Altar frontal from Santa Margarida in Vilaseca

Vic workshops1175/1200

Mev, Museu d'Art Medieval

Mev, Museu d'Art Medieval
Vic, Spain

This altar frontal was originally in the nunnery church of Santa Margarida in Vilaseca, in the municipality of Sant Martí Sescorts, and was most probably brought to Vic in the 14th century when the nuns moved to the new convent which later became that of the Discalced Trinitarians. In 1868 it was exhibited to the public in the artistic archaeological exhibition organised in the cloisters of the convent of Sant Domènec in Vic and its presence signified the beginning of the rediscovery and reappraisal of Catalan Romanesque painting. It is almost certainly by a Vic workshop from the second half of the 12th century and stylistically it corresponds to the period of full creative maturity of Catalan Romanesque art. The frontal is centred upon the figure of the Virgin with the Child inside a vesica piscis held by four angels with the inscription “Maria.Mater.Domini.Nostri.Jesu.Xristi”. In the side compartments there are scenes from the life of the saint: the saint is taken prisoner by the soldiers (“miles”) of General Olybrius, while she is grazing her flock of sheep. Below, by now in prison, she is flogged by the executioners (“carnifices”). In the upper righthand compartment the saint is tormented by the demons (“rrufo”), and below, the executioner (“malcus”), after torturing the saint in the presence of the general, cuts her throat with the knife at the moment the Holy Ghost in the form of a dove comes down to receive her soul.


  • Title: Altar frontal from Santa Margarida in Vilaseca
  • Creator: Vic workshops
  • Date Created: 1175/1200
  • Location Created: Vic, Catalonia
  • Physical Dimensions: 95,8 x 147,5 x 5 cm
  • Provenance: From the convent of Santa Margarida in Vilaseca. L'Esquirol (Osona)
  • Type: Painting
  • External Link: Museu Episcopal de Vic
  • Medium: Tempera on oak wood
  • Style: Romanesque

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