Paintings from Sant Climent de Taüll
The decoration from the central apse of Sant Climent in Taüll is the best-known and most emblematic work in the Museu Nacional. It is also a masterpiece of European Romanesque art. The figure of Christ in Majesty, solemn and powerful, is a perfect archetype of many stylistic traits that are traditionally associated with Romanesque art, such as anti-naturalism, monumentality, ornamental exuberance or the tendency to geometric shapes and abstraction. At Taüll we can see the precise hand of a brilliant painter, with great personality, who applies certain technical formulae to the mural decoration that are habitual in the panel painting of the time, like the accentuation of the profiles or the creation of volumes from the gradation of the hues. The inscription painted on the column tells of the church’s consecration by Bishop Ramon de Roda in 1123, and the paintings must have been done close to this date. The crude decoration of the angels in the small apse at the side is obviously the work of a different workshop, also in evidence at the neighbouring church of Santa Maria.
Compared to the simplicity of the architecture of Sant Climent de Taüll, the interior decoration is brilliant in its execution and of the highest quality. The apse is particularly one of the masterpieces of the Romanesque art. Its iconography is an epitome of the most characteristic Catalan Romanesque, combining the representation of Christ in Majesty in the upper side, the apostles and Mother of God in the central register, and a drape painted at the bottom of the mural painting. The museum also preserves the paintings from the triumphal arches, with medallions with the Hand of God (Dextera Domini) and the Lamb of God (Agnus Dei), and an image of the poor beggar Lazarus on the left. Some original decoration, especially from the presbytery, remains in the church at Taüll.
Totals: 770 x 434 x 447 cm
Purchased by the Junta de Museus in the 1919-1923 campaign