A STONE SELFIE.
You may have heard the saying “if these walls could talk”, which is used for saying that many interesting things have happened in a room or building. Well, thanks to the amazing work of dedicated historians and scholars, the walls of Santiago’s impressive cathedral are starting to share their story.
In particular, Dr Jenny Alexander from the University of Warwick has done a great work uncovering the secrets of the cathedral walls. Dr Alexander has a background in art history and archaeology and specialises in the history of masons’ marks. She is absolutely overflowing with incredible knowledge about the art and architecture of medieval and early modern buildings, their construction and their use.
According to her research on the Santiago de Compostela cathedral many of the stones, especially those in the columns and arches that hold up the cathedral’s domed roof, have masons’ marks on them. As Dr Alexander describes, these marks were used for a few different purposes. For example, they could be used to calculate how much work each stonemason had done, so he could be paid for the stones he had carved. They were also used for a period of time as a way of ensuring that all the correct pieces were assembled together.
The marks begin to tell the story of the stonemasons who built the cathedral. In one case, an even more interesting find gives us more than a story. It gives us a face. High up at the top of one of the columns, nestled in the detail of the carving, is a smiling man. It is believed that this is a cheeky self-portrait of one of the masons! This stone ‘selfie’ brings the story of the stonemasons to life, showing that they were people just like us, with a bit of creativity and humour.
Article by followthecamino.
And remember, whichever way you choose to get to the Cathedral and see this selfie,, you can always pass by HOSTAL GAU TXORI: comfortable accommodation, nice and traditional food and wonderful natural landscapes as you pass by Zubiri.