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English reflections? The wall paintings of the chapel of St Martin in the Old Cathedral of Salamanca (1262)

Ordinary Meeting of Fellows (Fellows and Guests Only)

by Fernado Gutiérrez Baños


Capilla De San Martín 01

The Old Cathedral of the much-acclaimed city of Salamanca, in Western Spain, hosts one of the most important ensembles of Gothic wall paintings in the whole Iberian Peninsula, ranging from the 13th to the 15th centuries. Those in the chapel of St Martin were signed and dated by a certain Antón Sánchez de Segovia in 1262. They are the subject of great controversy, as their modern and sophisticated style questions their date and position in the development of European Gothic painting.

Gutiérrez Baños's thesis is that their date is accurate, and that their extraordinary features are a reflection of the English court milieu of the mid-thirteenth century, a reflection possible for the recorded presence in Castile in 1256-57 of Peter of Spain, a leading painter in the service of King Henry III. Beyond their style, their iconography will also be discussed. Research for this lecture was carried out some years ago at both the Public Record Office and the Society of Antiquaries of London. Further research was done at the Warburg Institute (London) and at the Index of Christian Art (Princeton).