The astrophysicist of NASA that reconstructed Sigena, the Sistine Chapel of the Romanesque

Nothing is what seems in the dream of Sigena, the documentary that tells the reconstruction of the Romanesque paintings of the monastery that he built in the Mo

The astrophysicist of NASA that reconstructed Sigena, the Sistine Chapel of the Romanesque

Nothing is what seems in the dream of Sigena, the documentary that tells the reconstruction of the Romanesque paintings of the monastery that he built in the Monegros Sancha de Castilla and that today was released at the Seminci de Valladolid (as of November 8, first passes in commercial cinemas). The film, directed by Jesús Garcés Lambert, has the aspect of a sentimental history, a story of those in whom someone, tozudo and carefree for money, pursues a childhood sleep that allows him to reconcile with his memory. Afterwards, it becomes something very similar to an academic research and, in the end, in a film of mystery that in its penultimate scene reveals a secret.

How can all this be sewn? Juan Naya, an Aragonian astrophysician, ancient employee of NASA, today businessman and protagonist and co-producer of the documentary, is the sleep man. The best years of his childhood were modest: he passed his grandmother in Villanueva de Sigena, the neighboring town to the monastery (often written with J, Sijana) who built Sancha of Castile around 1200 and that anarchist combatants looted and burned at 1936. His ruins became the dreamed camelot by Naya during his childhood and his obsession in adult life. In 2007, he found a book with ancient images of the monastery chapter room, the so-called "Sistine Chapel of Romanesque". Her's commitment, since then, was replicating the room, rebuilding her in her exact dimensions and with the range of blue and gold of her frescoes and cédonados that was once lost.

And so it was how the story of Naya became another thing, in an investigation that started by some very precarious tracks. Information about Sigena's monastery was scarce: some fragments exposed in the MNAC of Barcelona, some black and white photographs, some watercolors of art students a century ago, some written description ...

"Time has erased how much this place meant," explains Juan Naya to the world. "How could something like such a place like this?" Villanueva de Sigena is no privileged scenario: far from everything, half steppe and medias desert, without mountains, no water, nor nearby cities ... "And it was here where Sancha de Castilla, married to Alfonso II, First King of Aragon , related to King of Castile, with Leonor de Aquitaine and with Ricardo Heart de León, installed a center of power, a court for the elite of the time that was extraordinarily cosmopolitan, "says Naya.

The moment also matters. "Sancha ordered to build the convent in 1220, the same time of the fall of Jerusalem, when Christians lost their kingdom in Holy Land, it was a very important moment in the history of Christianity, between the Holy War of East and that of Spain ". From one opposite the other, a flow of knowledge and professionals that crossed Europe came into movement and who went through Sigena.

And that is the track that Juan Naya followed for 12 years, looking for English, Sicily, Arab, Byzantine artists and beyond those who had worked on the monastery as bearers of something like an international style of the 13th century. "An example: we discovered that what we thought were the Mudejar roofs of the Chapter Room were not: they had more to do with the work of Arab artisans," explains Naya.

Sigena's dream also has a part of action film: after each historiographic finding, Naya and his collaborators put down to work to advance his replica of the Chapter Room. When there were certain references to know how the aforementioned Arab roofs, an artist of Úbeda, Paco Luis Martos, began to carve and paint with blue and gold arabesques a primewood craftsmanship. When there was certainty of what the model of the frescoes was, an equalized design studio replied with a touching precision, brush brush hair.

And so, each piece of the puzzle that found his site allowed a little more advancing into the comprehension of the whole: "The room was very well thought out, gathered the three religions of the Old Testament and addressed them towards a demonstration that Jesus is the Son Of God, "explains Naya. Thus, until the final discovery, which is like the outcome of mystery novels: it is always within reach but it is only revealed at the end.

Naya's research will become, as well as film, in academic study. And there is another fruit: the replica in the natural size of the Chapter Room, a space of 8.5 per 17 meters sparked by five arches that, according to its impeller, "leaves enraptured by its beauty." His desire is that this piece of jewelry ends on public exhibition.

There is only to ask for the political discussion that in recent years has affected the Sigena relics, claimed by the Government of Aragon of its current residence in Catalonia. "When they left Aragon, they did it in custody, that means that their owner is still the monastery. I am Aragonese, I would like my land to expose the richness of its history, but that depends on what judges decided advised by the technicians "Naya ends.

Updated Date: 08 November 2021, 15:12

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