The Santiago Cathedral

Chair: Francisco Prado-Vilar (Scientific Director of the Andrew W. Mellon Program for the Santiago Cathedral, Harvard Department of History of Art and Archaeology).

 The Complutense Foundation, in collaboration with the Barrié Foundation, the Santiago Cathedral Foundation, the Real Colegio Complutense at Harvard and the Spanish Cultural Heritage Institute (IPCE), is pleased to announce a program of fellowships, generously funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, to support research in the context of the Santiago Cathedral Project.

Santiago Cathedral

The Santiago Cathedral Project is one the most ambitious projects of historical research and conservation currently under way in a major monument in Europe, focusing specifically on the 12th-century western narthex of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela (Spain), also known as the Pórtico de la Gloria (Portal of Glory). For the scale and quality of its sculptural ensemble, its architectural design, its polychromy, and its significance in the cultural history of Europe as the entrance to the millions of pilgrims who have travelled to the Shrine of St. James throughout the centuries, this monument is widely held as one of the crowning achievements of medieval art.

During the initial phase of the Santiago Cathedral Project (2008-13), multi-disciplinary teams of experts from Spain, Italy, and Germany have worked developing several lines of investigation: historical research and planimetric documentation; construction and structural studies; analyses of polychromy and bio-deterioration; the monitoring of environmental conditions; and the testing of chemical and laser treatments. The large amounts of data gathered in these studies has served to draft a conservation and research plan that will be implemented, in a second phase, over the next three years.

This new phase offers a unique opportunity to open up the project to international researchers, conservation specialists, and advanced graduate students in the humanities and social sciences in order to create an interdisciplinary forum around the study of this World Heritage Monument. Broadly conceived in its intellectual outreach, the Santiago Cathedral Project aims to galvanize research on related monuments along the pilgrimage road to Santiago, as well as helping promote innovative approaches to the study of various aspects medieval culture with ramifications for many areas of inquiry. In addition to enabling this fellowship program, the grant provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation will support the organization of lectures, seminars, conferences and publications, which will bring together fellowship recipients and other distinguished scholars in order to foster debate and the creation of a dynamic research network.