Today March 12, 2021, the decree that formalizes the declaration as an asset of cultural interest of the Colegio de la Compañía de Monforte de Lemos appears published in the DOGA, completing a process that began in the 2016. That year, the Colegio Nuestra Señora de la Antigua foundation presented a request to the Galician Government to initiate a file to declare the historic building as BIC.
The Consello da Xunta will approve today February 25 the decree that confers the BIC category to the building. Indeed, the Xunta will today approve the decree that will formalize the declaration as an asset of cultural interest (BIC) of the “Colegio de la Compañía” of Monforte de Lemos, a category that was requested by the Fundación Colegio Nª Sª de la Antigua in 2016.
After the request, the General Directorate of Cultural Heritage began the preparation of a specific report and consulted on the matter, the opinion of its advisory and consultative bodies.
Already in 2019, the file requested by the FCNSdlA was initiated and the procedures began while the protection measures established for monuments with BIC category were provisionally expanded.
The file was endorsed by a report from the Royal Galician Academy of Fine Arts and another from the Consello da Cultura Gallega that proposed a series of improvements to be taken into consideration to give greater solidity to the declaration that is materialized today.
History gives us simple gifts, and one of them has been that we can count on a saint among the teachers of this College. He is Fr. Faustino Míguez, today Saint Faustino, who governed the destinies of this center from 1875 to 1878. Indeed, when the Piarists were called to Monforte de Lemos in 1873, among the religious who came was Fr. Faustino Míguez,
It was also Saint Faustino who made the Calasancian nuns come to Monforte to attend to the education of girls, since in those days boys and girls were educated separately. Father Esteban speaks of Father Faustino in his book on the history of the College of the Piarists, who says of him: “… Father Faustino Míguez is worthy of mention, a man of extraordinary virtue and great scientific solvency.”
Taking into account the will of D. Francisco de Moure, delivered on a date that is unknown but it is known that prior to June 12, 1636, some eleven years after starting with the construction of the altarpiece of Nª Sª de la Antigua, and in a new document that seems to include a new will, previously granted orally, D. Francisco de Moure donated, to the Colegio de la Compañía, the image of Nª Sª de la Antigua, which at that time was already finished and probably installed in its place . Practically this donation implied the resignation to collect the work carried out in the same and in the face of his heirs his will that it not be included in the valuation of goods and work that remained to be collected.
We include here a fragment of the grant signed on the already indicated date of 1636:
«… now to avoid differences that may arise between your heirs, even if you leave your probate in charge of not giving rise to such differences, in the best way and in the right way, donate again ratifying the verbal donation to that refers, the happiness and image in front of my scrivano and witnesses, so that, as said, the difference that may be had between the said his heirs close of said ymagen, or the price of him if he has to enter or not in the fifth of his assets, which he has provided in said testament; … »
A few days ago our website published some images and a simple explanation of the third body of the altarpiece by D. Francisco de Moure. Today we approach the second body. This is made up of two panels with scenes from the life of the Virgin and a magnificent central image, a free interpretation in bulk of the painting by Nª Sª de la Antigua that belonged to Cardinal Rodrigo de Castro and that by his will was transferred from his personal chapel in Seville to Monforte de Lemos.
LEFT TABLE: This is the scene of the Visitation Maria finds her cousin Isabel of her at the entrance of her house, on the access stairs. At the door of the house Zacarías, Isabel’s husband observes the scene. Five other characters surround both women, two behind María, another two peering through a window and one more in dialogue with Zacarías. The execution of this panel does not respond to the quality of the layouts of D. Francisco de Moure, and it may be one of the tables made by his son.
RIGHT TABLE: Represents the Adoration of the Shepherds. Complicated composition in which, before a child Jesus on the straws, receives the adoration of the shepherds, group on the left, before the gaze of the parents of the group on the right. Over the image of Maria, an undoubtedly Galician shepherd blows a bagpipe with all his might, putting a musical background to such a silent composition. An old woman on the left lifts a wineskin, undoubtedly full of Ribeira Sacra wine. Angels in the sky and the heads of the ox and the mule on the child complete the composition.
IMAGE OF Nª Sª DE LA ANTIGUA: Impressive is the sculptural ensemble that makes up the most central scene in the altarpiece. All framed by Renaissance architectures. Mary in the center, two musician angels at her feet, another two hold a crown on the head of Our Lady who holds the baby Jesus in her left arm and entertains him with a rose that she presents with her right hand, as in picture. Wide garments that already smell like a consolidated baroque dress Maria
We illustrate this simple comment with photos of this body of the altarpiece.
In the altarpiece of the church of the College of the Piarists, we find on the bench or predella some female sculptures of exquisite beauty and delicate carving. It’s about the virtues. Walnut carvings, with a baroque attire and displaying a happy virtuosity especially in the work of the suits, headdresses and hairstyles. As an example, here are some examples that illustrate what has been said very effectively.
The third body of the altarpiece of the Colegio de Nª Sª de la Antigua de Monforte de Lemos, is made up of two panels located in the left and right streets and a sculpture of San Ignacio de Loyola.
The entire altarpiece is dedicated to the Virgin and Our Lady always appears on each of its panels, although in a different way. In the street on the left, a nice table shows us the birth of the Virgin Mary, Santa Ana in bed and San Joaquín taking care of his wife. A fire warms the room, guarded by two andirons and at the foot of the fire, undoubtedly the food in some clay pots. Other characters at the foot of the bed, a nurse who takes care of the newborn duly swaddled, as was customary, an angel, perhaps a doctor with his medicine cup….
This piece was possibly not finished by D. Francisco Moure, but by his son.
The street on the right shows us the scene of the annunciation, in which the angel Gabriel announces to Mary the plans of God and the birth of her son who will be “God with us.”
This body is completed, in its central part an image of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, of which there is evidence that it came from the hands of Francisco de Moure.
These days the bidding process for some works that mainly involve an intervention in the vault of the presbytery of the Church of Nª Sª de la Antigua is ending. The aim is to secure one of the stones that make up this vault, which has been visibly lowered since the Lisbon earthquake, which occurred on November 1, 1755.
This earthquake also produced a movement in the final arch behind the altarpiece where another stone, the keystone of said arch, must be restored.
The intervention will also affect the passage between the two cloisters that will be remodeled.
Jean Boulogne (Douai, 1529 – Florence 1608), known in Italy as Giovanni da Bologna or Giambologna for short, and in Spain as Juan de Bolonia, was a Flemish sculptor who worked in Italy at the end of the Renaissance.
He was the author of several of the most famous sculptures, in marble and bronze, on mythological themes. He also occupies a key position in the history of European sculpture, as a bridge between Michelangelo’s Renaissance and Bernini’s Baroque.
At the Colegio de Nª Sª de la Antigua we have one of his most magnificent works. It is the praying statue of Cardinal Rodrigo de Castro, funerary bronze. In Spain there are only two works by Juan de Bolonia, one ours, the other the equestrian statue of Felipe III, well known and located in the Plaza Mayor of Madrid
At the end of last year, a magnificent model of the school building was donated by the family of Mr. José Luis Iglesias Fernández, a former student of our school. This model does not respond to the reality of the building, but to the initial project of Cardinal Rodrigo de Castro, that is, a building with four cloisters.
This model is dated by a plaque between 1990 and 1991, years between which José Luis Iglesias carried out this precious work that measures 1 meter in width, weighs around fifty kilos and responds to a ratio of 1/100.
FCNSdlA sincerely appreciates the gesture of the author’s family. After the previous preventive disinsection treatment, it will be placed in a suitable place to be contemplated by those who visit us seeking to learn more about the legacy of Cardinal Rodrigo de Castro.