Chronological framework11th century
Geographical FrameworkCamarasa (La Noguera)
Architecture (?) Sculpture (?)
Profile and historiographical debate
Avoli's identity is known through an epigraphic inscription, now disappeared, which was preserved in the southern portal of the church of Sant Miquel of Camarasa (Lleida):
A:M AVOLI ME FECIT: A(nno) m(ille) Avoli me fecit [In the year 1000 Avoli made me].
The epigraphic text was transcribed in the 18th century by Jaume Pascual and Francisco de Zamora.
“En la iglesia antigua de la villa de Camarasa se lee la inscripción siguiente sobre el portal principal de la parte del mediodía. Es obra soberbia, aunque actualmente, es decir, en el año 1770 en que la he visto y copiado, dicha inscripción está apunto de caerse, ni se celebra en ella. Está en forma de cruz aunque no perfecta, por ser la capillas del crucero demasiado anchas. Dice así: A:M AVOLI ME:FECIT" (Pasqual, J. XI, foli 24).
“En lo más alto había antes un castillo, de que quedan dos torres y la iglesia antigua, que también estaba encastillada. Esta iglesia está perfectamente trabajada de piedra de sillería, con adornos de columnas cuyos chapiteles están trabajados. Igualmente se halla adornada por fuera y asimismo lo está su portada. Es una de las mejores obras que yo he visto hacer en su tiempo, y encima de la puerta, que está bien adornada, dice claramente, en caracteres de su tiempo «Año M Avoli me fecit». Dentro de esta iglesia hay una urna sepulcral y parte que había de otra. Según nos dijeron se ha abandonado esta iglesia haciendo una nueva, porque esta se hundía” (Zamora, F. de, 1973, p. 224).
In the old church of the town of Camarasa, the following inscription can be read above the main doorway of the southern side. It is a superb work, although currently, i.e. in the year 1770 when I have seen and copied it, the inscription is about to fall down, nor is it celebrated in it. It is in the form of a cross, although not perfect, as the transept chapels are too wide. It reads as follows: A:M AVOLI ME:FECIT (Pasqual, J. XI, foli 24).
At the top there used to be a castle, of which two towers and the old church, which was also castellated, remain. This church is perfectly worked in ashlar stone, decorated with columns whose capitals are worked. It is also embellished on the outside, and same is its portal. It is one of the best works I have seen done in its time, and above the door, which is well decorated, it clearly says, in characters of its time, "Año M Avoli me fecit". Inside this church there is a sepulchral urn and part of another one. According to what we were told, this church has been abandoned and a new one built, because this one was collapsing" (Zamora, F. de, 1973, p. 224).
It is worth remembering that the term FECIT was frequently used in inscriptions that have the value of "signatures". Due to its polysemic nature, this formula can refer to both the commissioner and the artist, i.e. the intellectual author or the material. However, from the beginning of the 12th century onwards, the formula FECIT was generally used mainly to refer to the material author (MINEO 2015), the artist, while FIERI IVSSIT (see the voice FIERI IVSSIT) was used for the patron.
As for the identity, although historiography has traditionnally accepted Avoli as the “material author” of the portal, given the sparseness of the inscription and the early dating (year 1000), it’s difficult to know what Avoli’s real role in the construccion was.
Documentary information about the church of Camarasa are scarce. In the Arxiu Capitular d’Urgell there are two copies, one from the 12th century and one from the 13th century, of the consacration act of the church of Sant Pere of Camarasa (1058), a templum preceding the present one. According to this document, this temple was consecreted by the bishop Guillem Guifré de la Seu d'Urgell by order of the Counts of Barcelona Ramon Berenguer I and Almodis. The church that has come down to us and which was described by Pascual and by Zamora corresponds to a building contructed between the end of the 12th century and the first quarter of the 13th century.
The early date of the inscription (Year 1000) suggests that Camarasa probably had a templum, prior to the one consecrated in the year 1058. In this first romanesque templum, of which no documentary information is known, a person named Avoli took part (the patron? the master builder? the sculptor?) whose memory was remembered in the successive temples.
Portal of the church of Sant Pere of Camarasa.
A * M AVOLI ME * FECIT
A(nno) m(ille) Avoli me fecit
In the year 1000 Avoli made me
Text: Carles Sánchez
ZAMORA 1785-90. Ed.1973: 224; PASCUAL 1775-1825: vol. XI, fol. 24; PUIG I CADAFALCH, FALGUERA I GODAY, 1909-18 (1983), III. 1: 427-432; FOLCH I TORRES 1931: 90-93; JUNYENT 1960-61, II: 32; AINAUD 1973: 169-171; CARBONELL 1974-75, II: 70; JUNYENT 1976: 257; ESPAÑOL 1994: 313-321; ESPAÑOL-YARZA 2007: 42; CAMPS 2011:62-68; SÁNCHEZ 2014: 33-45; MINEO 2015: 106-112.