The Cathedral of Segovia was built between the 16th and 18th centuries. According to Pérez Monzón, it’s one of the best surviving examples of 16th century Gothic architecture.

In 1520, the cathedral suffered severe damage and plans were made to rebuild it or raise a new one elsewhere. In 1523, Carlos I authorised the construction of a new cathedral, and the first stone was laid on the 8th of June, 1525.

Eminent talented architects, including Juan Gil de Hontañón, Rodrigo Gil de Hontañón (16th century) and the Baroque architect from Segovia, Pedro de Brizuela (17th century), were involved in its construction. They were all masters of their craft, who added elements from other styles, transforming the Cathedral of Segovia into a jewel of Spanish artistic heritage.

 

 

gárgolas catedral monstruos

Segovia Cathedral.

 

The cathedral’s gargoyles are a magnificent demonstration of a unique imagination. Some of them have a long metal pipe in their mouths decorated with a head with saw teeth and crests that resemble the gargoyles in the cloister of the Cathedral of Ciudad Rodrigo or those of Wawel Cathedral in Krakow (Poland).

Among the animals, we can see a lion and a dog which appear to be stalking. There are also animal monsters, especially winged lions and winged dogs, one of them with a collar, as well as some superb two-headed beasts, hybrids of an eagle and a quadruped.

 

 

león en gárgolas

Lion.

 

perro en gárgolas

Dog.

 

gárgolas cuadrúpedo alado

Animal monster.

 

gárgolas arte historia

Animal monster.

 

gárgolas gótico iconografía

Animal monster.

 

gárgola monstruo alado

Animal monster.

 

gárgolas león alado

Winged lion.

 

gárgola monstruo animal

Winged lion.

 

gárgolas canalón arquitectura

Winged lion.

 

alas en gárgolas

Winged dog.

 

gárgolas bestiarios medievales

Winged dog.

 

gárgola águila bicéfala

Two-headed beast.

 

gárgolas en catedrales

Two-headed beast.

 

Devils figure here too, some of them with very original and peculiar features in addition to the usual ones for this type, including dog or pig heads; quadruped front legs; huge, coiling serpent-like tails; scales; membranous wings, some decorated with eagle heads; faces with protuberances and flaps; long fangs that reach the lower part of the mouth in a ferocious expression; and crests down to the nose.

Various anthropomorphs are also depicted. Some have an amphibious or reptilian body, short front and hind legs and a human face.

The iconography is varied and imaginative. They have been expertly sculpted with great attention to detail and expressiveness, with a ferocious demeanour and a grotesque and even terrifying appearance. Several of them are reminiscent of some of the more Renaissance-style gargoyles at the Cathedral of Salamanca, probably influenced by the architect Rodrigo Gil de Hontañón, who as we know worked on both cathedrals.

Eminent brilliant architects and masters have bequeathed us some truly amazing artistic treasures: magnificent cathedrals with their facades, pinnacles, portals and, of course, their fascinating gargoyles, like these from the wonderful Cathedral of Segovia.

 

 

gárgola demonio murciélago

Devil.

 

demonio escamas gárgola

Devil.

 

gárgola demonio alado

Devil with eagle-shaped wings.

 

gárgola demonio cresta

Devil.

 

gárgola alas membranosas

Devil.

 

gárgola demonio serpiente

Devil.

 

antropomorfo en gárgolas

Anthropomorph.

 

antropomorfo gárgola grotesco

Anthropomorph.

 

 

 

Bibliography consulted

CHUECA GOITIA, F., Historia de la Arquitectura Española. Edad Antigua y Edad Media, Edición Facsímil de la de 1964, Ávila, Fundación Cultural Santa Teresa, 2001.

PÉREZ MONZÓN, O., Catedrales góticas, Madrid, Ediciones Jaguar, S. A. Catedrales de España, 2003.

 

Art, History and Research

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