UNKNOWN MASTER, Catalan
(beginning of 14th century)

Tomb of Don Sancho Saiz de Carillo (detail)

c. 1300
Tempera on wood, 51 x 86 cm
Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya, Barcelona

The linear style is remarkable for its subtlety. It is characterized, particularly in northern Spain, by undulating rhythms and a refined color scale. The backgrounds, in which architecture, furniture, and occasionally utensils are schematically represented, are in monochrome, but the figures that occupy the foreground have an expressive humanity, very different from the hieratic formalism of the past. A typical and very ancient example of the calligraphic style is the decoration of the tomb of Don Sancho Saiz de Carrillo (Barcelona Museum). This comes from Mahamud (Burgos) and marks the beginning of the Gothic style in Castile.