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.