C A N T A B R I A   U N I V E R S I T Y
Military Architecture
The Gothic.  
    Church of Santa María de la Asunción
(Castro Urdiales)
  During the 13th, 14th and 15th centuries, a new Gothic style rose linked with the urban settlement and development in the coastal villages, which achieved commercial and maritime superiority supported by the privileges granted by the monarchy (fueros of San Vicente de la Barquera, Laredo, Santander and Castro Urdiales). Rural Romanesque architecture remained in the 13th century.

In the first half of the 13th century, the proto-Gothic style appeared, consisting of the use of the groin vault and pointed arch and the end of the Romanesque view of the world. Such a style already appeared in San Emeterio abbey (church of El Cristo), in Santander, where the relics of the patron saints of the village could be found.

Since 1250, the towers of the collegiate church of Santander and the churches of Laredo and Castro Urdiales, and part of the churches of San Vicente de la Barquera and Santoña were being built. The Church of Castro Urdiales is the only one which early corresponds with a classical Gothic typical in towns, suggesting the big French cathedrals. The rest of the churches, which still depended on monasteries and collegiate churches, suggest the Burgundian pattern, derived from the monasterial Gothic, with low height, longitudinal design and square proportions. The monumental sculpture of these buildings, which lack an iconographic planning and with a great deal of bothanical motifs, seems to have been carried out by the stonemasons themselves.

In the 15th century, buildings such as the churches of the convent of San Luis, in San Vicente de la Barquera, and the convent of Santa Catalina, in Monte Corbán, already presented a plan of only one nave, polygonal apse and chapels between flying buttresses.

The Spanish-Flemish Gothic with stellar vaults and a decorative architectural structure, appeared in the first half of the 16th century, in the transept intersection of the churches of Santoña and San Vicente de la Barquera and in the Sanctuary of Nuestra Señora de Fresnedo, in Solorzano.

An important development of the sepulchral sculpture takes place in the Gothic period with sepuchres made from different materials. Some of their features are the reliefs and the coats of arms and they often have the figure of the recumbent corpse. The sepulchre of the Corro family in San Vicente de la Barquera is remarkable, as well as that of Munio González in Castañeda and the tomb statue of Pedro González de Agüero (Diocesan Museum in Santillana del Mar).

Most of the imagery and paintings at that time came from workshops outside the region, the main import centres being Castile and Flanders. The Virgin and Child and the Crucified Christ are the most frequent images as is typical of the Gothic exaltation of the Marian topics and a more human Christ. However, definitely the most significant sculpture is the altarpiece of Nuestra Señora de Belén, in the parish church of Laredo.

Church of Santa María de los Ángeles
(S. Vicente de la Barquera)
Church of Santa María del Puerto
Tomb statue of Pedro González de Agüero
(Santillana del Mar)
A R T I S T I C   H E R I T A G E