Art and Architecture Along the Pilgrimage Routes to Santiago de Compostela

Art and Architecture Along the Pilgrimage Routes to Santiago de Compostela

By Eric C. Apfelstadt

SMART: Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Teaching, Vol. 4:1 (1993)

Synopsis: Focuses on the teaching of art history using examples from churches on the pilgrimage route to the Spanish city of Santiago de Compostela.

Introduction: The exterior aspect of pilgrimage in the later Middle Ages is nowhere better witnessed than in the great crusading campaigns and along the popular pilgrimage routes which led travelers across Europe to destinations ranging from the Holy Land to Rome to Santiago de Compostela. In the art history lecture for the pilgrimage module at Santa Clara University, the focus is upon the latter manifestation – the vast migration of pilgrims who, motivated by the cult of saints and relics, proceeded from church and shrine, despite often nearly insurmountable obstacles, in pursuit of miraculous intercession in their immediate lives and eternal lots. The pilgrims’ visit to holy sites and relics are inextricably bound up with the circumstances of the physical journey, and the trasformation along the way closely parallels the goals of the less tangible quests investigated in the literature and philosophy lectures.

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We thank the editors of Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Teaching for their permission to republish this article.

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