Portico de la Gloria by Master Mateo by Mary Elizabeth Podles

Column: A Thousand Words

Portico de la Gloria by Master Mateo

by Mary Elizabeth Podles

The Portico de la Gloria was originally the main entrance to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela (Figure 1), the end point of one of Christendom's principal pilgrimage routes. In the Middle Ages, wealthy European pilgrims traveled to the Holy Land to walk in the footsteps of Jesus; the comfortably well-off crossed the Alps to St. Peter's in Rome; and the rest of Europe went on foot to visit the remains of St. James at Compostela.

The portico itself (Figure 2) is enclosed in a porch-like narthex, and ha . . .