Chronological framework12th century
Geographical FrameworkSant Martí de Puig-Reig. Berguedà. Catalonia.
Profile and historiographical debate
The identity of Bernardus Arnalli is known thanks to a document from 1145, where he appears as a witness in a donation from the Viscounts of Berguedà, Berenguera and Guillem. According to the notarial instrument, they donated to the parish church of Sant Martí de Puig-reig the censuses they received from Sant Andreu de Madrona, probably in relation to the construction of the new church (ACA, pergs. Ramon Berenguer IV, 173; BAIGES, IG, FELIU, G., SALRACH, JM, 2010, n. 834, pp. 1356-1357). The terms used in the donation document (Bernardus Arnalli, operator huius ecclesie) suggest that Bernardus Arnau was the architect or master builder of the aforementioned church, raised under the patronage of the Viscounts of Berguedà.
The temple is a simple building with a single nave which culminates in a semicircular apse and a slightly pointed barrel vault. The planimetric and structural layout shows points of contact with buildings from the second half of the twelfth century, erected in the same area under the rule of the viscount family of Berguedà, as Sant Sadurní de Fonollet, recorded in 1167, Sant Andreu de Cal Pallot or Sant Pau de Casserres, where we find the same motif with chequered motif in the canopy of the south portal.
One of the most outstanding elements is the portal, consisting of five round-arch archivolts and in degradation. The capitals did have sculptural decoration, although erosion only allows to be half-seen the theme of the left inner capital, which represents seven birds or harpies arranged in front, of which the chiseled talons are still visible on the collar.
In 1183 the troubadour Guillem de Berguedà inherited from his father the castles of Puig-reig, Madrona, Casserres and Montmajor. It should be noted that after the troubadour’s death in 1196, the two arcosolia in the chancel were opened, most likely to entomb his body in one of the two, following the peculiar customs of the Templar buildings (Castiñeiras 2014). We must not forget that in his will of 1187, Guillem offered his body and soul to Christ, Mary and the Order of the Temple, to which he delivered the castle of Puig-reig, where he usually resided, as well as the place of Fonollet (Serra 1996, Castiñeiras 2014).
Just the arcosolium located on the north side of the section of the chancel was covered with Romanesque mural paintings discovered in 1954 during restoration works undertaken by the Diputació de Barcelona. These paintings were detached, restored and transferred to three wooden supports, still kept in the church.
Church of Sant Martí de Puig-Reig.
Viscount's family of Berguedà.
In 1145 Viscount Guillem, Viscountess Berenguera and their son Guillem de Berguedà, the famous troubadour, signed a document according to which they gave to the parish church of Sant Martí the censuses they received from Sant Andreu de Madrona, probably in relationship with the construction of the new church; the same document transmits the name of the architect: Bernardus Arnalli, operator huius ecclesie, who himself signed as villicus (ACA, pergs. Ramon Berenguer IV, 173; BAIGES, IG, FELIU, G., SALRACH, JM, 2010, n. 834 , pp. 1356-1357).
Text: Carles Sánchez Márquez
Catalunya Romànica, 1984-1998, XII, pp. 378-386; Serra i Rotés, R., 1982; Serra i Rotés, R., 1982; Serra i Rotés, R., 1996, pp. 13-17; Baiges i Jardí, I. et alii, 2010, doc. 834, pp. 1356-1357; Enciclopedia del Románico, 2014, pp.696-707; Castiñeiras, 2014, pp.107-124.
BAIGES I. et al (ed.), Els pergamins de l’Arxiu Comtal de Barcelona, de Ramon Berenguer III a Ramon Berenguer IV, Barcelona, 2010, III, 2 vol.
CASTIÑEIRAS, M., “De Sant Martí de Puig-reig a l’Altar de Lluçà: els dos pols de l’art 1200 a Catalunya”, a M.Castiñeiras i J. Verdaguer (eds.), Pintar fa mil anys. Els colors i l’ofici del pintor romànic, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Bellaterra, 2014, pp. 107-124.
Enciclopedia del Románico, Barcelona, vol.1, Fundación Santa María la Real, Aguilar de Campoo, 2014, pp.696-707.
SERRA, R., Aproximació a la història de Puig-Reig, Montanyà, Manresa, 1982.
SERRA, R., “Guillem de Berguedà, un senyor feudal”, L’Erol, 52 (1996), pp. 13-17.