08-12 El Monestir de Sant Cugat

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I had been able to get to bed early (about 9:30) the night before and I slept most of the night (except when it started to rain and I went out to take the things off the line and close the ends of the tent) so I was awake a little before 6:00. Breakfast etc. and off to just miss the first bus (no problem; I should have eaten with a little more urgency). Then the metro Barcelona Sants. I went to the information wicket.

“Which platform does the train for Sant Cuget del Vallès leave from?” I knew that this would be the crucial information I should have before I decided which train I should take. The lady consulted her computer.

“Platform 7, but you will have to change at C**t***bi**al.”

“Um… could you spell that?”

“One moment, please.” She punched something into her computer and came back with a printed itinerary. The place name I had missed was “Castellbisbal.” I had never heard of it.

Off to the machine to buy my ticket and then to platform 7 and an uneventful trip to Sant Cuget.

There were signs to the monastery so it was easy to get to (and not far.) There was a tourist information office beside it so I went there first and asked the girl if it was possible to walk to the hermitage of Sant Adjutory by foot. Our atlas indicated that it was; she had never heard of it, but soon produced a map of bicycling and walking paths around the region around Sant Cugat and we quickly found it. “What about the Iberian oven?” Again she had never heard of it, but I knew that it was close to Sant Adjutory so it was easy to find on the map.

The Cloister at Sant Cugat

Now to get to the reason for my trip—the cloister at Sant Cugat. We had become aware of Sant Cugat in Sant Pere de Santpedor. The tympanum was carved by Arnau Cadell and we found out that the cloister at Sant Cugat had been carved by the same man. The capitals are superb! As usual I can only give to sample of what they are like:

A Capital in the Cloister of Sant Cugat

A Capital in the Cloister of Sant Cugat

A Capital in the Cloister of Sant Cugat

A Capital in the Cloister of Sant Cugat

On the north-east pillar there is the following inscription (in Latin):

The Inscription in the Cloister of Sant Cugat


which means:

This is the figure of the sculptor Arnau Cadell who carved this entire cloister.

Arneu Cadell’s Inscription and Self-portrait in the Cloister of Sant Cugat

This is remarkable for two reasons: not only do we know the name of the sculptor, was also have his self-portrait, even if it is degraded. Could he have done it? Suppose that it takes 10 days to carve a capital. There are 144 capitals, so that would take 1440 days. Suppose that he worked 300 days per year. This means that it took 1440 divided by 300 or 14.4 divided by 3 which is 4.8 years. He should have been able to do it in less than five years!

I found it interesting that Arnau tends to use rotational symmetry rather than bilateral symmetry.

I didn’t go into the church because there was a funeral. It had just started when I entered the cloister and was over three hours later, but people were still milling around and I didn’t feel comfortable intruding. Besides, it is entirely gothic except the bell tower which I could see from the outside.

By now it was past lunch time, but I was anxious to be off so I ate as I walked. I would guess that it was about three kilometers along a dirt road which would have been a pleasure to cycle on. Oh well…

Sant Adjutory is a circular church, the third which we have seen on our trip. It dates from the tenth to twelfth centuries and does not have an apse.

Sant Adjutory

Nearby is an Iberian oven from the second and first centuries BC. It has a shelter built around it, but unfortunately it has been vandalized—the skylight had been smashed and replaced by a sheet of metal, there were shards of glass around, and it was mostly covered by a tarpaulin. Not worth a picture, but from what I could see (the fire chamber and the outline of the rest under the tarp) it was of a similar size and construction to the other one we saw.

A 230 Year Old Pine outside of Sant Cugat

On the way back I took this picture of a 230 year old pine which they are doing everything they can to keep standing.

I was able to make the train trip to Plaça Catalunya without transferring, and when we arrived there was a train to Terrassa pulling out. That will make things easier when I go there!

1 Response to 08-12 El Monestir de Sant Cugat

  1. Pingback: Blog Directory | The Baileys in Catalunya–Summer, 2012

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