Week 8: Leaving Your Mark in Salamanca

My class just reached the Romanesque period in Spanish Art History, and right now we’re talking about all of the changes in art and architecture that came with this era. One of the most interesting developments was the addition of marcas de cantero, or Mason Marks (kind of like an architectural or design signature). For example, we saw pictures of courtyards with one column curved in the opposite direction, or certain arched crosses carved into the walls of several buildings. Artists still never signed their name at that time, but having a consistent mark was their way of showing that the artwork or design came from them. (Side note – before that time, every creation was commissioned by the church, and instead of having individual artists, each project was considered a group effort. Because of that, there were never any individualized “marks” until the Romanesque period, and no real signatures until the Renaissance. Can you tell we have a test coming up in Art History?)  That got me thinking: in what ways do people leave their mark?

That question was still on my mind when we boarded the bus for an amazing weekend in Salamanca, Spain. I kept my eyes open for different ways that people had – literally or figuratively – left their signature. With the help of Laura, our History Professor, I was able to find several different ways, and with the help of my friend and roommate, Emily, I was able to make a mark of my own.

Until next time,


Names carved into the archway on the main balcony of the cathedral
A closer look at the carved signatures
In the Gothic period, people began including gargoyles in the designs of their homes and buildings. That – along with the addition of family crests in the Renaissance period – gave every home with a very distinctive signature.
Find the astronaut, and you’ll find the work of an artist who definitely wanted to leave his mark
One of my favorite ways for someone to leave their mark is by creating something beautiful, which is exactly what these composers did years ago
A closer look at the musicians’ signatures
By donating money for its creation, these noblemen left their mark on the arched tombs in the cathedral (the one on the left has a larger arch because he donated more money  in order to get a bigger “signature”)
Just like a musician can make his mark with a song, so can an author with a story. This garden, in particular, is dedicated to the story “La Celistina”.
A monument in the garden remembering the author’s charecters: Celistina, Melibea, and Calisto
People leave a mark of their love – or just pose for a picture – with a lock on the well in Calisto and Melibea’s garden (although I don’t know why – it really didn’t go so well for the two in the story).
On the back of the mirror in our hotel room, people left signatures and stories (the earliest from 1987!!!) showing that they had been there. (Also, does it concern anyone else that our hotel room apparently hadn’t been updated since 1987?)
Emily and I decided to leave our mark in Salamanca

2 thoughts on “Week 8: Leaving Your Mark in Salamanca

  1. Totally glad that you decided to leave your mark. Love the pics and the architecture…buildings will be so boring when you come home (oh, look, that one’s made of…well…brick…). Somewhere at home I think I still have one of the colorful tiles that I got from a building they were remodeling or tearing down or something. The tile was one of many in the entranceway and I loved it because it was just so colorful and not something you normally see walking into a house in the Detroit metro area. I mean, really, did you ever think looking at buildings could make you so happy?


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