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 have just finished after four months of intervention. Thus, the Regional Executive reaffirms its commitment to the recovery of the royal pantheons of Aragon, around which you want to create a tourist route to enhance them.
The intervention, supervised by the technicians of the general management, focused on the recovery and conservation of the stone complex; salvage 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 provided necessary consolidation, adhesion and fixation to ensure its sustainability in the future, by meeting the requirements of reversibility, discernibility, compatibility and stability.
Once the necessary auxiliary means have been installed, the work began with the mechanical removal of the cement grout, the punctual elimination of soluble salts, debiotization, superficial cleaning of the entire surface of the stone and the repetition of the tests and tests of cleaning and consolidation 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 of this was complemented by an important and delicate work of sealing the edges of interstices, scales and displacements in serious danger of detachmentand filling of joints, fissures and cracks, in order to avoid the entry of water as much as possible, either by capillarity or by condensation in the heart of the stone.
The upper protection of the wooden arcade was dismantled and its restoration continued, which basically consisted of cleaning, disinsectization, consolidation, application of grafts, final protection and subsequent assembly to its original location, correcting the deformation that allowed water to penetrate at certain points of the stone support.
Performance in eThe set of arches was completed with the specific intervention of cleaning and consolidation of four capitals preserved in the museum and coming from the cloister itself.
All these actions were accompanied important documentation work, as well as various studies of materials and tests, which will serve to maintain and preserve this property belonging to the Government of Aragon. In addition, a poster and a video with images of the entire intervention process were also produced.
The actions were financed with European funds Next Generation EU, of the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan of the Spanish Government, in which the Project of Actions for the Conservation, Restoration and Valorization of Cultural Heritage is framed.
Precisely because of its outdoor location andConsequently, due to its exposure to the climatic conditions of the region and the natural aging of the stone support, the cloister presented an uneven state of conservation (the northern gallery is the most degraded) and was exposed to slow but active deterioration.
In 2019, the General Management of The Cultural Heritage of the Government of Aragon has already intervened urgently in eighteen capitals of this monastery, Asset 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).
Monastery of San Juan de la Pena
San Juan de la Pena is one of the most emblematic monasteries in Aragon, built in successive phases from a pre-Romanesque core from the beginning of the 10th century, which could have served as a refuge for hermits or for 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 hall of councils and the royal necropolis, where some of the first Aragonese monarchs were buried.
This monument, whose walls have been considered by tradition as a witness to the origins of the Kingdom of Aragon, It 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 area to the Holy Grail stands out.
Specific the cloister, due to its great historical and artistic interest, has been one of the most studied spaces of the monastery and has been the subject of numerous publications and an intense historiographical debate. 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, from whose workshop the capitals are characterized by the presence of expressive figures with bulging almond-shaped eyes and clothes with very marked folds crossing large 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’s about youn Rectangular Romanesque cloister with approximate dimensions of 16 x 10 m per side, which currently only retains the arcades of two of its facades (north and west), while the other two arcades have almost entirely disappeared after the aforementioned fire, and is now the place where some capitals, shafts and bases have been recovered and arbitrarily placed.
The actions in San Juan de la Peña are part of the support policy that the Government of Aragon carries out for the recovery of the royal pantheons of the Autonomous Community, around which we want 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 National 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 to which they will be added . the actions in progress in Sijena, San Juan de la Peña and San Victorian, as well as the important works carried out in San Pedro el Viejo.
comes to them add the 1.2 million euros that the Ministry of Culture will allocate to the consolidation and rehabilitation of the castle of Montearagón.