|Cathedral of Saint Peter the Apostle of Jaca
Catedral de San Pedro Apóstol
Side entrance of the Cathedral of Jaca
|Ecclesiastical or organizational status||Cathedral|
|Heritage designation||Bien de Interés Cultural|
It is the first Romanesque cathedral built in Aragon (1070s-early 12th century) and one of the oldest in the Iberian peninsula. Its current appearance is the result of later additions and modifications introduced especially in modern times (late 15th-late 18th centuries). The cathedral was erected by will of King Sancho Ramírez, who, after renovating in Rome his vassal oath to the Pope (1068), had obtained by the latter the right to establish the episcopal seat in Jaca, then capital of the Kingdom of Aragon.
After Jaca became the capital of Aragon (1036), the city obtained the status of episcopal see in 1077. This made the construction of a cathedral church necessary. The starting date of the construction is unknown, but it is generally set at around that date. The main section of the church was completed around 1130. In 1395 a fire destroyed the cathedral's ceiling, which was rebuilt in the following years and was substantially renovated in the early 16th century. In the same period the aisles were added and the central nave was enlarged. In Baroque times were the St. Horosia Chapel, the loggia and the cloister, while the interior received an altarpiece and other decorations.
In the late 18th century one of the apses was demolished and rebuilt, and the central one was renovated.
The cathedral has a generally Romanesque structure, although several elements are in Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque style. The plan is on a nave and two aisles, with three apses and two external portals, both provided with loggias (one of which in Renaissance style). Only one of the current apses is original. Of the other two, the central one was renovated in the 18th century, and the other one rebuilt in the same age.
The nave and the aisles are separated by arcades supported by piers which are alternatively cruciform and cylindrical in plan, an element inspired to contemporary French structures. The capitals of the piers, in Corinthian style, have decorative motifs with vegetables and geometrical shapes. The ceiling was originally in wood: in modern times it was replaced by cross vaults. The large dome at the crossing is octagonal. On the four sides are several chapels built in the late 15th century-mid 17th century. The earlier ones (those dedicated to the Holy Cross and to St. Augustine) have late Gothic lines, those designed in the 16th century (St. Michael and St. Jerome, for example) show late Renaissance and Mannerist influences; the chapel of St. Horosia, totally remade in the 18th century, is in Baroque style.
Artworks in the interior include the altarpiece of the St. Michael Chapel, sculpted by Gil Morales the Younger, Gabriel Yoli, Juan de Salas and the Florentine Giovanni de Moreto (or Moretto). The latter also directed the construction of the Chapel, which is considered amongst the finest examples of the Renaissance-Plateresque architecture in Aragon. The altarpiece of the high altar was finished in the early 17th century. The decoration of the central apse was painted by Manuel Bayeu, brother-in-law of Francisco Goya, in 1792-1793.
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- Bartal, Ruth (1987). "The Survival of Early Christian Symbols in 12th Century Spain". Principe de Viana (48): 299–315.
- Moralejo Alvarez, Serafín (1979). "La sculpture romane de la cathédrale de Jaca. État des questions". Les Cahiers de Saint-Michel de Cuxa (10): 79–106.
- Page at jaca.com (Spanish)
- Adolph-Goldschmidt-Zentrum zur Erforschung der romanischen Skulptur. "San Pedro de Jaca" (in German). Retrieved 28 November 2010.
- Adolph-Goldschmidt-Zentrum zur Erforschung der romanischen Skulptur. "Bibliographical references about San Pedro de Jaca" (in German). Retrieved 28 November 2010.
- The Art of medieval Spain, A.D. 500-1200, an exhibition catalog from The Metropolitan Museum of Art Libraries (fully available online as PDF), which contains material on Jaca Cathedral (no. 88)