The Exuberant Late Gothic Cathedral of Barbastro
The ancient Brutina, named after Decius Brutus had built the City, was the seat of a bishopric that, in the middle of the 12th century, was transferred to Lerida and finally re-established in Barbastro in 1571. The cathedral, erected by Barazal, from 1500 to 1533, replacing the former edifice built in 1100, belongs to the late Aragonese Gothic Style; its elegance and lightness are fascinating.
The tall and slim fasciculate columns are formed by colonnettes with capitals resembling simple rings adorned with angels and foliage. They divide the cathedral into three naves of four bays each with an equal height. The sumptuous star-shaped ribs are richly decorated with polychromatic wooden keystones, as in many Aragonese churches. The polygonal apses and choir vaults are in the same style with sumptuous lierne ribs and tiercerons. Several chapels, some of which belonging to the early plan, were installed laterally between the buttresses. This is a construction with a great unity and an absolutely Aragonese character, that can be compared with the cathedral of Saragossa, though it was built years before. The Baroque portal in the Chapel of San Carlo Borromeo is stunning and the cupola in the Chapel of San José is very intricately carved. At a later date, several chapels were adorned in the Churrigueresque Style. The main altar, in the choir, was decorated with a magnificent reredos whose alabaster predella was sculpted by Damian Forment, the great artist of the Renaissance. One of his disciples achieved this predella in 1560. The stalls in the choir are in the Renaissance Style and date back to the late 16th century.
If the main façade does not present a huge interest, the lateral side is an elegant Plateresque piece. A hexagonal tower flanks the cathedral; built at an earlier date, it certainly was part of the former mosque. The edifice had been set on fire by the troops of Du Guesclin in 1366.
Barbastro Cathedral, Spain.
Star-shaped Gothic vaults, tall and slim fasciculate columns in Barbastro Cathedral.
Lierne ribs and tiercerons in the choir, Barbastro Cathedral.
Keystones of the star-shaped Gothic vaults at Barbastro Cathedral.
Intricately carved cupola in the Chapel of San José, Barbastro Cathedral.
Baroque reredos in the Chapel of San José, Barbastro Cathedral.
Baroque portal in the Chapel of San Carlo Borromeo, Barbastro Cathedral.
Exuberant portal in the "Capilla del Santo Cristo de los milagos", Barbastro cathedral.
Renaissance main altar in the choir by Damian Forment, Cathedral of Barbastro.