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Sant Quirze de Pedret

Sant Quirze de Pedret is a small medieval church found in central Catalonia, in the Berguedà region, a mountainous area close to the foothills of the Pyrenees. Nearby flows the Llobregat River, one of the main river axes of the territory, which crosses a splendid medieval stone bridge, and an important ancient road is not far away.

The church has undergone several architectural and decorative changes throughout its history. Built at the end of the 9th century as a single nave with quadrangular apse, it was subsequently enlarged with two lateral aisles and their corresponding apses, both horseshoe shaped. For a relatively brief period, its walls were adorned with two successive pictorial figurative campaigns, one early medieval and the other Romanesque.

Such endeavours suggest a sustained patronage, which was maintained at least until the 12th century. Despite the apparent modesty of the architecture of the temple that houses it, the quality and ambition of the Romanesque mural decoration is outstanding, without any parallel in the context of medieval Pyrenean mural painting. The religious message takes artistic forms of a complex iconography that shows the careful choice of an unknown promoter, whether secular or religious.

After the church’s re-discovery the frescoes were mostly removed in a series of detachment campaigns. Part of the fresco decoration survives on site while the rest is preserved between the museums of Barcelona and Solsona.

monument timeline

Late 9th century

Earliest church: one nave with a quadrangular vaulted apse.

Mid 10th century

Building enlargement: two lateral aisles with vaulted horseshoe-shaped apses are addes.

Mid 10th century/early 11th century

First pictorial traces. In the main apse two saints, each surmounted by a crown, one of those cross- shaped. In the central nave an isolated Crucifixion.

11th century

A series of interventions are carried out that,however, do not alter the structure of the building.

Late 11th century, or first quarter of the 12th century

The earlier pictorial phase is covered by Romanesque-style frescoes . An apocalyptic cycle, quite unusual for Romanesque churches in the Pyreneans, decorates the main apse. Other scenes worthy of mention: two hagiographic scenes of the martyr patron Saint Cyricus and his mother Julita, on the main arch; the parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins and a unique personification of the Church on the south apsidiole; a new Crucifixion covering the previous one.

13th century

A catastrophic incident changes the appearance of the building. Most of the Romanesque paintings were hidden behind new walls. Only the frescoes in the south apse were left uncovered.


P.-A. Brutails publishes the first Catalan Pyrenean Romanesque frescoes: S. Martin of Fenollà and La Clusa


First published paper about the rediscovered frescoes of Pedret: Muns, F., 1887. “Sant Quirze de Pedret”, Certamen Catalanista de la Joventut Catòlica de Barcelona: 305-327

20th century

Throughout the 20th century many Catalan frescoes were unveiled and, from 1919, removed using the strappo technique, to preserve them.


First strappo campaign at Pedret. Deposition of the frescoes in the north and south apses, which are sent to the National Art Museum of Catalonia (Barcelona).


During the 1936-1939 War. Deposition of the two layers of frescoes on the main apse and the Romanesque one on the arch and storage in Barcelona. Unfortunately, the two Crucifixions disappeared.

August 30th, 1939

The detachedfrescoes of the main apse are sent to the Diocesan and County Museum of Solsona.


The isolated church of Sant Quirze is ceded by the diocese of Solsona to the municipality of Cercs. First restoration campaign directed by architect Camil Pallàs.


Second restoration campaign directed by architect Camil Pallàs.


The local heritage service of the Provincial Deputation of Barcelona starts an intensive restoration campaign of the complex, including an archaeological dig, directed by architect Antoni González.


Rediscovery of the deep layers and some little parts of the frescoes, the only ones preserved in situ. The reproduction of the frescoes in the main and south apses, however, destroys part of the deep layers.


Musealization of the building and inauguration of the works.


To figure out how the medieval painted walls of this church looked, we must visit three separate places: Pedret, Barcelona and Solsona. Today, Sant Quirze de Pedret is a fragmented monument, and its study resembles solving a puzzle with missing and separate pieces. This is the problem we want to solve with EHEM.