The Pilgrims Shrine

Pilgrim’s shrine The

Pilgrim’s shrine The

THE SANCTUARY: HISTORY AND ARCHITECTURE Located in the center of the city of Pontevedra, at the foot of the Portuguese Way to Santiago, it is a benchmark within the city. Its construction began in 1778 and blessed for worship in 1794 presents a curious plant in the form of a scallop shell in which is inscribed a cross. It mixes different styles: baroque, rococo, neoclassicism... Its exterior architecture, the altarpiece, the atrium that precedes it perimeter by balustrade with pinnacles or the shell of mollusk brought from the Pacific by Méndez Núñez and that makes the functions of a pile of holy water give an idea of the beauty and peculiarity of this building. CENTRAL NAVE ATRIUM SACRISTY SACRISTY TOWER TOWER DOME Entrance  MAIN CHAPEL CIRCULAR TRIBUNE PLANT

It can be said that its origin appears linked to the appearance in Pontevedra of the cult of the Pilgrim Virgin. This began in the disappeared chapel of the Virgen del Camino where the Pilgrim was venerated and had her own altar by the artist Gaspar de Canle. His cult, promoted by the Congregation of the Pilgrim, was gaining in popularity in the city causing friction with the Congregation of the Virgin of the Way owner of the chapel. All this causes that, in the face of the clashes between the two, the City Council prohibits worship and alms in favor of the Pilgrim Virgin and, since November 1776, decrees to remove the image of the Virgin and all her belongings from the chapel of the Virgen del Camino and that they be transferred to another church or chapel, even suggesting that some of the vacant land that ORIGIN OF THE SANCTUARY

the City Council owns be used. So on December 5 the image is transferred to a plot to the left of the door of Trabancas, but the Brotherhood does not consider it the best to build the chapel because if it is built near the wall, they would need a lot of money to avoid the filtration of the waters that it presents, in addition to the chapel would be confused with the wall. For this reason and without prejudice to using the site indicated for what suits them, they ask to be granted a new site that may be a wasteland that is in front of the door of Trabancas. Thus, on December 13, the construction of the chapel made of wood begins, being completed on the 23rd and celebrating the inaugural mass on December 24. The total cost of the work was 1813 reales and 6 maravedís, to which we must add 186 reales and 24 maravedís spent on other equipment and services of the chapel (falores, petos, glasses, candlesticks, stonemasons' wages and clarines and drums for the transfer of the image). From the beginning of the construction of the wooden Chapel, it was clear that this was to be a provisional construction, and that the ultimate goal was to build a temple in stone that would welcome the image of the Virgin and her devotees with dignity. Thus, on June 18, 1778, the first stone of the current Sanctuary was laid in the new location that was granted to them, following plans by Antonio Souto although no document has been found that accredits the execution of the work by this master. The beginning of the work was paid with alms of the faithful and funds of the brotherhood. Construction was completed in 1792, probably under the direction of a new master builder named Isidro Martínez. A year later the bells, the door, the stained glass windows and, later, the atrium are placed. Two years later, on August 2, 1794, and after sixteen years of works, the sanctuary was blessed by the parish priest of San Bartolomé D. José Gaspar Bermúdez. OUTER SANCTUARY It presents an original convex façade of abstract decoration that follows the contours of a circular plant with a cross end, recalling the shape of a scallop shell. This circular shape is associated with the most widespread typology in the Portuguese temples of the time. Its slender curved façade is divided into three bodies clearly differentiated by very baroque flown cornices that produce effects of light and shadows: 1. Lower section. It is the more classic of the two and almost twice the wingspan of the upper one. In its center at the bottom is the door and above it a semicircular arch with stained glass (whose function is to give light to the lobby). Above the arch we find a window

framed in a molding and on it a triangular pediment. All this is framed by four large pilasters whose length covers the entire lower body. On the sides of these pilasters we find on each side a porthole and on them two windows with triangular pediment on top. 2. Upper body. More monumental and more decorated than the lower one, it houses three niches with a semicircular arch separated by columns. In the central one is the stone image of the Pilgrim Virgin with pedestal and on the sides the images of Santiago Apostol and San Roque. It includes a unique ornamentation with two rows of ovoid figures placed under the central niche. A central pediment split with the allegorical statue of the Faith and a balustrade decorated with pinnacles crown the building. 3. Body of the towers. On the great cornice that separates it from the second body appears a large pediment split with an allegorical figure of the Faith on a sorrow in its

central part. On both sides of the pediment, there are the towers that are the most baroque part of the façade, and that have three different parts: a first massive quadrangular; a second quadrangular that houses the bells with four semicircular arches separated by columns and a third octagonal with eight semicircular arches, crowned by a cupulin. The sanctuary on the outside is crowned by a cupulin that rises above the central vault, and that externally is octagonal with attached pilasters and an oculus in each space and a ball as a finish. In front of the Sanctuary appears the atrium, which has undergone some remodeling over time. Thus in the 1880s, the atrium with original fountain was then replaced by a large staircase. The set of singular typism and beauty that currently make up the atrium and the fountain that precedes it –recovered much more recently according to the restoration project of the year 1953-1954– is currently presided over by the effigy of Teucro in front of a cross. This effigy would be installed in 1956, two years after the fountain was finished. Teucro –Hellenic hero of the Trojan War– is the one who, according to a Renaissance legend, founded the city of Pontevedra. INTERIOR SANCTUARY The interior of the Sanctuary presents three different spaces: 1. Entrance portico. It acts as a lobby and allows access to the interior. It has a vault of edge and two ochavos and on it there is a small high choir. Here we find an original pile of holy water made with a giant bivalve shell that Admiral D. Casto Méndez Núñez, illustrious Pontevedra sailor, sent from the Pacific in gratitude for his recent victory in the Battle of Mindanao (Philippines) in 1861. 2. Central body. It consists of four pilasters with a shaft of eight stretch marks and a capital of Tuscan order. Above them the large cornice of the ring of the dome that gives rise to a wide circular tribune with an iron railing. The vault is half orange with twelve nerves, in groups of three and separated by four windows, which go to the base of the lantern that has eight eyes and on it a cupulin of eight nerves. 3. The main chapel. With rectangular plan, and on it a lowered ribbed vault. In 1964 the interior of the Sanctuary was covered with red marble (later removed in 1981) and the existing altars on the sides of the chapel were removed. In the inventory of 1837 there is the existence of an altar dedicated to San Rafael. The other was dedicated to Our Lady of the Afflicted. At an unknown date both altarpieces would be replaced by two others,

THE MAIN ALTARPIECE Its design dates from 1789, although the construction of it would not be carried out until several years after the completion of the civil work, specifically in 1814. When the temple was inaugurated in 1794, a small altar was installed in it (probably the same one that Gaspar de Canle had made in 1757 for the Chapel of the Virgen del Camino). The current altarpiece, in neoclassical style, is made of painted wood that resembles marble. It was designed by the academic architect Melchor de Prado. The realization of the same was not, however, entrusted to said academic, but to his younger brother, Manuel Francisco de Prado y Mariño, who faithfully followed the original plans. The realization of the altarpiece as reflected in the inventory of 1835-1836, one dedicated to the Virgen del Carmen and the other to San José, which are those removed in 1964. THE MAIN ALTARPIECE AND THE PILGRIM VIRGIN The cult of the Virgin under the invocation of Peregrina, always appears next to the roads of Santiago either by neighborhood initiative, a parish priest or a brotherhood. The iconographic model that emerges, although it is somewhat variable, is usually of a sculpture of round bulge with his son on the left arm, carrying on the right a staff decorated with pumpkins. On the head a hat well of felt, or of straw. In general, the figure is decorated with scallop shells, a universal symbol of the pilgrimage to the tomb of the Apostle.

cost 23,000 reais, and would be completed later by Juan Pernas Gambino –who made some of the sculptural elements–, and by Manuel García, responsible for the polychromy and gilding. Developed in height, the altarpiece is of a single body, and is located between two pairs of tall and smooth Corinthian columns arranged on different levels. In front of them are two morbid angels painted white carrying pilgrim's sticks with a small golden pumpkin. All this topped by a pediment under which is the dressing room of the Pilgrim Virgin, and on it, a large vaulted medallion, supported by angels, polychrome in cold tones that represents one of the Pilgrimages included in the novena of the Virgin, the Flight to Egypt. In front of the altarpiece we find the main altar, also of neoclassical style of painted wood, resembling marble. ORIGIN OF THE CARVING IN PONTEVEDRA The first image of the Pilgrim Virgin that was venerated in Pontevedra, was placed on its altar of the disappeared Chapel of the Virgen del Camino since August 2, 1776 and was inspired by following the model provided by Bernardo José de Mier from a print that reflects a Pilgrim Virgin dated in 1688 that is venerated in the Franciscan Seminary College of Missions of Sahagún de Campos in León (to the which was donated by a group of Sevillian merchants), out of the workshop of Mrs. Luisa Roldán (La Roldana). For its realization a budget was requested in Noia but finally the author of this first image was the Pontevedra José de Torres. Later, Miguel Godoy was commissioned to commission his painting –together with the crosier and the stamp of the banner–. It is recorded that the cost of this first virgin dress, like the one venerated in Sahagún, was 1,455 reais. Its characteristics are known thanks to an inventory dated 1805, deducing therefore that it must have been carried out around that year. Later the image of the Child was carved by José Pernas Gambino in 1814 to replace the initial one, most likely due to its state of deterioration. On February 10, 1867 the Board of the Brotherhood urgently agreed to renew the head and hands of the image

of the Virgin before the state of deterioration they present. They propose the work to the then considered the best Galician sculptor of the time, Juan Sanmartín de la Serna, who in a letter of February 19 declines the commission due to the large number of works he had, and for which it would be completely impossible for him to finish it within the period of time that the Congregation required. He also recommended that instead of new parts being made for the current bust, it would be much better to sculpt a new figure so that it would be harmonious and in accordance with the artistic conditions that every work of art and religious should have to be worthy of that dignified city and the cult that was paid to it. Given the impossibility of Juan Sanmartín accepting the commission, at a meeting on March 1, 1867, he proposed to propose the work to the Catalan sculptor Luis Vermell and thus take advantage of his stay in the city of Pontevedra to carry it out. He accepted the work of remaking the deteriorated parts of the current image, but that, as Sanmartín had done, he

recommended making the entire image again, which was finally accepted by the Congregation. On May 7, 1867 the carving was finished, work for which Luis Vermell would receive 1,280 reais. Immediately a budget was requested for the polychrome of the same in Santiago to the artistand painter Vilarelle, who received 320 reais for the work done, being delivered on July 9, 1867. This image of the Virgin is the one that we can see in her dressing room of the Sanctuary.

DI SEÑO Y MAQUETACIÓN Sanctuary of the Pilgrim Virgin Pilgrim Square, s/n. 36001 Pontevedra www.cofradiavirgenperegrina.es i . santuaro PEREGRINA D A O DI SEÑO Y MAQUETACIÓN ©

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