Paintings from Sant Joan de Boí
The Boí valley is one of the regions of the Catalan Pyrenees where the most Romanesque art has been conserved, testimony to the importance of the area during the Middle Ages but also to the subsequent isolation that prevented it from disappearing. The remains of the mural decoration from the church in Boí, the village after which the valley is named, are installed in a space that evokes the church’s architecture, making it possible to place most of the fragments according to their original setting. From the inside of the church, only the paintings from the side aisles, pillars, arches and western wall have been preserved, although the entire church must have been polychromed. Dating to the end of the eleventh century and the beginning of the twelfth, their particular style has little in common with other Catalan groups and is on the other hand linked to the artistic culture of central and southern France. The dynamic nature of the painting or the use of plain colours and well-outlined shapes are similar to the procedures used in the illumination of manuscripts, from where, it also seems, some of the iconographical motifs come.
The paintings preserved from the Church of Sant Joan de Boí reveal a special iconographic programme. A great festive scene with troubadours and tumblers stands out, as it is striking to find a motive of this kind in a religious context, although it may allude to the celebrations of the temple consecration. There is also a great space dedicated to some saints, which the Stoning of Saint Stephen belongs to. On the intradoses of the arches which separate the side aisles, the remains of a monumental bestiary are preserved, which is unparalleled in all the Catalan Romanesque.
Purchased by the Junta de Museus in various removal campaigns, 1923 and 1978