Cathedral of Solsona
There is evidence of a pre-Romanesque temple dating 977. the Romanesque church was consecrated in 1070 and it is stated that it was “a most famous temple in the entire world”. From this time the three apses, the bell tower, some pieces from the cloister, the cellar and the canons’ dining hall, (these days used for different events) have been preserved.
The cathedral today is Gothic and it was begun at the end of the 13th century and finished in the 17th century and finished in the 17th century. On the left of the transept there is the chapel of Mercè with a Baroque altar from the artist Carles Morató. On the right there is the venerated image of la Marededéu del Claustre from the 12th century and catalogued as one of the most important Catalan Romanesque sculptures.
It is easy to imagine the upheaval that the creation of a bishopric in Solsona in 1593 meant for the beautiful medieval Collegiate Church of Santa Maria, which was now to become a cathedral, particularly in regard to renewal of ornamental elements and the making of new altarpieces.
The high altar (dedicated to the Virgin Mary)
The high altar dedicated to the Virgin Mary was commissioned from the Majorcan sculptor Miquel Vidal (1634), but it was not completed, except for six large panels sculpted in low relief from the predella, which are conserved in the Solsona Diocesan and Regional Museum. Nor does anything remain of the second high altar, commissioned from Jacint Morató in 1730: the dreadful fire caused by Napoleon’s troops in 1810 destroyed it along with many other works. Following this disaster a new high altar was made (1854-1856), the third. However, it was short-lived, as it too was burnt during the Spanish Civil War. Fortunately, six of eight paintings by the distinguished Nazarene artist Claudi Lorenzale survived.
The Chapel of Our Lady of Mercy and the sacristy furnishings (two baroque works that survived the fire of 1810 and the Spanish Civil War)
Only two sets of works from the modern period escaped the fire of 1810 and the later ravages of the Spanish Civil War on the cathedral. These are the Chapel of Our Lady of Mercy and the walnut cupboard and drawers in the canons’ sacristy. The first contains the dynamic altarpiece sculpted around 1750 by Carles Morató, although the sculptural elements were lost. The sacristy holds a beautiful cupboard with painted doors and the reliquary busts of Saint Victoria and Saint Secunda, of fine quality. Unfortunately, the artist is unknown. However we do know that the author of the colourful doors of the reliquary cupboard was Antoni Bordons.
The Chapel of Our Lady of the Cloister
The Chapel of Our Lady of the Cloister (1727-1776), designed to house the prized Romanesque carving, was destroyed on several occasions. Its complex construction, which was also to have an altarpiece and mural paintings, was commissioned from Jacint and Carles Morató—who worked in collaboration with sculptor Josep Sunyer i Raurell. It disappeared due to damage incurred in 1810, 1822 and 1936, but from old descriptions one gathers that it must have been a most impressive example of Catalan Baroque.
Other noteworthy elements from the modern period
Elements that should not escape our notice are the modest baroque reredos at the foot of the nave, the work of Isidre Clusa, classical in style and decorated with naive reliefs showing from the life of Saint Martin, originally from the Church of Sant Martí de Riner, although it is disconcerting to see it now topped by a Saint Michael; and the fine groups of sculptures decorating the cathedral’s late eighteenth-century facades, with representations of ‘The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary’ (1768) and ‘The Ecstasy of Saint Augustine’ (1780).
From Mondays to Saturdays: 9 h to 13 h and 16 h to 20 h
Sundays and public holidays: 9 h to 13 h and 16 h to 18 h
More information: http://solsonaturisme.com/en/imprescindible/cathedral/
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