The restoration works of the arches of the cloister of San Juan de la Peña have been completed


Result of the intervention in San Juan de la Peña.

The General Directorate of Cultural Heritage of the Government of Aragon has invested almost 72,000 euros in the restoration works of the arches of the cloister of San Juan de la Peña, which has just been completed after four months of intervention. In this way, the Regional Executive reaffirms its commitment to the recovery of the royal pantheons of Aragon, around which it wants to create a tourist route to enhance them.

The intervention, which was supervised by the technicians of the general management, focused on the recovery and conservation of the stone complex; recovery in terms of the removal of superimposed materials that have damaged, concealed or disfigured the surface of the arches, and conservation in terms of restoring the ideal physical characteristics of the materials through the use of techniques and treatments that have provided consolidation, l adhesion and fixation necessary to ensure its durability in the future by meeting the requirements of reversibility, discernibility, compatibility and stability.

Works on the arches of the cloister of San Juan de la Peña

Once the necessary auxiliary means had been installed, the work began with the mechanical removal of the cement grout, the spot removal of the soluble salts, the debiotization, the superficial cleaning of the entire surface of the stone and the repetition of the tests and cleaning and consolidation tests experienced in the project phase. Several samples were also extracted for analysis.

The consolidation, after the corresponding tests, was carried out with lime water and the cleaning, always very punctual and controlled, was carried out with laser technology.

All this has been completed with an important and delicate work of sealing the edges of the interstices, scales and displacements in serious danger of detachment, and filling of the joints, cracks and cracks, in order to prevent the entry of water as much as possible, well by capillarity or by condensation in the heart of the stone.

The upper protection of the wooden arch was dismantled and its restoration continued, which, in summary, consisted of cleaning, disinsection, consolidation, application of grafts, final protection and subsequent assembly at its original location, correcting the deformation which allowed water penetration at certain points of the stone support.

The action in the archery complex was completed with the punctual intervention of cleaning and consolidation of four tents

The action in the archery complex was completed by the specific intervention of cleaning and consolidation of four capitals preserved in the museum and coming from the cloister itself.

All these actions have led to an important work of documentation, as well as various studies of materials and tests, which will serve to maintain and preserve this asset belonging to the Government of Aragon. In addition, a poster and a video with images of the entire intervention process were also produced.

The performances were financed by the European funds Next Generation EU

The actions have been financed by the Next Generation EU European fund, from the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan of the Spanish Government, whose Actions Project for the Conservation, Restoration and Valorization of Cultural Heritage is framed.

Precisely because of its location in the open air and, consequently, of its exposure to the climatic conditions of the region and to the natural aging of the stone support, the cloister presented an unequal state of conservation (the north gallery is the most degraded ) and has been exposed to slow but active deterioration.

In 2019, the General Directorate of Cultural Heritage of the Government of Aragon already intervened urgently in eighteen capitals of this monastery, a site of cultural interest (former national monument since 1889). Previously, it had undergone two major restorations during the 20th century (one in 1934 and another in 1999).

Result of the intervention in San Juan de la Peña
Result of the intervention in San Juan de la Peña.

Monastery of San Juan de la Pena

San Juan de la Peña is one of the most emblematic monasteries in Aragon, built in successive phases from a pre-Romanesque nucleus from the beginning of the 10th century, which could have served as a refuge for hermits or accommodated a small monastic community . The so-called low church, carved into the rock and decorated with Romanesque murals, is preserved from this period. Already in the 11th century, a moment of splendor for the monastery after becoming dependent on the Cluniac order, they seem to be the extension of the naves of the lower church, as well as the construction of the so-called council hall and the royal necropolis, where buried some of the first Aragonese monarchs.

This monument, whose walls have been considered by tradition as a witness to the origins of the Kingdom of Aragon, was a regular stop on the French route of the Camino de Santiago and a place of legends, among which the one that connects this region to the Holy Grail stands out. .

the cloister

Specifically, the cloister, due to its great historical and artistic interest, has been one of the most studied spaces of the monastery and the subject of numerous publications and intense historiographical debates. The most accepted option today is that a first phase be executed at the beginning of the 12th century, the work of an unidentified master or workshop, which would be the author of the capitals with intertwined vegetable representations and fantastic animals facing each other. And a second phase from the end of the 12th century (or even the beginning of the 13th century), which would correspond to the so-called Master of Agüero or San Juan de la Peña, whose workshop gave the capitals characterized by the presence of came out expressive, almond-eyed, voluminous figures and draperies with very marked folds through wide concentric incisions.

In addition, in these capitals are a series of themes and iconographic details that are repeated in the prolific work of this workshop, distributed throughout the western part of the province of Huesca, the Cinco Villas of Zaragoza and even Navarre, which define his personality artistic work.

It is a rectangular Romanesque cloister with approximately dimensions of 16 x 10 m on each side, which currently only retains the arches of two of its facades (north and west), while the other two arches have almost disappeared in their entirety after the aforementioned fire. , being now the place where some capitals, wells and bases recovered and placed arbitrarily are located.

royal pantheons

The actions in San Juan de la Peña are part of the support policy that the Government of Aragon is carrying out for the recovery of the Royal Pantheons of the Autonomous Community, around which it wants to create a tourist route that enhances these heritage enclaves.

In this sense, the Government of Aragon is making a great economic effort to recover this heritage. Since 2016, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports has invested two million euros in the royal pantheons, which will increase to 4.9 million euros at the end of the legislature and the actions carried out in Sijena , San Juan de la Peña and San Victorian, as well as the important works carried out in San Pedro el Viejo.

To them come the 1.2 million euros that the Ministry of Culture will allocate to the consolidation and rehabilitation of the castle of Montearagón.

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