which constitute the doorway and enclose the elaborate arms of Ferdinand and Isabella and those of their inherited and conquered kingdoms. The screen is crested by a rich border of pictorial scenes, of flambeaux and foliated Renaissance scrollwork, above which in the centre is throned{262} the crucified Saviour adored by the Virgin and Saint John. The crucifix rises to the height of the very capitals which carry the lofty vaulting.

CATHEDRAL OF GRANADA The tombs of the Catholic Kings, of Philip and of Queen Juana.

Photo by J. Lacoste, Madrid

The tombs of the Catholic Kings, of Philip and of Queen Juana.

Inside the reja, a few steps above the tombs, rises Philip Vigarny's, or Borgoña's, elaborate reredos. To the Protestant sense this is gaudy and theatrical, a strikingly garish note in the solemnity and grandeur of the chapel. To the right and left of its base are, however, most interesting carvings, among them the kneeling statues of Ferdinand and Isabella. Behind the former is his victorious banner of Castile. The figures are vitally interesting as contemporaneous portraits of the monarchs, aiming to reproduce with fidelity their features and every detail of their dress. There is also a series of bas-reliefs portraying incidents in the siege of Granada,—the Cardinal on a prancing charger, behind him a forest of lances, the lurid, flaming sky throwing out in sharp silhouette the pierced walls and rent battlements. The Moors, very much like dogs shrinking from a beating, are being dragged to the baptismal font;—the gesticulating prelates hold aloft in one hand the cross and in the other, the sword, for the tunicked figures to make their choice. The scene has been described by Sir W. Stirling Maxwell, who tells us "that in one day no less than three thousand persons received baptism at the hands of the Primate, who sprinkled them with the hyssop of collective regeneration."

Again, in another, the cringing Boabdil is presenting the keys of the city to the "three kings." Isabella is on a white genet, and Mendoza, like the old pictures of Wolsey, on a trapped mule. Ferdinand is there in all his magnificence; the knights, the halberdiers and {263}horsemen, all the details of the dramatic moment, full of the greatest imaginable historic and antiquarian interest, perpetuated by one who was probably an eye-witness of the scene.

At the foot of the altar, in the centre of the chapel, stand the tombs of Ferdinand and Isabella and of Philip and Joan. They are as gorgeous specimens of sepulchral monuments as the reja is of an ecclesiastical iron screen. Both sarcophagi are executed in the softest flushed alabaster; that of Ferdinand and Isabella by the Florentine Dominico Fancelli; that of their daughter and her son by the Barcelonian Bartolomé Ordenez, "The Eagle of Relief," who carved his blocks at Carrara. The tomb of poor crazy Jane, and the unworthy, handsome husband whom she doted on to the extent of carrying his body with her throughout the doleful wronged insanity of her later years, is somewhat more elevated than that of the Catholic Kings, though its general design is very similar. Philip of Austria sleeps vested with the Order of the Golden Fleece.

Isabella's celebrated will begins with her desire that her body may be taken to Granada and there laid to rest in the Franciscan monastery of Santa Isabella in the Alhambra, with a simple tomb and inscription: "but should the King, my lord, prefer a sepulchre in some other place, then my will is that my body be there transported, and laid where he can be placed by my side, that the union we have enjoyed in this world, and which through the mercy of God may be hoped for again when our souls are in heaven, may be symbolized by our bodies being side by side on earth." The humble burying-ground designated by Isabella, and{264} where she was first laid to rest with the simple rites she desired, was, however, no fitting place for the grandparents of Imperial Charles. Here, in the Cathedral's principal chapel, he had them laid in the year 1525.

The sarcophagus consists of three stages, containing the ornamental motives so characteristic of the best sculpture of the Italian Renaissance. No other form of statuary brought out their skill and genius so fully as a sepulchral monument. Medallions, statues, niches, saints, angels, griffins and garlands are all woven into a magnificent base to receive the recumbent effigies. Apostles and bas-reliefs of scenes from the life of Christ surround the base, while winged griffins break the angles. Above are the four Doctors of the Church, the arms of the Catholic Kings and the proud and simple epitaph, "Mahometicē sectē prostratores et hereticē pervicaciē extinctores: Fernandus Aragonium et Helisabetha Castellē, vir et uxor unanimes, catholici appelati, marmoreo clauduntur tumulo."[22] In tranquil crowned dignity above lie Ferdinand in his mantle of knighthood, his sword clasped over his armored breast, and Isabella with the cross of her country's patron saint. The recumbent figures are extremely fine; the faces, which are portraits, convey all we know of their prototypes' characteristics. Ferdinand's proud, pursed lips whisper his selfish arrogance, his iron will, and the greatness and fulfillment of his dreams. The hard, masterful jaw confirms the character given him by the shrewd French cynic as one of the most thorough egotists who ever sat on a throne, as well as that of his {265}English son-in-law, who knew enough to call him "the wisest king that ever ruled Spain."

Beside Ferdinand sleeps his lion-hearted consort. It is her lofty soul which broods over the sepulchre and heightens the feeling of reverence already inspired by reja and sarcophagus. She is still the brightest star that ever rose in the Spanish firmament and shone in clear radiance above even the lights of Ximenez, of Columbus, or the Great Captain. Her smile is now as cold and her look as placid as moonlight sleeping on snow.

Noble, tender-hearted and true, dauntless, self-sacrificing and faithful, she rose supreme in every relation of life and the great crisis of her people's history. "In all her revelations of Queen or Woman," said Lord Bacon, "she was an honour to her sex, and the corner stone of the greatness of Spain."

Standing before her tomb, on the battlefield of her victorious armies, the clear perspective and calm judgment of four centuries still declare her "of rare qualities,—sweet gentleness, meekness, saint-like, wife-like government, the Queen of earthly queens."{266}






[1] The precedence of Oxford was established by the decree of Constance of 1414.

[2] Ego comes Raimundus una pariter cum uxore mea Orraca filia Adefonsi regis, placuit nobis ut propter amorem Dei et restaurationem ecclesie S. Marie Salamantine sedis et propter animas nostras vel de parentum nostrorum vobis domino Jeronimo pontefici et magistro nostro quatinus saceremus vobis sicut et facimus cartulam donationis vel ut ita decam bonifacti.

[3] Though to the city itself, in which he had been married, he dealt the death-blow when he moved his Court from Toledo to Valladolid and established a bishopric at Valladolid (in 1593), which had previously been subject to Salamanca.

[4] According to Doctor Döllinger, "a faithless and cruel freebooter." As a daring and successful "condottiere," he was dear to his liberty-loving contemporaries, who protested against any encroachments from Rome or curtailment of their civil rights by native rulers.

[5] Married to Alfonso III of Castile.

[6] Cean Bermudez, Noticias de los Arquitectos y Arquitectura de España, vol. i, p. 208.

[7] Avila santos y cantos.

[8] Spain is divided into nine archbishoprics. In Castile are those of Santiago, Burgos, Valladolid, and Toledo; in Aragon, Zaragoza; on the Mediterranean, Taragon and Valencia; and in Andalusia, Seville and Granada.


Ye men so noble and so bright,
Who from your elevated height
Do rule Toledo's avarice,
And govern fear and cowardice.
Of costly bed, the Lord of Hosts
Hath made ye to the corner posts.
Leave private interests behind,
Show truth and justice to mankind,
To common good yourselves do bind.

[10] Poitou, Spain and its People.

[11] The work of Jorge Manuel Theotocopuli, son of the great painter.


Bell of Toledo,
Church of Leon,
Clock of Benavente,
Columns of Villalon.

[13] He is also the sculptor of the marvelous tomb of Cardinal Janera in the hospital of St. John the Baptist at Toledo.

[14] The cost of this reja was 250,000 reales.

[15] "Transparente," really meaning transparent, allowing the passage of light. The composition took its name from the little closed glass or crystal window placed directly back of the altar, and which thus pierced a portion of the decorated wall surface behind the altar.

[16] From William Gallichan's Story of Seville.


He who has not seen Seville,
Has not seen a marvel.

[18] The great astronomical work, performed by that wonder of learning, Alfonso X of Castile, in concert with Arab and Jewish men of science.

[19] Impressions de Voyage, Alexandre Dumas.

[20] Washington Irving's Granada.

[21] Lockhart's Spanish Ballads.

[22] Hare's Queen of Queens.

Notes of the transcriber of this etext:

[a] Probably "A Castilla y a León mundo nuevo dió Colon".

[b] Probably Canon Juan Rodriguez.

[c] Should be Puerta del Reloj.

[d] Probably means Españas.

These corrections have been made:
colonnettes =>       colonettes
Narciso Tome => Narciso Tomé {1}
Vaccaei => Vaccæi {1 index}
Perigueux => Périgueux {1 index}
Baetica => Bætica {1 index}
Baetis => Bætis {1 index}
Dean Blasco Blasques => Dean Blasco Blasquez {1 page 74}
Guadalquiver => Guadalquivir {2 page 197 & 235}
Juan Gil de Houtañon => Juan Gil de Hontañon {1}
Bartolomé of Iaen => Bartolomé of Jaen {1 page 261}
Pellegeria => Pellejeria {1 plan of Burgos Cathedral}
Pintuenga => Pituenga {1 page 69}
Reyos Nuevos => Reyes Nuevos {1 index}
Reyos Catolicos => Reyes Catolicos {1 page 217}
Demetrio de los Reos => Demetrio de los Rios {1 page 96}
Repiso, Virgin del => Reposo, Virgin del {1 index}
Diego de Silhoé => Diego de Siloé {page 48 & index}
Philip Vigarni => Philip Vigarny {page 151, 153, 251, 262 index}
Villalpondo => Villalpando {page 134 & 154}
Ximenes => Ximenez {2 page 265 & index}
Juan de Maedo => Juan de Maeda {1 page 248}
Gayangoz => Gayangos {1 index}
Guaz => Guas {1 page 135}
Maria, de la Incarnacion      => Maria, de la Encarnacion {1 index}
Mugaguren, Juan de => Mogaguren, Juan de {1 index}
Rez, Juan => Res, Juan {1 index}
Rojas, Gonsalo de => Rojas, Gonzalo de {1 index}
Sachetti => Sacchetti {1 index}
Salamantica => Salmantica {1 index}
Vaga, Luis de => Vargas, Luis de {page 195 & index}






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