Saturday, September 22, 2007

Quito And La Compania De Jesus

From a blog called Alicia's Wanderings, Alicia stumbled upon La Compania De Jesus.

I arrived to my cozy new Quito home, El Hotel Revolución, late in the evening. The place has a warm, comforting vibe, and although Señor Che Guevera’s photo is featured prominently in many rooms, there has not yet, despite the place’s name, been any mandatory donning of communist arm bands. The hotel has two unofficial mascots that add to the ambiance: a feral, un-named fluffy gray feline, and a golden springer spaniel, Shakira. I spent the first half of my first full day in Quito the way any eager, curious tourist would—unconscious. I finally managed to roust myself from the fog of jet lag around noon however, and headed out to explore Quito’s charming colonial-style Old Town—a maze of brightly painted buildings with flower-adorned white balconies sprinkled among pleasantly crowded town squares, and ornately decorated cathedrals.In the La Compañia de Jesús—a Jesuit church built in 1605, a volunteer guide showed me around the interior and the adjoining museum of religious paintings and artifacts. In the beautifully painted rotunda over the central altar, a ring of angels surrounded a ring of famous Jesuit priests, which surrounded an expansive, brilliantly colored sun—an example of the blending of indigenous celestial worship with the new-kid-in-town Catholicism religion. My guide was most excited, however, to show off the extensive collection of disturbingly realistically constructed crucifixes in the museum collection—each one appropriately titled “The Agony of Christ.” Each figure was more graphic than the next--looking less like the traditional aesthetic crucification victim, and more like the unlucky recipient of nasty bar fight. “Beautiful detail, no?” She said animatedly, pointing to a gash across the kidneys.

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1 comment:

Padre Steve said...

I am in Quito right now and it really is a beautiful church! I have never seen a church so ornate, old, and well cared for!