In the valley of Llobregat, next to the municipality of Cercs
, stands the church of Sant Quirze de Pedret
, one of the few tenth century buildings preserved in Catalonia and one of the best examples of pre-Romanesque architecture in the country. The temple formed part of the county of Berga
and was under the jurisdiction of the bishop of Urgell
It is a three-nave building. The central one corresponds to the original pre-Romanesque church (ninth century), while the naves in the lateral are the result of an enlargement (already Romanesque) of the 10th century. Additionally, the entrance way and bell tower were incorporated but partially collapsed in the 15th century, probably caused by an earthquake.
Sant Quirze de Pedret maintains genuine architectural elements that remind us of its more ancient past and that directly relate it with other pre-Romanesque Catalan buildings like, for example, the churches of Terrassa
. These elements are the surpassing and horse shoe arches that we see in the temple's interior, the trapezoidal arch instead of semi-circular, red clay tables instead of slate. These were the influences of the Caliphate of Cordoba
in the Catalan counties.
of Sant Quirze de Pedret has wanted to recapture the aspect of the church in the tenth century. Following the journey through time, the original aspect of the roof has been restored; lime has been added to the walls and the pavement of the central nave has been covered with clay.
Despite the singularity of the building and its conservation, if there is an outstanding artistic aspect it is the temple's mural paintings
, of two differentiated periods. In the central apse of the church of Pedret we see some of the most remote paintings of the Catalan Pyrenees. They date to the 10th century and feature three very defined characters: the psalmist is a man with a beard and tunic who prays with his arms extended, a horseman accompanied by numerous animals, and a cleric. The style and significance of these first paintings resemble Mediterranean Paleochristian works.
The series of Pedret
dates to the 11th century and is attributed to the circle of the “Master of Pedret." It is in these pictures that we find the most complex symbolism of the church. Originally situated in the apses of the lateral naves, we identify scenes from the apostolic college headed by Peter, the Virgin Mary and the Baby Jesus, images of saints (Matthew), numerous Latin inscriptions and allusions to the idea of the Final Judgment.
There is, however, a curious scene painted on the walls of Sant Quirze called the “parable of virgins”, which dramatises the sobering chapter of the wise virgins and foolish virgins. The Diocesan and Regional Museum of Solsona
and the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya
(National Museum of Art of Catalonia
) guard the originals, whilst one can see faithful reproductions
in the church.
Sant Quirze de Pedret is part of the ‘Romanesque weekend: from the Ripollès to Northern Catalonia