Cathedral Palma de Mallorca - Spain

Cathedral of Mallorca in Palma de MallorcaThe precise time period for the restoration of the Cathedral of Mallorca was between 1904 and 1914. The then Bishop of Mallorca, Pere Campins Barcelló (1859-1915), came up with idea of restoring his cathedral and on passing through Barcelona on the 18 August, 1901, visited the works of the Temple of the Sagrada Família and had a long exchange of ideas with Antoni Gaudí.

Cathedral of Mallorca main entrance facadeGaudi prepared his project, which along general lines consisted of taking down the Baroque altarpiece from the high altar, along with the rest of the Gothic parts joined to its rear section, leaving in view the Episcopal Chair, work of Bishop Berenguer de Balle which was inaugurated on 1 October 1346, move the choir from the centre of the nave and place it in the presbytery, leave clear the chapel of the Trinity, place new choir stalls and pulpits, decorate the cathedral appropriately with electric lighting, reopen the Gothic windows of the Royal Chapel and give them stained-glass windows, place a large baldachin over the high altar and complete the decoration with paintings, curtains, etc. He also planned the installation of the tombs of the kings of Mallorca, Jaume II and Jaume III, in the chapel of the Trinity.

Gaudi decorations over the main entrance at Cathedral of MallorcaOn the 31 October 1903 Gaudi was in Palma in the company of the architect Joan Rubió Bellver (1870-1952), his main collaborator on this work, with several samples of glass for the stained-glass windows and the full restoration project.

The chronological description of the works begins on the 19 June 1904, the day when Rubió arrived in Palmato start the work, and ends on the day of the Immaculate Conception, the 8 December 1914, in which the first stage of the works was officially opened.

catedral of palma de mallorca rosette lightThe choir has been moved, the Baroque altar moved and installed in a church in the Santa Catalina district, the Gothic altarpiece placed above the Mirador doorway and the Episcopal chair given new importance by surrounding it with phrases from the ritual of bishops, made from gilded iron, as well as ritual of bishops, made from gilded iron, as well as placing the elegant baldachin, the choir stalls and pulpits, still not completely finished.

Interior of palma de mallorca catedralAs well as Joan Rubió, the painter Jaume Llongueras came as a collaborator of Gaudí on this first stage, which is the best documented and most well-known. From 1905 the enthusiasm of the Chapter for the restoration gradually waned until in spring 1914 Gaudí abandoned the work, which had been left unfinished. Suffice to say that the baldachin is provisional and he had been expecting to make in iron what now is only wood and cardboard.

Baldachin in Cathedral of MallorcaBetween  1905 and 1914 Gaudi tried to continue with the works and to do this he managed to obtain the cooperation of such important artists as the sculptor from Igualada  Vincenç Vilarrubias Valls, the Uruguayan painter Joaquín Torres García (1875-1949), the painter Ivo Pascual Rodés (1883-1949), the already mentioned Jaume Llongueras Badía and finally the highly individualistic Josep Maria Jujol Gibert (1879-1949), distinguished architect, painter and chromatist. Between 1907 and 1908 Torres, Pascual and Llongueras composed the stained-glass windows for Palma in the workshop of the Sagrada Família in Barcelona. Jujol painted the choir stalls based on stains and gilts with almost illegible inscriptions, of a really impressive strength. The effect is marvelous, but did not convince the members of the Chapter who were shocked by this surge of colour and form emphasized by the gold.

The good canons of Mallorca were shocked and feared that it thei gave Gaudí and Jujol free reign they would end up by polychroming the entire cathedral.

Gaudí did not only concern himself with the architecture and decoration, but also the furnishing and liturgical objects. He designed the high altar using some Gothic angels. He made the handrail of the presbytery and the foldaway staircase to it. He designed the ciborium, the tintinabulum and other objects, many of which are kept in the Diocesan Museum.

rosette in mallorca cathedral by gaudi

Text source: Gaudi The Entire Works

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