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Statues at the bottom of the staircase

Bert45

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Time of past OR future Camino
2003, 2014, 2016, 2016, 2018, 2019
Does anybody know who the statues at the bottom of the staircase from the Praza de Obradoiro to the doors of the Cathedral represent? The one on the left seems to be shielding his eyes from the sun. The one on the right seems to be awkwardly striding forwards while holding a shield close to his right leg. I have read that: The stair was made in the 17th century by Ginés Martínez and it is of Renaissance style inspired by Giacomo Vignola of Palazzo Farnese. It is diamond-shaped with two ramps that surround the entrance to the old 12th century Romanesque crypt of the Master Mateo. So there is no need for you to repeat that information.
 
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"The impressive two staircases going up to the Portico de la Gloria date from the middle of the 17th century. There you will find the two Romanesque statues of the Maestro Mateo school of King David and King Solomon."
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Mea culpa. These are not the statues Bert45 questioned.
 
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I think that the statues of the two kings on the top of the staircase were removed in 2016 and they are now on display in the museum to protect them from the weather.

I guess that @Bert45 means the two statues at the bottom of the staircase. I don't know what they represent.

Fachada.jpg
 
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The one on the left seems to be shielding his eyes from the sun. The one on the right seems to be awkwardly striding forwards while holding a shield close to his right leg

Here's a closeup. Their outfit reminds me of Roman soldiers and what they are holding appears to be something that can be rolled up, so not shields although apparently coat of arms.

Two statues.jpg
 
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The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
Here's a closeup. Their outfit reminds me of Roman soldiers and what they are holding appears to be something that can be rolled up, so not shields although apparently coat of arms.

View attachment 137509
The statues are remarkably crude, don't you think? They've had a fair bit of wear and tear from the weather, but I don't think that they were works of art in the first place. I can see the likeness to Roman soldiers from the 'skirt' of the one on the left and their greaves. But neither has a helmet and they both have beards. Roman soldiers are usually depicted clean-shaven. I'll see if I can get an answer from the cathedral authorities.
 
I now wonder whether the two statues represent the same person. Ramiro I? Clavijo? A generic soldier? The statue on the right appears to be holding a sword.

I can't figure out what the second item in the coat of arms is. If it were a castle, it would be the coat of arms of Castilla y Leon: 2 lions and 2 castles. The same coat of arms can also be seen above the door.
 
Nobody asked about it but I am going to say it nevertheless 😇: it is, or at least once was, the coat of arms of the archbishop or archbishopric of Compostela which is why the text along the border starts with archiepiscopus compostelanus.. Above it is yet another Santiago Matamoros (or Mataturcos?) scene.

The architect mentioned in the first post, Gines Martinez, was a protégée of archbishop Maximilian whose coat of arms it is.

For a better image see here: Escudo heráldico del Arzobispo Maximiliano de Austria, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Maximiliano-de-austria-arzobispo-escudo.jpg

Escudo.jpg
 
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I thought that Maximilian of Austria was an odd name for the archbishop of Compostela during whose tenure the Obradoiro staircase of the cathedral was built and, presumably, the two statues were created and placed there.

Wikipedia says that this archbishop was born in Spain as illegitimate son of Leopold of Austria. Leopold was himself a bishop in Spain and had been born in Austria as an also illegitimate son of Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor. Being an illegitimate son of a leading member of aristocracy or clergy and receiving a good education and embarking on a promising career as ordained clergy was nothing unusual in those days.

Quite a family history. Maximilian I was one of the biggies among the Habsburg emperors who reigned over a huge swath of territory in Europe that included Spain, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Hungary and more, and he waged of course numerous wars in various parts of Europe throughout his lifetime. So he was the grandfather of our archbishop in Santiago de Compostela.

This was of course the time of the Turkish Wars, the long-lasting military conflict between the Ottoman Empire and European countries. Who hasn't heard of the attacks on Vienna in particular. One of many reasons why the imagery of a military Saint James in combat spirit became so popular during this time, 700 years or so after the century when the legend of Clavijo supposedly had taken place where Saint James appeared in a dream and/or in the sky to encourage the king and his army who had prayed for his assistance before a battle.

I am not a history buff and it was only on my way to Santiago that I started to develop in interest in what these supposedly silent old stones are telling us. They are fascinating stories sometimes that you won't find in your Brierley. 😇
 
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Anne Born wrote an award winning book on the Santiago Cathedral. I've asked her if she can answer your question. :)
 

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