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In Marca Hispanica XXXIV: parts of Vic previously unreached

Illuminated charter in the cloister of the cathedral of Sant Pere de Vic

Illuminated charter in the cloister of the cathedral of Sant Pere de Vic

Despite my sudden swerve into contemporary relevance, the reporting on the blog proper is still sadly thirteen months behind and leaves me still in my favourite Catalan hang-out, the city of Vic, taking photographs. These are all probably photographs I shouldn’t have taken, but I can find duplicates to pretty much all of them already on the web so I figure the damage is done and maybe the publicity is good? After all, you don’t have to want to read the stone to reckon this worth seeing:

The altar stone of Sant Pere de Casserres, set up in front of a reconstruction of the apse of Sant Martí del Brull, with its original fresco artwork, in the Museu Episcopal de Vic

The altar stone of Sant Pere de Casserres, set up in front of a reconstruction of the apse of Sant Martí del Brull, with its original fresco artwork, in the Museu Episcopal de Vic, also visible here

Leaving the Museu Episcopal de Vic otherwise uninfringed, however, this post is mainly about the real episcopal building in the same square, the cathedral of Sant Pere. As you may already know, that is a bit of a hodge-podge architecturally, with everything from Romanesque to baroque visible and the whole joining up in ways you can really only see from above, as this photo from the Enciclopèdia Catalana helpfully makes clear:

Catedral de Sant Pere de Vic from above

Sant Pere de Vic from above

Looking at that, the tower is the only bit above ground that dates to the first phase of the standing building (although there was obviously also a late-ninth-century cathedral here before that, which is partly known archæologically), and it is now the only bit into which I have not at least partly got; it was closed on this occasion because of moisture through the open windows making its steps a safety hazard. But prior to this trip I had not got into the crypt, which is the other bit that goes back to the Romanesque creation of Bishop Oliba, and this I now have.

The crypt of Sant Pere de Vic

It’s quite a pleasant little space despite the closeness of the entire rest of the building above your head; a very similar photo is already on Wikipedia

The columns holding up the vaulting have capitals that apparently belong to the earlier building, which apparently had Andalusi (or ‘caliphal’) style decoration; I would give quite a lot to be able to see it somehow, but this is as close as I’ll get, and it’s at least on site.

Caliphal capital in the crypt of Sant Pere de Vic

Caliphal capital in the crypt of Sant Pere de Vic

The other two spaces we explored in this brief foray round the basically unpopulated building were the ambulatory, that tall polygonal space at the near end of the aerial photograph, and the cloister, the square courtyard to the left. The ambulatory itself is more or less as it seems it would be from that picture, except that it contains this, which is pretty splendid.

Great altarpiece of the cathedral of Sant Pere de Vic

The old great altarpiece, now parked out of the way where you have to pay to see it – but it’s worth it. More or less similar photo and several others already online here.

And then out into the cloister, some of which I’ve shown you before, but which is slowly taking on the aspect of a wild garden around its central statuary.

Cloister and garden of Sant Pere de Vic

Cloister and garden. At what point do the trees start to become a danger to the buildings, I wonder?

Some day the tower! But for now this was a refreshing completion of my knowledge of the place, and it’s nice in some ways that there’s still more to know.

One response to “In Marca Hispanica XXXIV: parts of Vic previously unreached

  1. Pingback: In Marca Hispanica XXXIV: new archæology at l’Esquerda | A Corner of Tenth-Century Europe

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