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Arlanza Paintings: Griffin

  • Arlanza Paintings: Griffin. Barcelona © National Art Museum of Catalonia (MNAC)

    Arlanza Paintings: Griffin. Barcelona © National Art Museum of Catalonia (MNAC)





12th century



Cultural background


Original title

Pinturas de Arlanza: Grifo
National Art Museum of Catalonia (MNAC)
Barcelona, Catalonia

The value of this context Romanesque painting lies in its profane, seldom preserved, subject matter. It is a marvellous example of Castilian Art 1200.

The majority of Romanesque wall paintings that have come down to us depict religious subject matter, but there are also courtly or profane decorations that come from the great monastic centres, such as this fragment from the San Pedro de Arlanza monastery. This painting comes from a palatial-type room, the so-called Treasure Tower where there were Bestiary-inspired animal figures. Here we have a griffin, a legendary creature with the body of a lion and the head and wings of an eagle, depicted in a watchful pose. The style of the Arlanza paintings is linked to other Spanish, Art 1200 works, clearly influenced by the English miniature, a feature reflected in the subtlety and accuracy of the motifs, combined with their monumental character.

Details of the work

Old San Pedro de Arlanza Abbey (Burgos)

Mural painting

189.5 cm x 322 cm x 4 cm



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