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Javier Martínez de Aguirre

Toledo Cathedral: Tradition and the Avant-Garde URL:
Since the beginning of its construction, the Gothic cathedral of Toledo featured unconventional dialogues between the most advanced formulas of ultra-Pyrenean architectural renovation and the still firm ideas taken from Spanish traditions. The existence of an earlier Great Mosque, the condition of primatial see, the symbolism associated with the capital status of the Visigothic kingdom, the existence of spaces legendarily associated with miracles, the personalities and interests of the developers and the training and skills of the builders conditioned the special development of this great building throughout the thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. The initial project for the church, who first stone was laid in 1226, suggested an original solution for the chevet, with double ambulatory, multiple perimeter chapels and triforium in the inner ambulatory, which is connected with one of the great “families” of the French gothic period: that hailing from Bourges. But the construction introduced significant novelties with respect to its predecessors, in that it was enriched with traditional Toledan and Moorish columns and arches. The ambitious chapels of Saint Ildephonsus, Saint Peter and St James, the tower and the missing royal chapel are cause for reflection about the constant adaptation of avant-garde solutions to the local traditions and the specific circumstances of each commission and historical period.
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