Master of the Conquest of Majorca: The Conquest of Majorca (1285-1290)


(Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain)

A set of mural paintings by an unknown artist. These paintings come from the ancestral home of the Caldes family in Carrer Montcada in Barcelona, a building later known as Palau Aguilar (the Museu Picasso is now in that building). The set shows the conquest of the island of Majorca by king James I 'the Conqueror' of Aragon in 1229. The set is divided into 3 parts (reading order is from below to top):

- bottom part: the meeting of the Counts of Barcelona. This part is very damaged but what can be seen is a gathering of a group of people. This probably is the meeting of the General Court of the Principality of Catalonia on december 1228 to discuss the details of the military assault on Majorca

- middle part: The Battle of Portopí. King James gathered an army of 1,500 knights and 15,000 footsoldiers and arrived at Majorca on 9 september 1229 near Pantaleu island. The Spanish invasion force landed at midnight on September 10, 1229 at Santa Ponsa. The opposing Almohad army was deployed throughout the Portopí highlands, between the landing site and the capitol of Palma de Majorca (then known as Medina Mayurqa). A Spanish vanguard led by Guillermo II de Montcada i de Bear set off on 12 september (rumors has is that Guillermo departed with his men without waiting for the rest of the army. The Vanguard soon met the Muslim army and in the resulting fight Guillermo and his nephew Ramon de Moncada were killed. The rest of the Spanish army soon arrived and after a day of fighting managed to defeat the Muslim army which retreated to Palma de Majorca. The painting shows the mountains and trees with the Muslim army on the left. On the right Guillermo can be seen (the knight with the red and white coat-of-arms on his shield and horse

- top part: the Royal Camp and assault on the city of Majorca. Following the defeat of the Almohad army at Portopí the Spanish army besieged Palma de Majorca. The painting shows the Spanish camp on the right with the tent of king James in the center. King James is sitting in front of his tent with several advisers on his left and right (these have been identified as Nunó Sanç, count of Roselló, Guilabert de Cruïlles, Ramon de Centells and the bishop of Barcelona). Sitting in a seperate tent left of the royal tent are Hug IV of Empúries and Pero Maça, Lord of Sangarrén. The assault on Palma de Majorca itself is shown below the army camp and to its left. Palma de Majorca eventually fell on December 31, 1229 after a siege of about 3 months. Almohad resistance in the mountains of Majorca lasted for three more years.

Paintings from 1285-1290.



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