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Altar frontal of the Apostles from La Seu d’Urgell

  • Altar frontal of the Apostles from La Seu d’Urgell. Barcelona © MNAC - Museu Nacional d´Art de Catalunya

    Altar frontal of the Apostles from La Seu d’Urgell. Barcelona © MNAC - Museu Nacional d´Art de Catalunya





12th century


Taller de La Seu d’Urgell

Cultural background


Original title

Frontal de altar de La Seu d’Urgell o de los Apóstoles
National Art Museum of Catalonia (MNAC)
Barcelona, Catalonia

This is notable for being of the oldest preserved altar frontals, as well as for its technical, compositional and iconographic relation with miniatures.

Altar frontals formed part of church liturgical furniture, and were used to adorn the front part of altars. This frontal dates to the second quarter of the 12th century and is one of the masterpieces of panel painting in the MNAC. The central register depicts Maiestas Domini, or Christ in Majesty, within a double Mandorla which recalls Carolingian models. The apostles are distributed on the two sides in what is a very original triangular composition that generates a play of symmetry and space that is clearly hierarchical. The three rectangular components, with their brilliant colours, recall the splendour of illuminated manuscripts.

Details of the work


102.5 cm x 151 cm x 6 cm

Tempera and remnants of coloured metallic leaf on panel


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