The work in Tarragona’s Cathedral reveal polychromes dating from the 14th to 16th centuries

The renovation work in Saint Mary’s Cathedral in Tarragona have revealed tens of polychromes on the walls of this temple of transition from Romanesque to Gothic. The grey painting layer that covered the walls of the building concealed these polychromes which date from the 14th to the 16th centuries. The Medieval artworks were mostly painted in shades of red and green. This is the fourth phase of the renovation work that started in 2010 and have cost €3 million, funded by the Spanish Ministry of Culture.

CNA / Laura Quintana

September 17, 2012 10:07 PM

Tarragona (ACN).- Saint Mary’s Cathedral in Tarragona, a temple of transition from Romanesque to Gothic, has a renovated image. Two years of renovation work on the temple’s inside have revealed tens of polychromes on the Cathedral’s walls. These polychromes date from between the 14th and the 16th century and are mainly in reds and greens. They were covered for centuries by a grey painting layer, which has now been removed. The Canon responsible for the artistic and documentary heritage of Tarragona’s Cathedral, Antonio Martínez Subies, has explained that these discoveries prove that the cathedral was fully decorated. This is the fourth phase of the cathedral’s renovation work and has cost €3 million, funded by the Spanish Ministry of Culture. The fifth phase has been put on hold due to the economic crisis.

The renovation work has been finished now after two years and they have shown that the cathedral’s interior follows the trends of antique cultures from Egypt, Persia, Mesopotamia, Greece and Rome. To the discovery of the polychromes, mostly in red and green, has to be added the finding that most of the columns were decorated with artworks that imitate textiles and tapestries.

In addition, the old organ will be substituted with a new one. It is expected that by Christmas there will be a part of the new organ. However it will be fully completed by Easter 2013. This represents an investment of €1.2 million.

However, this fourth phase is not the last one as there is still further restoration work to be done in Saint Mary’s Cathedral in Tarragona. There is no schedule for the fifth phase because of the economic crisis, but it is known that the small church of Santa Tecla, the adjacent old church and the cathedral’s cloister will be restored.

A renewed image of Tarragona’s Cathedral

Saint Mary’s Cathedral in Tarragona is the focus of an ambitious restoration plan, renovating both the outside and the inside of the temple and adjacent structures. The work carried out in the fourth phase of the plan focused on the cleaning and consolidation of the vaults and walls of the building, and the recovery and consolidation of wall paintings and polychromes. Moreover, a new electrical and lighting system has been installed and the temple’s accessibility has been improved. The work has been accompanied by a study of the coatings inside the walls, vaults and architectural elements done by the Department of Historical Heritage of the University of Barcelona (UB).