Mosque–Cathedral of Córdoba

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Mosque–Cathedral of Córdoba
Interior view of the mosque at Cordova [sic].

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Source:
The Getty Research Institute, the Internet Archive

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Description

View or the interior of the Mosque–Cathedral of Córdoba, also known as the Mezquita, built between 784 and 987. This plate is commented as follows by the author:

Nothing can be more striking than the view presented to the spectator, on his first entrance into this magnificent temple; which has, not inaptly, been compared to a forest of columns disposed in the form of a quincunx. […]

The columns at present are about eight hundred and fifty in number; and are formed of granite, porphyry, jasper, and other marbles, exhibiting an assemblage of various and brilliant colours. The whole, taken together, presents a scene so truly unique, that the visitor is at a loss, whether to admire most their number, or their richness: but, from the variety of styles prevailing in the different parts of which these columns are composed, it is evident that they originally belonged to different nations and ages. Many of them were taken from Roman edifices; which being of various lengths, the Arabian architect supplied the want of a sufficient quantity of capitals and bases, by imitating those which were before his eyes. […]

On a slight inspection of Plate V. it may perhaps strike the observer, that the general effect would have been improved, and the perspective heightened, by the introduction of a little more light from above: but, had such a correction been made, our engraving would not have been a faithful representation of the solemn and majestic interior of the Mosque at Cordova. A “dim, religious light” is admitted into it, by the doors on the sides, and from several small cupolas above; which falls upon some parts of this immense edifice, while others are left in awful darkness. Individuals, walking through this forest of columns may, by an ardent imagination, not unaptly be compared to wandering spirits—their persons may readily be distinguished, but their footsteps cannot be heard.

The title page of this book mentions 1813 as the date of publication and it is the one we chose to follow, as being officially provided by the publisher. It should be noted, however, that every plate in the book comes with the following inscription: London. Published by Cadell & Davies. June 1st. 1815.
In addition, the page facing the first illustration mentions the “just published” History of the Mahometan Empire in Spain by Thomas Hartwell Horne, a book which was first published in 1816. Therefore, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to believe that the actual date of publication of the edition presented here might have been 1816 and not 1813.

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