The church of San Nicolas de Bari

Madrigal de las Altas Torres, Ávila, Castilla y León.
Medal/Award in the category Conservation in the year 2008.

Dating of the building: 16th - 18th century.

Applicant: Carlos Javier Alonso Arribas, REARASA (Restoration of buildings, coffered ceilings, and altarpieces Alonso S.A.).

Reason for the award :

For the scientific rigor, good judgment, and method in which the work was carried out to restore and integrate the polychrome wood pieces found when dismantling the choir into a coherent work of art.

The restoration of the property of San Nicolas de Bari was a real puzzle given the different typologies and artistic styles of the pieces.

The uniqueness of the state of the furniture and fittings of the Church of San Nicolas de Bari and the technical solutions used in its restoration was of particular significance, which did not go unnoticed by the Europa Nostra jury. Pieces of furniture from different centuries were remodelled to form the motley choir. Polychrome remains can be seen on the floorboards of the choir. All of these factors first stimulated the interest of the Castile and Leon Regional Government; later the project was taken over by the Castile and Leon Historical Heritage Foundation. Thus, a detailed historical study of the elements that made up the disassembled choir began.

The study revealed that both the painted boards and the rest of the masonry belonged to the original altarpiece of the church. This Spanish-Flemish structure was the high altar of the temple until the 18th century. It also made it possible to identify the structure of the choir, with “U” shaped stalls made up of pieces from two different stalls: twenty-two stalls were Gothic, and two were Baroque. The complexity of the pieces increased when the remains of a 16th century Renaissance roof were found, together with the remains of another Mudejar coffered ceiling from the end of the 14th century. The intervention assumed the task of recovering both the various individual elements and the spaces generated by them, carrying out the reconstruction of the altarpiece and situating it near the choir. Also, the Mudejar choir was relocated, the Renaissance choir rebuilt, and the remains of the Mudejar alfarje exposed. The central idea behind the project was to show both its individual and joint essence.

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