Photographs from the Monumental and Artistic Catalogue of the Province of Navarre (1916) by Cristóbal de Castro
PILAR ANDUEZA UNANUA
UNIVERSITY OF LA RIOJA
1.-Inventories and catalogues
The State's awareness of the need to protect the historical and artistic heritage was born in 18th century France as a result of the Enlightenment and the French Revolution. Catalogues and inventories were soon seen as an effective tool and an essential means for the knowledge and protection of monuments. This became clear as early as 1793 when Instructions were sent to all Departments in the country on how to inventory and conserve, throughout the Republic, all objects that could be of use to the arts, sciences and the Education. A few years later, Ludovic Vitet, as Inspector General of Historical Monuments, travelled around the country taking good grade of the monuments and inventoried them for their conservation. In addition to this work, restoration work was also carried out under the auspices of his successor, Prosper Mérimée, and managed by the Commission des Monuments Historiques, created in 1837.
In eighteenth-century Bourbon Spain, the Royal Academy of History and the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando took the initiative for the development of some regulations that tried to protect, for the time being very partially, the heritage. The devastating disentailment process of the 19th century served as a fuse to create a technical and legal apparatus at both state and provincial level. Thus, following the French path, the Central Monuments Commission and the Provincial Commissions were created in 1844. Among their main aims was to "acquire information on all the buildings, monuments and antiquities that exist in their respective provinces and are worth preserving", as well as to "draw up catalogues, descriptions and drawings of the monuments and antiquities". This emphasised the importance of inventories and catalogues. The results were not as expected, so a new royal decree dated 1 June 1900 ordered the drawing up of an Artistic Catalogue of Spain, which would provide "a complete and orderly cataloguing of the historical or artistic wealth of the nation". The systematic and complete register of the country's assets was to be compiled province by province. The task of developing the Monumental Catalogue of Spain was entrusted to the art historian Manuel Gómez Moreno who, between 1901 and 1907, produced the catalogue for Ávila, Salamanca, Zamora and León. The desire to obtain rapid overall results meant that those responsible extended the commission to other authors, who were not always adequately prepared, which led to very disparate criteria and results, which were uneven and even unfinished in parts. It is in this context that we should situate the Monumental and Artistic Catalogue of the Province of Navarre, drawn up by Cristóbal de Castro.
Cristobal de Castro
Cristóbal de Castro was born in Iznájar (Córdoba) on 22 November 1874. Although he studied law at university, his working life was centred on journalism and literature, with Andalusian customs and women's themes. He was a member of the Royal Academy of Sciences, Fine Arts and Noble Arts of Cordoba and of the Hispano-American Academy of Cadiz.
His relationship with the Monumental Catalogue of Spain began on 1 February 1912, when he requested the part corresponding to the province of Álava. His request was accepted and his cataloguing work began in the Basque province, to be followed by the catalogues for Orense (1914), Logroño (1915), Navarre (1916), Santander (1917-18), Cuenca (ca. 1920) and the Canary Islands (1921).
Photo 1. Cristóbal de Castro
Undoubtedly, Cristóbal de Castro lacked the appropriate training to undertake such an arduous and specialised task. In the words of Amelia López-Yarto, he was the "most inept" of all the authors who took part in that vast project started in 1900. In fact, as early as the publication of the Catálogo de Álava in 1915, the poverty of his results was already evident, and since then there has been no shortage of criticism of his work from specialists such as Elías Tormo, Leopoldo Torres Balbás and, decades later, Gaya Nuño.
3.-The Monumental and Artistic Catalogue of the Province of Navarra
Although in 1909 the historian, Arabist, archaeologist and numismatist Antonio Vives asked to carry out the Navarre Catalogue, after having completed that of the Balearic Islands, the task officially fell to Cristóbal de Castro, according to the royal order of 1 March 1916. deadline He was to carry out the work within eight months and was to be paid 800 pesetas. After apply for an extension of four months, he finally handed in the commission and in March 1918 the Commission issued a very favourable report . There is no doubt that the person who drew up this report had not read Castro's work very carefully or was unfamiliar with the monumental heritage of Navarre, as the catalogue is clearly poor, fragmentary, partial and with significant shortcomings and errors, especially if we compare it with the works of some other provinces.
The Monumental and Artistic Catalogue of Navarre is made up of five volumes (33 cm.), bound in leather, of which two are texts and three are photographs (419).
Photo 2. Cover of the Monumental and Artistic Catalogue of the Province of Navarre. Volume 1. Text
(Photo: Ministry of Culture. high school de Patrimonio Cultural de España)
Photo 3. Cover of the Monumental and Artistic Catalogue of the Province of Navarre. Volume 1. Photographs
(Photo: Ministry of Culture. high school de Patrimonio Cultural de España)
Castro structured his work in two parts. In the first, in addition to an extensive introduction, he devoted four chapters to the history of Navarre up to the Modern Age. In the second part, he focused on the monumental heritage, starting in Pamplona, and in the second volume he went on to catalogue the rest of Navarre by dividing it into judicial districts: Pamplona, Aoiz, Estella, Tafalla and Tudela.
Although its goal was to "briefly study the epochs and their archaeological periods in a synthetic manner, in order to then, in what should properly be called an inventory, proceed to the cataloguing of each monument, with the extension required by its importance", the result did not respond to these principles.
Photo 4. Monumental and Artistic Catalogue of the Province of Navarre. Volume 1. Text (Photograph: Ministry of Culture. high school de Patrimonio Cultural de España)
After analysing its approach, texts and photographs, it can be stated that the catalogue was totally incomplete and insufficient in terms of cataloguing, leaving significant immovable property uninformed and barely mentioning some movable property. At the same time, the author revealed important gaps in the knowledge, both in terms of specialised language and artistic styles. A reading of the work also reveals a nineteenth-century vision centred on medieval monuments, overlooking other styles such as the Renaissance and the Baroque. The same is true of religious architecture, which pervades everything, as opposed to civil architecture, especially domestic and even military architecture, to which he barely alludes.
4.-The photographs in the Monumental Catalogue
The photographic documentation provided in the three volumes of this Catalogue is the most relevant part of the work. It focuses mainly on the exterior of significant medieval buildings, although it also includes bridges quite profusely, although domestic architecture is very scarce. Movable property also has a token presence: archaeological pieces, some paintings and sculptures, silver objects, ornaments and stained glass appear in its pages only occasionally and without clear justification.
Photo 5. "Cloister of San Pedro de la Ruá (sic)". Monumental and Artistic Catalogue of the Province of Navarre. Volume II. Photographs (Photograph: Ministry of Culture. high school de Patrimonio Cultural de España)
Photo 6. "Valle de Gulina. La Trinidad de Aguinega (sic)". Monumental and Artistic Catalogue of the Province of Navarre. Volume II. Photographs (Photograph: Ministry of Culture. high school de Patrimonio Cultural de España)
Leaving aside the artistic and historical values of these photographs, this subject of documentation is crucial today for the knowledge of heritage. These images are visual records that allow us to perceive with absolute fidelity the state in which some cultural assets were in the first decades of the 20th century and thus to verify the subsequent evolution they have undergone. They also give us the possibility of learning about the ravages caused by the disentailments of the 19th century, and even of analysing the restoration criteria that were subsequently followed.
Many of the photographs in the Catalogue were provided by Julio Altadill, vice-president of the Monuments Commission of Navarre, and by the organisation itself. In addition, those taken by the photographer Miguel España and those acquired from local photographers were also included. However, there is a total disproportionality in the author's presentation of the photographs, as some localities and/or buildings have multiple photographs and others, on the contrary, have only a single copy or even no photographic reflection at all.
Of the 419 photographs in the catalogue, we present below a small selection which, for various reasons, seem to us to be significant. The caption we have given them corresponds strictly to the handwritten or typed caption that appears on each copy. Some of these identifications made by Castro are erroneous and there is no shortage of inaccuracies and spelling mistakes in the names of some localities and works.