Pórtico de la Gloria

Point of interest en Santiago de Compostela

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Pórtico de la Gloria

Pórtico de la Gloria - pedronchi/Flickr

Pórtico de la Gloria - pedronchi/Flickr


Pórtico de la Gloria - pedronchi/Flickr

Pórtico de la Gloria - pedronchi/Flickr

What is the Pórtico de la Gloria?

The Pórtico de la Gloria is the entrance that we can find in the western part of the Cathedral of Santiago. It is a Romanesque style portico and one of the greatest symbols in the history of both the Camino de Santiago and the Cathedral itself. It was sculpted during the 12th century by Master Mateo, who together with his workers spent about 20 years to finish it, and who exerted a great influence on the Romanesque sculpture of Galicia at that time.
Although the original Portico is not the one we can currently see when visiting the Cathedral of Santiago, some of the original figures are preserved in the Cathedral Museum, institution objects from different important areas of the Cathedral itself. 
The work that we can see today, is the result of the deep restoration to which the Portico de la Gloria underwent between the years 2008 and 2018. In this restoration, the humidity was eliminated and the necessary treatments were carried out to be able to appreciate the original sculptures of this work.

Who is Maestro Mateo?

Maestro Mateo was a sculptor and architect who worked on different projects in the Iberian Peninsula during the second half of the 12th century. He became world famous for his work on the Cathedral of Santiago. Especially for the design of the Portico de la Gloria, one of the most important elements of the cathedral.
It is said that inside the Cathedral there is a sculpture that is a representation of him, which is popularly known as the Santo dos Croques. It is customary for pilgrims to bump their heads against this statue when entering the cathedral, especially those who are students, as it is said to help them gain wisdom and understanding.

Architecture of the Portico of Glory

The Portico of Glory consists of three superimposed floors, in which Master Mateo was inspired by the apocalyptic content. These three floors would be: The crypt, which represents the earthly world; the portico of three arches, located in the center and the tribune, which represents the Last Judgment and the elevation of humans to the divine. 
Although all of them are brilliant, the most remarkable is the portico of three arches. This part is formed by numerous sculptures of different sizes among which we find the 24 elders and the 4 evangelists, among others, and from which the central figure of Christ stands out.
Originally the Portico de la Gloria was opened by an exterior façade, however this changed in the 16th century. This change took place because they wanted to include doors in the tempolo since up to that moment it remained open all the time. A stone choir built by Master Mateo was also removed from the place, which was replaced by a wooden one that was also removed.

Restoration of the Portico de la Gloria

From 2008 until 2018 a deep restoration of the Portico de la Gloria took place. First, several studies took place in which the state of this work of Master Mateo was analyzed. With this restoration, it was possible to eliminate the leaks of humidity and the state of conservation of each of its pieces, something that took a total of 10 years.
An important point of this restoration was the application of specific products that kept the piece in good condition as long as possible. The Cathedral of Santiago has a high level of humidity and condensation, so this is key to ensure the good condition of the Pórtico de la Gloria.
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