IMC 2012: Sessions

Session 803: The Carved Cathedral: From Top to Bottom

Tuesday 10 July 2012, 16.30-18.00

Moderator/Chair:Julian Gardner, Department of the History of Art, University of Warwick
Paper 803-aJoan Claperós: A Young Sculptor in Barcelona
(Language: English)
Montserrat Jardí Anguera, Universitat de Barcelona
Index terms: Art History - Sculpture, Local History
Paper 803-bSitting on the Rule: The Monk, the Misericord, and the Choir
(Language: English)
Paulette Barton, Department of Modern Languages & Classics / Department of History, University of Maine
Index terms: Art History - General, Ecclesiastical History, Monasticism, Religious Life

Paper -a:
The aim of this paper is to show an artistic consolidation process of a very young sculptor, which represents an exceptional case that should be considered. We want to stand up the importance of family workshops in the training of young sculptors.
El llibre de l’Obra de la catedral de Barcelona, (The work book of Barcelona cathedral) has been the primary source consulted. This record, written in medieval Catalan, shows us all daily payments from the cathedral’s construction to the workers, and even to the sculptors. Among 1442 and 1463, works took place at the cloister, specifically in the fountain, the door at the end of the principal nave of the church, the chapter house and the choir. At the end of the 15th century, the Barcelona gothic cathedral was almost completed.
Maybe Antoni Claperós began to work at the cathedral in 1422 helping with the dome construction and almost twenty years later the records tell us about weekly payments for systematic works made in the cloister, carving stones and especially carving historians capitals. Antoni Claperós worked with Pere Oller, a consolidated ‘imaginaries’ who had carved among 1420 and 1428 the magnificent alabaster altarpiece for Vic church close to Barcelona devoted to St Peter.
We wish to emphasize than Antoni Claperós and Pere Oller didn’t work together. Usually they worked at the cloister alternated weeks, we have to understand they worked in association. Antoni Claperós received five salaries per day and Pere Oller four and half salaries for the similar period.
In 1448 the carved works were concentrated at the fountain at the cloister where we stand out the keystone depicting St. George and the Princess (1449), currently preserved in situ. During weeks spent in this place by the carver masters, Joan Claperós, the Antoni Claperós’s soon, began to work. The fountain and specifically the keystone carved works offered the opportunity Antoni Claperós to introduce his soon to the cathedral chapter. Joan Claperós, a teenager, knew how to take advantage of this and showed them how skilled he was.
El llibre de l’Obra de la catedral de Barcelona tells us about the place where the works happened and it tells us too about the sculptors names but payments are extremely simple and we can not distinguish what exactly everyone made. First of all Antoni Claperós and Pere Oller worked together and later Joan Claperós helped his father.
Maybe the most interesting about Joan Claperós’ beginning is his salary. During the first few weeks he worked free. After that he began to earn six diners per day (one salary has twelve diners), later eight diners per day and three months later Joan Claperós earned three salaries per day and few months later he began to earn three salaries and six diners per day. Thanks to a preserved record from Girona Cathedral Archive, we know when Joan Claperós worked on the keystone depicting St.Gorge and the Princes, he was a teenager.
When works at the fountain were finished, works moved to the chapter house where Joan Claperós had such an important responsibility and he was recognized as a mestre d’obra (teacher work). Joan Claperós was nineteen years old when Barcelona chapter house was finished in 1455. Later the Claperós family moved to Girona for work at the cathedral apostles portal.

Paper -b:
The misericord images found under the lips of seats in a choir stall usually have a secular theme – real or imagined. The carvings, like the drawings in an illuminated manuscript, are in modern terms marginalia. Images within a frame – the stall and the page. In this paper I will discuss the role of the misericord images in both breaking and reinforcing the Rule of the community. The choir stalls are placed in the sacred space before the high altar and behind the choir screen. This placement brings the images before the community in God’s presence allowing the members of the community access to images not related to the Rule, sanctioning the breaking of the Rule while reinforcing it at the same time.