"Basilica of San Fransisco de Asis" Monserrat Tip by GentleSpirit
Monserrat, Buenos Aires: 4 reviews and 5 photos
The Fransiscan compound consists of the Basilica, the Chapel of San Roque and Convent is located in Monserrat, the oldest part of Buenos Aires. This land was deeded to the Fransiscan Order by Garay and the founders of the city in 1580.
The very first church built at the site was, like Buenos Aires in the early years, quite temporary. It seems that nobody had really made up their mind to stay for good. Anyway, the original church was made of adobe. Construction of the permanent structure didn't begin until 1730, and even then it was substantially delayed, not being completed until 1754. The present facade and the towers date from 1907, after the existing structure basically became too unsound.
The main sculpture you can see is an interesting one. It shows St Francis with the poet Dante Alghieri, the painter Giotto and Christopher Columbus kneeling. Now why would these rather different people be portrayed? It turns out that all were members of the lower orders of the Fransiscans.
As churches go this is a single nave church. Little of the original is left, there was substantial damage to the church in the riots and destruction in 1955. One of the big attractions is the large tapestry attributed to Horace Butler- The Glorification of St Francis (9x12 meters.)
Interestingly, during remodeling and restoration, the head of one of the figures on the main sculpture was found to be hollow. In it was a letter from the original artist, (Antonio Voegele) describing who had done the artisitic work, who had financed it etc.
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