PRESENTATION: Medieval Valencian Gothic Architecture * Sacred and Civil

Valencian Gothic architecture is an artistic style with its own characteristics. It can only be called Gothic by convention and chronology because it didn't develop with the same constructive techniques nor participate in the same aesthetic assumptions.


It was developed during the 14th century and reached its maturity and maximum expression in the 15th century. It occurred in the Kingdom of Valencia, held by the crown of Aragon, born out of conquered Muslim territory.

After the conquest, the Valenician kingdom was left out of political problems of the Crown and hence flourished in agriculture, craftsmanship and trade commercialism aided by its easy access to the Mediterranean and an expert submissive Moorish workforce.



Throughout the fifteenth century, urban and rural growth was supported by influential people determined to promote their wealth with sacred and civil grandeur. King Alfonso V and the family of Rodrigo de Borja, then Pope Alejandro VI, were eager to advance the Valencian Gothic style.

Valencian Gothic architecture developed and grew based on existing Mediterranean constructive systems and architectural arrangements already used by the Romans and Arabs rather than adopt the novel architectural styles from northern France.

The goal of this Spain Lifestyle presentation is to explore this evolution and marvel at the architectural structures that still survive today.

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TEULADA CELEBRATES THE SACRED IN FORTIFIED BAROQUE AND ICONIC ART

The Hermitage of San Vicente Ferrer is a sacred, solid seaside shelter located near the main entrance to the village of Teulada. It is one of the many regional sacred structures that in the 18th century benefited from Juan de Ribera's era of Catholic temple refresh during the religious climate of the Counter-Reformation.

Unlike other sacred structures built on Roman or Arab temple foundations, this hermitage was built from the ground up around 1767.


REPORT BY: Karla Darocas, Hons. B.A. Fine Arts (www.KarlaDarocas.com)

The Hermitage of San Vicente Ferrer is perfectly symmetrical. It has a white plastered, south facing façade with a square "tosca" or sandstone portal. The door is a fortified tin with geometric patterns suggesting the cross between the Herrerian style squares and rectangles and the Baroque oval. There are fortified windows on each side of the door. 

Above the door is a rectangular window for light to the choir with a leaded image of the patron saint, but not coloured glass as was the basic norm for this type of Baroque security sanctuary.  Above this is a round oculus, again typical to this type of  Baroque period shelter. 

Down the sides are tosca quoins, large rectangular blocks of masonry built into the corners used as a load-bearing feature to provide strength and weather protection, but also for aesthetic purposes to add detail and accentuate the outside corners of a building.



It is topped by a marvelous sandstone curvilinear parapet with two ascending curvatures on each side.  Decorative finials reach up to the sky, two matching balls and two shells, the symbol of Mary. They converge in a Mallorcan style bell-gable steeple, crowned by three ball-shaped decorative ornamental finials.


From the side, you can spot two buttresses reinforcing the walls. One is plastered but the other shows its masonry of sillar stone.

The roof has a covered dome made from fired clay tiles, blue, green and white.


On the grounds of the hermitage is a stone sculpture made in 1973 called "el despertar" eng. "the awakening". This statue is the work of Francisco Espinós Teuladino, an important sculptor whh has been awarded several national sculpture prizes.


SAN VICENTE FERRER

Vicente Ferrer (1350 – 1419) was a Valencian Dominican friar. He was canonized by Pope Calixtus III on 3 June 1455.

The Hermitage of San Vicente Ferrer shows its patron in a devotional painting on tiles that is displayed on the front of the temple. Ferrer is represented with his Dominican habit and haircut, holding his bible with a Dominican lily plant growing on top. Graced with a gold halo, the banner flies with a phrase from Revelation 14:7, TIMETE DEUM ET DATE ILLI HONOREM, "Fear God and Give Him Honor".


In the landscape is the hermitage on the left and the 1895 octagonal bell tower of the parish church of Santa Catalina Mártir. It is framed with tosca columns, Roman doric capitals and triangular pediment, representing classical Roman style.

The citizens of Teulada hold a special attachment to San Vicente Ferrer and their devotion was behind the erection of this temple. According to traditional legends, Ferrer traveled to Teulada in early the 1400's to visit his sister Constança Ferrer, who lived in the center of the village.

In fact, the home of Constança Ferrer still stands. It is now a museum of devotional art, a collection with about 300 iconographic pieces of her brother San Vicente Ferrer, like plates, paintings and tiles.


REPORT BY: Karla Darocas, Hons. B.A. Fine Arts (www.KarlaDarocas.com)

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MARINA ALTA REGIONAL HERITAGE REWARDS RAISINS

The Marina Alta region, especially the coastal village of Jávea/Xàbia, has its 20th century heritage wrapped up in raisins. Not just any raisins, but the succulent Sultana raisins made from the marvelous muscatel grapes, which brought fame and wealth to the industrious villagers.

Within the Soler Blasco Archaeological and Ethnographic Museum are an important series of artworks by Soler Blasco that immortalize traditional trades, fiestas and legends. One of these impressionistic paintings showcases the process of blanching and drying of grapes to make raisins. 



REPORT BY: Karla Darocas, Hons. B.A. (www.KarlaDarocas.com)

Xàbia artist, teacher and resident Soler Blasco (1920-1984) became an important local figure because he was the mayor from 1974 to 1979. He was also involved in great cultural projects such as the creation of an archaeological museum and the Municipal Public Library.

Blanching accelerated the drying process. It all started with lighting the oven or fire, "el fogater", then filling a pot with water, herbs, caustic soda and bringing it to a boil. Then the grapes were tossed into the pot for a good 15 minute boil, then spooned out onto a drying mat.

In the back of this painting by Soler Blasco you can see the landmark mountain named "Montgo" and a white building with a "Riurau". During the 19th and 20th centuries, Riuraus flooded the the entire Marina Alta rural landscape. These unique Roman arched constructions were used to dry the raisins when it rained.

BRIEF HISTORY

The technique of blanching grapes goes back two millennia. In the writings of Julius Moderatus Columella, a prominent scholar on agriculture in the Roman empire, he describes 'l'escaldà' ". This information comes from Josep Antoni Gisbert, the archaeologist and director of Denia's  Ethnological Museum.

The oldest documented sources relating to the production of raisins in the Valencian territory date back to the second half of the 15th century. In the Marina Alta, there is evidence of the production dated 1476, whereby Valencian merchants wrote out billing contracts with Morisco farmers who lived in Dénia, Xàbia, Xaló, Pedreguer and Ondara, for their supply of raisins.

After the expulsion of the Moors and Moriscos in 1609, the grape production disappeared and so did the raisins because the Christians did not know the procedure.

It was actually because of travelers to the Marina Alta and La Safor regions in 1800's who prompted the production of raisins again, especially the English Navy who wanted raisins to combat scurvy and other diseases because of poor diet, but also the miners and textile factory workers wanted raisins to keep in their pockets to fight fatigue.

HERITAGE FESTIVAL

Each year, the celebration of the "Escaldá de la Pasa" takes place in the village of Jesus Pobre on the last morning of August. The villagers keep their heritage alive by recreating the process of making raisins via blanching. The ritual lasts all morning and ends with traditional dances.


REPORT BY: Karla Darocas, Hons. B.A. Fine Arts (www.KarlaDarocas.com)

Register to be invited to Karla's classes, field trips, films, photowalks, lunches and guest speakers
... 

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***