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Bertan > Bertan 21 Las portadas de las iglesias guipuzcoanas > Versión en inglés: Categories or criteria of configuration

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There are few mediaeval doorways in Gipuzkoa, but those of greatest quality date from the Romanesque period. In some cases, when the parish church was deconsecrated, the doorway was used as the entrance to the cemetery, as is the case with the churches of Pasai San Pedro, Azkoitia and Aretxabaleta. A common feature of all of them is the semicircular archway. Examples can be seen in Ugarte´s work in Amezketa, Garagartza´s in Arrasate, and in the La Antigua chapel in Zumarraga, dating from the mid twelfth century. The spiral on the arch in Ormaiztegi is complemented with small pointed Gothic arches, replicated in the church in Idiazabal .

61. Doorways are the most representative feature of the Romanesque in Gipuzkoa. Some have survived the destruction of their respective churches. This is the case of the Romanesque parish church of Pasajes San Pedro, the church of Azkoitia and Aretxabaleta, which now form the entrances to the cemeteries of these towns A common feature are  the  semicircular archivolts.© Jonathan Bernal
61. Doorways are the most representative feature of the Romanesque in Gipuzkoa. Some have survived the destruction of their respective churches. This is the case of the Romanesque parish church of Pasajes San Pedro, the church of Azkoitia and Aretxabaleta, which now form the entrances to the cemeteries of these towns A common feature are the semicircular archivolts.© Jonathan Bernal
62. The doorway of Nuestra Señora del Rosario de Ugarte in Amezketa, one of the oldest of the Gipuzkoan Romanesque, is small in size and noteworthy for the austerity of the capitals and archivolts.© Jonathan Bernal
62. The doorway of Nuestra Señora del Rosario de Ugarte in Amezketa, one of the oldest of the Gipuzkoan Romanesque, is small in size and noteworthy for the austerity of the capitals and archivolts.© Jonathan Bernal
63. The decorative simplicity of the doorway of the Antigua church in Zumarraga is striking. Here we see the development of pointed arches and schematic capitals. It is built at the head of a small staircase, in the shape of a circular trapeze, adding solemnity to the doorway.© Jonathan Bernal
63. The decorative simplicity of the doorway of the Antigua church in Zumarraga is striking. Here we see the development of pointed arches and schematic capitals. It is built at the head of a small staircase, in the shape of a circular trapeze, adding solemnity to the doorway.© Jonathan Bernal
64. Among the most outstanding doorways is the one in Ormaiztegi. The quality of the stone carving is particularly impressive. A series of small interlinked arches surrounds the ornate spiral-work of the arch.© Jonathan Bernal
64. Among the most outstanding doorways is the one in Ormaiztegi. The quality of the stone carving is particularly impressive. A series of small interlinked arches surrounds the ornate spiral-work of the arch.© Jonathan Bernal

Some Gothic doorways provide evidence of how large the original churches must have been, while others are very simply and sparsely decorated, such as the doorway in Abaltzisketa. The largest of the Romanesque doorways is the one in Deba, which stands in the large cavity at the base of the belltower. The doorway in the church of St. Bartholomew's of Olaso in Elgoibar, which now serves as the gate to the cemetery, was also built at the base of the belltower. The doorway of the church in Deba is in the same style as the churches of Laguardia and Vitoria in Alava, and shows evidence of the work of two masters or workshops. The doorway of the fourteenth-century church of San Salvador in Getaria, must have been planned to be like that of Deba with archivolts, to judge from the mouldings of the jambs. The tympanum is bare of sculpture and the door cavity is framed by a garlanded arch. The parish church of Mondragon/Arrasate is equally simple: the pointed ogival shapes are a continuation of the small columns flanking the door. It is now crowned by an almost straight Renaissance arch. The only decoration is a polychrome sculpture of the Eternal Father giving his blessing, dating from the early sixteenth century The doorway of the church in Idiazabal is particularly original: it mirrors the decorative repertoire used from ancient times on prehistoric and Roman steles and ceramic pieces with perfectly carved geometric decorations and human heads. Other particularly interesting Gothic doorways can be found in Aduna and Ezkioga, Berastegi, Elduaien and Berrobi. The chapel of San Esteban was destroyed by floods in the 1950s, but the doorway is preserved in a side chapel of the parish church of Santa Maria in Tolosa.

65. The doorway of the church in Deba, divided in two by a mullion, consists of archivolts peopled by characters from the Old Testament:<br /> prophets, kings and saints. On the top plane or tympanum, there are three images from the life of the Virgin, with apostles on the jambs.© Jonathan Bernal
65. The doorway of the church in Deba, divided in two by a mullion, consists of archivolts peopled by characters from the Old Testament:
prophets, kings and saints. On the top plane or tympanum, there are three images from the life of the Virgin, with apostles on the jambs.© Jonathan Bernal
66. The doorway of the church in Abaltzisketa is formed by six pointed archivolts. The paired columns have capitals with signs and the classical chequered pattern. The spiral work of the outer arch has a zigzag decoration.© Jonathan Bernal
66. The doorway of the church in Abaltzisketa is formed by six pointed archivolts. The paired columns have capitals with signs and the classical chequered pattern. The spiral work of the outer arch has a zigzag decoration.© Jonathan Bernal
67. The Gothic doorway of San Bartolomé de Olaso in Elgoibar leads to the graveyard. It must have belonged to an architecturally important church, since the doorway, which stands under a tower which has since been cut short, is very wide. It is structured with pointed archivolts decorated with sculptures on pedestals and fifteenth-century Gothic canopies. A double polylobulate arch contains the two entrances with their low Renaissance arches. It was designed by MartÌn Sancho in 1459.© Jonathan Bernal
67. The Gothic doorway of San Bartolomé de Olaso in Elgoibar leads to the graveyard. It must have belonged to an architecturally important church, since the doorway, which stands under a tower which has since been cut short, is very wide. It is structured with pointed archivolts decorated with sculptures on pedestals and fifteenth-century Gothic canopies. A double polylobulate arch contains the two entrances with their low Renaissance arches. It was designed by MartÌn Sancho in 1459.© Jonathan Bernal
70. The  only  decoration   on  the  doorway of the church in Mondragon-Arrasate is a fine polychrome carving with narrow eyes and a wide beard, wearing a tunic and a luxurious cape. Given the crown, vestments and globe, it may well be a depiction of the Eternal Father.© Jonathan Bernal
70. The only decoration on the doorway of the church in Mondragon-Arrasate is a fine polychrome carving with narrow eyes and a wide beard, wearing a tunic and a luxurious cape. Given the crown, vestments and globe, it may well be a depiction of the Eternal Father.© Jonathan Bernal

Sixteenth century church doorways are neither the most impressive nor the most plentiful features of the Renaissance period in Gipuzkoa. As we have mentioned, greater attention was paid to erecting the monumental churches we see today. Two doorways were added to Gothic structures: that of the Bidaurreta Convent in Oñati whose arches and niches lie halfway between Gothic and Renaissance architecture; and that of the parish church of Hondarribia (Fuenterrabia), dating from 1566, which built entirely in the Renaissance style, enclosed within an archway of caissons, with the two doors well integrated by the fine uninterrupted mouldings. Among the churches built or restored in the first half of the sixteenth century is the northern doorway of the church of Eibar, on which the date of erection (1547) is inscribed. It is noteworthy for its luxurious Plateresque carving. The church of Aitzarna has a particularly elegant and harmonious doorway, divided into two doors beneath thick archivolts. The breadth and meticulous construction are unusual among rural churches.

68. The Gothic doorway of the church of San Salvador in Getaria is conditioned by the irregular construction of the building. It stands at the foot of the church, but is not perfectly centred. Access is by a staircase. The structure is typical of the fifteenth century with deteriorated archivolts and tympanum, beneath which there is a festooned arch.© Jonathan Bernal
68. The Gothic doorway of the church of San Salvador in Getaria is conditioned by the irregular construction of the building. It stands at the foot of the church, but is not perfectly centred. Access is by a staircase. The structure is typical of the fifteenth century with deteriorated archivolts and tympanum, beneath which there is a festooned arch.© Jonathan Bernal
69. The doorway of the Parish church of Mondragon-Arrasate is ogival in shape, and rests on small pillars and a Renaissance arch.© Jonathan Bernal
69. The doorway of the Parish church of Mondragon-Arrasate is ogival in shape, and rests on small pillars and a Renaissance arch.© Jonathan Bernal
71. The Gothic doorway at Idiazabal is unusual in having a structure of six archivolts crowned by small pointed arches. © Jonathan Bernal
71. The Gothic doorway at Idiazabal is unusual in having a structure of six archivolts crowned by small pointed arches. © Jonathan Bernal
72. Entrance  to  the  church at Ezkioga, mostly erected in the sixteenth century,  is  by  means of  a  porticoed area.  The  doorway  is one of the  oldest  remnants  of  the  church.  It consists of a pointed arch, with austere decoration of small toothed shapes.© Jonathan Bernal
72. Entrance to the church at Ezkioga, mostly erected in the sixteenth century, is by means of a porticoed area. The doorway is one of the oldest remnants of the church. It consists of a pointed arch, with austere decoration of small toothed shapes.© Jonathan Bernal

Seventeenth century church doorways in the province tend to be bare and austere. They are the result of a time of clear economic crisis, which led to cutbacks in the building boom of the previous century. The force of tradition meant that models consolidated in previous eras were repeated, but these were gradually changed as artists took new liberties and applied their own fantasies to the work.

73. The chapel of San Esteban in Tolosa was destroyed by a flood in the 1950s. Only the Gothic doorway remains, today housed in one of the side chapels of the parish church of Santa Maria. It has tooth -shaped decorations on the outside arches.© Jonathan Bernal
73. The chapel of San Esteban in Tolosa was destroyed by a flood in the 1950s. Only the Gothic doorway remains, today housed in one of the side chapels of the parish church of Santa Maria. It has tooth -shaped decorations on the outside arches.© Jonathan Bernal
74. Doorway to the church of the Convent of Bidaurreta in Oñati, framed by an irregular alfiz, with a pointed ogival arch and another Renaissance arch under the tympanum with sculptures.© Jonathan Bernal
74. Doorway to the church of the Convent of Bidaurreta in Oñati, framed by an irregular alfiz, with a pointed ogival arch and another Renaissance arch under the tympanum with sculptures.© Jonathan Bernal
75. Dating from 1566, the doorway of the parish church of Hondarribia (Fuenterrabia), was designed within an arch flanked by fluted columns and topped with a triangular pediment containing a niche.© Jonathan Bernal
75. Dating from 1566, the doorway of the parish church of Hondarribia (Fuenterrabia), was designed within an arch flanked by fluted columns and topped with a triangular pediment containing a niche.© Jonathan Bernal
76. The side doorway of the church of Eibar (1547) is a magnificent example of the Plateresque style;<br /> this decorative style is rare in Gipuzkoa.© Jonathan Bernal
76. The side doorway of the church of Eibar (1547) is a magnificent example of the Plateresque style;
this decorative style is rare in Gipuzkoa.© Jonathan Bernal

The first commissions were relatively insignificant, consisting merely of adorning the entrances to the churches with simple mouldings containing arrangements and features that were reminiscent of works produced by Juan de Herrera, and specifically the Escorial. His doors generally have lintels, like that in Zumarraga, or arches. On either side pilasters were erected and where there was decoration, it consisted of pyramids with balls or acroterums like the one in Urrestilla; a cross in the centre or a console similar to the leather ones with their curled edges. The rigidity and flatness of all the features is only relieved by the top part in the form of a pediment, which in many cases is broken at the top with thick spirals. Examples can be seen in the side door of the church at Eibar and in Zizurkil, where there is a small sculpture on a pedestal. The classic column support can be seen in some doorways underlining entrance arches. These structures are not as flat as the others, since the columns and their pedestals have been brought forward. We find this design in Getaria, in a version with twin Ionic columns with fluted torch-shaped shafts and strong mortisework on the pedestals. Austere design concepts in which architecture prevailed over decoration held sway until the last third of the seventeenth century, when the compositions were still identical to those of sixty years before; but as time went by, the motifs again became more prominent, with greater relief, and thick mouldings were used, superimposed to give a multiplying effect. Example can be seen in Albiztur and Beizama.

77. The doorway of the church of Aitzarna was built in the second half of the sixteenth century, with a double arch and the image of the Virgin on the mullion.© Jonathan Bernal
77. The doorway of the church of Aitzarna was built in the second half of the sixteenth century, with a double arch and the image of the Virgin on the mullion.© Jonathan Bernal
78. The style of the doorway of the church in Zumarraga is half way between mannerism and Baroque, with its pediment and irregular mouldings.  © Jonathan Bernal
78. The style of the doorway of the church in Zumarraga is half way between mannerism and Baroque, with its pediment and irregular mouldings. © Jonathan Bernal
80. The broken pediment forming spirals over the doorway at Zizurkil and the slender pyramids above it are lingering mannerist features that survived alongside the Baroque in the seventeenth century.© Jonathan Bernal
80. The broken pediment forming spirals over the doorway at Zizurkil and the slender pyramids above it are lingering mannerist features that survived alongside the Baroque in the seventeenth century.© Jonathan Bernal
81. In the case of the Baroque doorway of Getaria, there are twin columns with counterpoised fluting giving a greater chiaroscuro effect and enhancing the sense of mobility.© Jonathan Bernal
81. In the case of the Baroque doorway of Getaria, there are twin columns with counterpoised fluting giving a greater chiaroscuro effect and enhancing the sense of mobility.© Jonathan Bernal

A new type of doorway was developed in the churches of some convents. This consisted of a rectangular-shaped facade, with arches at the bottom, topped by a triangular pediment. It is based on models from Carmelite churches. This was the design used in the Bernardine and Carmelite convents in Lazkao and the convent of La Concepción in Segura. The Franciscan convent in Tolosa has a doorway in the Escorial style with no pediment. In sanctuaries and churches too we can find the style that the architect Vignola had popularised in Rome: a low body and an attic joined by spirals or orillions. This is the design used in the doorway of the Basilica of Dorleta and in the church in Alegria.

82. The mouldings and other features on the doorways of the churches in Albiztur and Beizama are superimposed, in a typically Baroque multiplying effect.© Jonathan Bernal
82. The mouldings and other features on the doorways of the churches in Albiztur and Beizama are superimposed, in a typically Baroque multiplying effect.© Jonathan Bernal
83. Beizama.© Jonathan Bernal
83. Beizama.© Jonathan Bernal
84. Convent of the Bernadine recollets in Lazkao. Rectangular doorways were very common in convent architecture.© Jonathan Bernal
84. Convent of the Bernadine recollets in Lazkao. Rectangular doorways were very common in convent architecture.© Jonathan Bernal
85. Carmelite Convent in Lazkao. Prototype of facade in rectangle, combining polychrome.© Jonathan Bernal
85. Carmelite Convent in Lazkao. Prototype of facade in rectangle, combining polychrome.© Jonathan Bernal

The prototype of facade in which the bell-tower is adapted or serves as a doorway can first be seen towards the middle and end of the seventeenth century, in a number of designs which were not eventually implemented, by architects Martín de Aguirre and Lucas de Longa. It was not until nearly the mid eighteenth century before this type of design was used in the church in Elgoibar by Ignacio de Ibero, in Andoain and Usurbil by his son Francisco and later in Eskoriatza, Aretxabaleta and Ibarra by Martín de Carrera.

86. Conceptionist Convent in Segura. It is modelled on Vignola's Gesú.© Jonathan Bernal
86. Conceptionist Convent in Segura. It is modelled on Vignola's Gesú.© Jonathan Bernal
87. Vignola's Gesú in Rome, replicated by some convents in Gipuzkoa.© Xabi Otero
87. Vignola's Gesú in Rome, replicated by some convents in Gipuzkoa.© Xabi Otero
88. The surface areas of the Franciscan convent in Tolosa are reminiscent of the Escorial.© Jonathan Bernal
88. The surface areas of the Franciscan convent in Tolosa are reminiscent of the Escorial.© Jonathan Bernal
89. Doorway of the basilica of Dorleta and the church in Alegia. Consists of a main body, attic and wings. © Jonathan Bernal
89. Doorway of the basilica of Dorleta and the church in Alegia. Consists of a main body, attic and wings. © Jonathan Bernal

Tomás de Jáuregui designed the doorway of the church in Tolosa in such a way as to avoid blocking the view of adjoining buildings. It takes the form of a ìstumpî or fragmentary development of the bottom section of a tower.

94. The doorways of Hernani, Azkoitia, Zegama and Oñati were built beneath a large niche or recess within a triumphal arch.© Jonathan Bernal
94. The doorways of Hernani, Azkoitia, Zegama and Oñati were built beneath a large niche or recess within a triumphal arch.© Jonathan Bernal
95. The doorway of Santa Maria in San Sebastian is a variation on those that retain the recess typology, with the addition in this case of two towers.© Jonathan Bernal
95. The doorway of Santa Maria in San Sebastian is a variation on those that retain the recess typology, with the addition in this case of two towers.© Jonathan Bernal
96. The doorway of the Sanctuary at Loyola follows an original convex design.© Paisajes Españoles
96. The doorway of the Sanctuary at Loyola follows an original convex design.© Paisajes Españoles
97. The doorway of the parish church of Azpeitia is based on the design for a triumphal arch.© Jonathan Bernal
97. The doorway of the parish church of Azpeitia is based on the design for a triumphal arch.© Jonathan Bernal

In many churches in Gipuzkoa the doorway is sheltered under a large arch to protect worshippers from the elements. Examples of this style can be seen in the parish churches of Pasajes de San Juan and Errenteria, attributed to Gómez de Mora; in Segura the doorway is more Baroque, with bulging chiaroscuro decoration. Greater depth was introduced into this design in the eighteenth century, when instead of an arch the doorway was placed in a large recess or gigantic niche, like a triumphal arch. The doorways at Hernani, Azkoitia and Zegama all follow this design, and are topped with a pedestal as a curtain to hide the wall behind, like in Oñati. A variation can be seen in the Church of Santa Maria in San Sebastian, where the doorway is framed between two square towers on either side. Another novel arrangement was used in the Sanctuary of Loyola, where the doorway encloses the outline of the church like a semicircular belt.

98. The neo-classical doorway in Elgeta looks like a building in itself. It uses the triumphal arch concept but with the addition of window niches.© Jonathan Bernal
98. The neo-classical doorway in Elgeta looks like a building in itself. It uses the triumphal arch concept but with the addition of window niches.© Jonathan Bernal
99. The side portico at Usurbil was designed to act as a vestibule preceding entry into the church.© Jonathan Bernal
99. The side portico at Usurbil was designed to act as a vestibule preceding entry into the church.© Jonathan Bernal
100. Silvestre Pérez designed a classical portico for Mutriku, characterised by the purity of its volumes.© Jonathan Bernal
100. Silvestre Pérez designed a classical portico for Mutriku, characterised by the purity of its volumes.© Jonathan Bernal

The finest examples of neo-classical facades in Gipuzkoa all share an important urban significance, accentuated by their porticos or narthexes of arches and their staircases. One of the generation of architects who forcibly introduced this style was Ventura RodrÌguez, who designed the doorway of the parish church of Azpeitia, built by Francisco de Ibero, and designed horizontally as a classical portico. The doorway of the church in Elgeta uses the same language and has a strong monumental accent, embracing the tower and church on the front and sides, with a huge portico fitted with arches and windows. The doorway of the church in Usurbil is similar in style but not as high or large on the epistle side of the building. The really innovative experiment in this style came from Silvestre Pérez with the church in Mutriku, where the portico is structured almost independently, with a surprising clarity of volumes.

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