Mozarabic Art

During the reign of Alfonso III de Asturias, called “The Great”, the boundaries of the kingdom of Asturias extend up to the Duero river, secured by a series of fortifications like Oporto, Toro, Zamora, Simancas, Dueñas or Burgos. This wide strip of land was repopulated mainly by people that came from the overcrowded north, looking for new spaces and by Mozarabics that were fleeing from the ever increasing problems for Christians in Al Andalus. Two human groups with many points in common that would create a new society and a renewed way of artistic expression where once again the horseshoe arch will be recovered.

Mozarabic Art” is usually used to denominate the set of Christian artistic manifestations that took place in Al Andalus and in the rest of the Iberian Peninsula between the beginnings of the 10th and the middle of the 11th centuries, that include horseshoe arches.

Further Reading: General Description of Mozarabic Art

OT: The Shrine of Santa María de Peñalba, Arnedillo

The shrine of Santa María, located in the ancient village of Peñalba abandoned today, is one of the few Mozarabic buildings that can still be seen in Spain. It served as a parish church for the old village.

The shrine, located in a high near the town of Arnedillo in La Rioja , is built from masonry work, possibly dating from the 10th century. It has two naves in two sections which are joined by means of a central pillar, from which project four semicircular arches, in a design reminiscent of a palm tree.

It also has two apses, one in a horseshoe shape and the other square, which open onto the nave through two Visigothic-style horseshoe arches, framed by Mozarabic moulding.

Presently it is in very bad condition but, to the best of my knowledge, reconstruction works will start very soon.

La ermita de Santa María  se encuentra en la antigua localidad de Peñalba, que en la actualidad se encuentra abandonada, es uno de los pocos edificios mozárabes del periodo artístico Pre-románico que se pueden contemplar en España y ejerció como iglesia parroquial de la antigua población.

La ermita, situada en un alto cerca de la localidad de Arnedillo en la Rioja, es un edificio de mampostería, probablemente del siglo X, cuenta con dos naves de dos tramos que se articulan en torno a un pilar central de cual parten cuatro arcos de medio punto, un diseño que recuerda al de una palmera.

También tiene dos ábsides, uno en forma de herradura y otro cuadrangular, que se abren a la nave mediante dos arcos de herradura de tradición visigótica enmarcados por un alfiz mozárabe.

Actualmente se encuentra en muy mal estado pero, que yo sepa, las obras de reconstrucción comenzarán muy pronto.



View of Arnedillo                                                                       Santa María de Peñalba


Cidacos Valley View from Santa María de Peñalba
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