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Cusco Cathedral

Cusco Peru

Cusco Cathedral or Cathedral Basilica of the Virgin of the Asumption , is the main temple of the city of Cusco in Peru, and hosts the headquarters of the Diocese of Cusco.

History of the Cusco Cathedral

The Cusco Cathedral is the result of several proyects designed by different architects , who in a very short time were relieved at the head of the works. The first Cusco Cathedral is the Church of the Triumph, built in 1539 on the basis of the Viracocha Inca palace. Today this church is an auxiliary chapel of the Cathedral.

Between 1560 and 1664 the Basilica Cathedral was built in this city. Its construction was entrusted to Juan Miguel de Veramendi in 1560, who was replaced two years later by Juan Correa . This was followed by other teachers , until 1615 there took charge of the direction of the work Miguel Gutierrez Sencio , an architect follower of Marco Vitruvio and Jacopo Vignola , and admirer of the sober and pure style introduced by Juan Herrera in the Monastery El Escorial. Under his direction the Cusco Cathedral was completed in 1649.

The construction material was a stone from nearby areas and also reused blocks of red granite from the fortess known as Sacsayhuaman. It was recognize as a minor Basilica of the Catholic Church., the February 8, 1928.

The construction of three ships , stands on a loungetype plant . A surprising detail is the fusion between the order of the capitals and friezes , the type of covering used and the vault ribbed, charasteristic of the Gotic. This leads to an amazing amalgam of styles prevalent in the Baroque style in Latin America.

This cathedral of renaissance and baroque interior facade , lategothic and plateresque, owns one of the most outstanding examples of colonial goldsmith . Carved wooden altars, are also important.

Since in this city was developed the painting on canvas in the so called Cusco School of painting , precisely in the cathedral you can see mayor exhibitions of local artists of the time.

Cathedral. Cusco Peru

Cusco Cathedral Peru

The Church "Cusco Cathedral"

The design is shaped by the base of a latin cross , the facade is of renaissance style, very ornamental, and inside is also renaissance, you can find the best expressions of colonial jewerly, wood carvings of cedar and alder , as the pulpit , and as valuable collection of paintings from the Cusco School . Accompanying their sides two auxiliary chapels: The Triumph and Jesus, Mary and Joseph.

Due to the crucial period in which was built , the Cusco Cathedral inherits the hybrid gothic-renaissance of the great spanish Cathedrals of the 16th century, adding to it the irruption of the baroque style patent by its great home- altarpeace and its monumnetal towers.

As in Lima, his plant-lounge is three ships with two sections of lateral chapels and a flat front wall. Its vaults taken from late gothic, rest in cruciform pillars of renaissance style . Here, everything is of stone and this material provides a sense of enormous strength, that makes it different from the lighteness characteristic of the Lima Cathedral. Many of its stone blocks were of Inca origin and were brought from the nearby fortress of Sacsayhuaman.

The mayor altar made of silver is one of the later works of the set, it is shaped canopy and expresses the introduction of the neoclassical style in the city. It eas built in the period 1792 1803 by the architec Villegas and the silversmith Pinelo under the patronage of bishop Bartolomé María de las Heras.

Despite the sobriety of his colums , many of its decoratives elements still seem to cling to the baroque tradition so deeply rooted in the city. All the side chapels are closed by impressive golden gates and coronations with sizes alluding to the title hoder. In the Epistle side (right) deserve mention the altars of the venerated Lord of the Tremors , with its wealth of gold and silver offerings as well as that of the Virgen of Remedies, Valencian devotion introduced by the spanish Alonso de Monroy y Cortés. Also on this side is the so called Chapel of the Silverware were there is an impressive sample of the cathedral treausure . Its most precious jewel is the enormous silver shrine that serves as a walking procession for the Corpus Christi, donated in 1731 by the bishop monk Bernardo de Serrada.

On the opposite side of the gospel (left) stand out the chapels of the Inmaculate Virgin , called The Pretty One , official patroness of the city from the sixteenth century and that of the apostle James.

On the front wall, the altar of the Holy Trinity shelters the famous painting of the Virgin of the Hawk, designed by Bernardo Bitti circle .

According to the arraingement of the main cathedrals of Spain, the chairs of the choirs are located in the main hall facing the major altar. Its rich baroque carving attributed to master Giménez de Villareal , dating from the late seventeenth century and is one of the crowning achievements of the junction of Cusco. In the retrochoir there are some chapels , like the one dedicated to Our Lady of Antigua, and the outsides are decorated with big paintings of Basilio Santa Cruz on the Virgin of Bethlem and the Virgin of the Almudena, by the Bishop Mollinedo and the kings of Spain as donors.

One of the most lavishly decorated premises of the whole building is the sacristy , from its entrance wearing a series of allegorical paintings on the church by Marcos Zapata in the mid eighteenth century . Inside furniture, carvings, and paintings create a baroque atmosphere of great effect. One of the walls is covered by a large altarpiece that frames a famous painting of the Agony of Christ, traditionally known as the Christ of Van Dyck, based on a model of this Flemish master . Also stored here a complete gallery of portraits of the bishops who have governed the diocese from monk Vicente de Valverde.

Cathedral. Cusco Peru

Cusco Cathedral Peru

Pictorial series

At the time of Bishop Mollinedo Cathedral received its greatest decorative, contributions both paintings executed by indigenous grandmasters and altarpieces. The favorite of the Bishop was Basilio Santa Cruz, author of the large canvases that decorate both arms of the transept executed 1691-1693. It's ambitious Baroque compositions that develop theological allegory or devotions promoted by the Counter-Reformation. The most notable include "the imposition of the chasuble San Ildefonso" and "The miracle of San Isidro Labrador".

Santa Cruz's rival, Diego Quispe Tito, is no less famous series of the Zodiac, finished in 1681, which is now saved in the silver Chapel. It is a work of maturity which displays huge technical skill of the master and his adaptation to compositional models and colouring of Flemish origin.

Some of the central pillars exhibit paintings by another indigenous artist, Antonio Sinchi Roca, a descendant of the Inca nobility coming of maras. His paintings represent the evangelists, prophets and Kings of Israel.

The largest 18th century pictorial company are the fifty canvasses on the litanies Lauretanas executed master Marcos Zapata in 1755. These paintings decorate the top of the Cathedral, covering the net arches of the aisles as sacristy. Its formal conventions and predilection for red and blue colors are characteristic of the style of Zapata, who exercised great influence in the region.


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