C A N T A B R I A   U N I V E R S I T Y
Military Architecture
The Romanesque.  
    Collegiate of San Martín de Elines   In the 11th and 12th centuries, Cantabria was not isolated from the spread of the Romanesque through the paths and ways of pilgrimage (Jacobean routes). Therefore, the traditional connections with the Meseta became ways of introducing the language of art, which explains a Romanesque in Cantabria influenced by Burgos and Palencia, and located in three areas: the Besaya watershed, the Pas-Trasmiera eastern valleys and the southern part of the region.

The development of this art is linked with the economic and jurisdictional power of monasteries, as well as with the scope of its domain. These monasteries, some of them turned into collegiate churches, used the Romanesque to renovate their factories.

By the second half of the 12th century, a rather rough early Romanesque appears in Cantabria in its little articulated architecture of plain plans and hardly any monumental sculpture, as shown in the church of San Julián de Bustasur.

Since 1150, the most remarkable an complete Romanesque group was already being built: the four collegiate churches of Santa Juliana in Santillana del Mar, San Martín de Elines, Santa Cruz de Castañeda (Socobio)and San Pedro de Cervatos. The influence from Burgos can be appreciated in all of them in the suitable arrangement of the space and the distribution of the frontispieces, as well as in their apses arranged arcades and the dome on squinch arches and pendentives. Outside, there are cimborrios and cylindrical or polygonal towers, which contribute to the contrast of volumes. All these features also appear in churches such as Santa María de Bareyo.

The monumental sculpture of the collegiate churches shows a rich iconography. The brackets and capitals are the elements preferred to depict the vices and virtues (San Pedro de Cervatos), biblical scenes and the struggle between good and evil (San Martín de Elines). In the collegiate church of Santa Juliana, the capitals in the cloister and many reliefs on its disappeared western frontispiece constitute the best sample of a style inspired in Santo Domingo de Silos.

The influence both from Burgos and Palencia can be appreciated in buildings such as Santa María de Yermo and Santa María de Piasca, which present a rich narrative sculpture about evangelic scenes of a great technical and ichnographic quality not only on capitals and corbel but also on tympani and archivolts on the frontispieces.

Collegiate of Santa Cruz de Castañeda
Collegiate of Santa Juliana
Collegiate of San Pedro de Cervatos
Frontispiece of Santa María de Yermo
Western frontispiece of Santa María de Piasca
A R T I S T I C   H E R I T A G E