about seven hundred metres in the east of Agüero we will find a magnificent
Romanic building which has always been an hermitage, although its magnificence
shows that its condition of a hermitage is just a purely topographic impression.
There are not any documents written about this temple excepting two reports
belonging to some Episcopal visits. Because of the first visit we know
that an Hidalgos of Santiago confraternity exists in Agüero since 1786;
because of the second one we know how it is said to be in 1805 one of
the fewest hermitages for veneration. The building was built built
in the XII century; it was discovered and published by Ricardo del Arco
in 1919 and San Vicente studied it in 1970. It consists on three apses.
These three apses face to three empty spaces, which form the first stretch
of the thee naves in the temple. A wall that covers the three communication
arcs in this first stretch with the next one hastily enclosed it. Three-barrel
vaults covered it. In the south side of this stretch the front door that
led to the temple was opened. Bellas Artes recently renewed it.
The first problem we face with is to know
who this church was built by. Trying to know why this building was built
and who ordered this work to be built is very difficult. It does not seem
to be a royal foundation even a work due to a noble family in the area.
We can only think that some soldiers or a monastery wanted to build this
building. From these two options we leave out the first one so we cannot
find any relationship between them. And referring to the second one as
a hypothesis we will try to show the existing relationships between San
Juan de la Peña and this area in Agüero.
The Pantheon royal house in Saint John had
received at the end of the XI century a great deal of proprieties in Agüero.
Their owners gave them to different cenobies who later depended on the
monastery. These were some territorial goods, which will not be mentioned
any more due to the serious events, which finished with John's abbot.
This monk governed the monastery until 1170 when he was left out and driven
out from the Aragon kingdom. The cause of this event, in which Pope Adriano
IV and Prince Ramón Berenguer IV of Aragon will have to intercede, is
the bad administration and the high expenses due to the abbot Jon. In
this time the wonderful Romanic cloister of the monastery is not going
to be finished, and to save the cenoby from ruin Ramón Berenguer IV offers
some donations. Santiago's church in Agüero could be another work due
to this abbot, unfinished work as we can see when visited. The
cause of its building would have been to get a major approximation to
politicians. San Juan de la Peña's monastery has been left out of the
capital's influence because the capital is placed in Zaragoza, although
Huesca due to its situation in the Aragon Crown's ways is still a very
important point. There in the town the cenoby has only a church and the
nearest place is in Agüero. This church could have been the first stage
to move the monastery to a nearer place to the monarchy. Apart from this,
Santiago's church is related to some buildings placed in "Las cinco Villas",
some dominions in San Juan de la Peña, which are finished between 1170
and 1191. The columns so typical of this temple in Agüero can be found
in Puilampa church and in San Miguel de Daroca's one.
Some works in Las cinco Villas have barrel
vaults and Santa Marïa de Egea has the same type of apsidal cover. It
is a vault with ten nerves. There will also be some connections among
these areas in Santiago's sculpture in Agüero, very important and close
to the gothic transition. The only tympanum built on the south front door
has a beautiful epiphany. It is supported on two modillions with the shape
of an animal with a man and a woman on its right side. In the Adoration
of the Magus scene, Agüero offers a lovely proceeding for the epiphanies
in the Italian Quattro cento. San Miguel de Biota's church and San Nicolás
de Frago's church have the same kind of tympanum. Both of these churches
are situated in the area of "Las cinco Villas". In this portal there is
a very nice collection consisting on nine capitals which were placed in
two different phases, where we can see some centaurs scenes some wild
animals devouring their captures, fights among gentlemen and the famous
theme of the dancer. We can also see on the below part of the portal some
fights among warriors, fights where the Mussulman is showed with a round
buckler and the Christian is showed on a horse with one with a tip shape.
The famous dancer, work designed by the one called magisterial of Agüero
and who has nothing to do with the known San Juan de la Peña's magisterial
is a common theme in "Las cinco Villas, Biota, El Frago and Egea, in a
capitol in San Pedro el Viejo in Huesca and in a scene of the Romanic
apse in La Seo in Zaragoza. It shows Salomé in one hand beginning the
dance with a harpist and on the other hand in an incredibly distortional
attitude with her hair on her face with a soloist with a sharp-pointed
cap who was with her
Inside the temple, in the central apse there
is an arcade of arches, which tries to suppress the wall unsightly. There
are mainly geometrical decorations with figurative elements as monsters
holding some grapevines, some heads, and a curious face on the second
capital on the right and a lot of geometric samples of knotted circles,
are similar to the details on the portal of Puilampa's church, building
in which the magisterial Bernardo worked and which was finished before
1191. In the outside part of this central apse there is a sculptured impost
which is similar to the one in the inside part placed on the epistle apse.
This inside frieze which is scarcely fourteen centimetres high, tells
about some scenes on Christ's' life, about his childhood and his birth.
All the scenes are framed with leaves and fruit whose curves create a
certain rhythm which give a movement sensation. The showed scenes are
the following: the Annunciation, the Visitation, the Birth, the Magus
Cavalcade to Belen, the Adoration to Jesus by the Magus, the angel's warning
and the appearance in the temple. There is also a piece dedicated to innocent
saints with Herodes ordering the slaughtering to the soldiers and with
the help of some wise men who scrutinize Messiahs' birth in the ancient
books. Then we can see the warning, which the angel gives to San José
and the running of Sacred Family coming back to Israel. In this way would
finish Jesus' childhood.
To complete the temple we must mention
the "canetes" and the inside capitals which are related with the ones
in Santo Domingo de la Calzada.