A cross, a crossing | José Valladares


To the left side the wonderful plane of Santiago de Compostela that Juan Lopez Freire realized as far back as 1796, in those years apparently master builder of the city. Of the same one has been outlined often the attention with which the urban form is drawn, and that we recognize still today in any plane of Compost Her: the streets and the squares, the sets claustrales of the monastic orders, the churches and the hamlet show themselves with the same precision that the territory that makes a detour to the city. This way, the streets are diluted in the ways that penetrate little by little in the territory outside and the built-up thing opens gradual way to cultures, gardens and forests, and all this is drawn by the same detail and interest that the interior enclosure of the city. It seemed to be at the time that Santiago could not already as far back as the end of the 18th century be understood without his field, and this one not have raison d’être without the city to which it was feeding.

But what brings today here this plane and what puts it in relation with the image that is to the right, is not the entire city represented in him but only a detail, a fragment of the drawn set: in the central part of the plane there appears the great Latin cross of the cathedral – in this moment already fullly baroque – and if we notice with attention we will see that the space of this cross, the interior space of the cathedral in the end, shows itself as a prolongation of the exterior spaces that surround it, of the streets and squares that surround her. The interior of the great church is not but a public covered space, and beyond his sacred character us one appears as a continuation of the spaces opened of the city, with his hustle and his trajín. A space a cross to be crossed-, then a crossing – a space of refuge and of social relation also, a great lounge to cutlery of the outdoors, of the rain, the Sun and the wind. And this interior space that Juan Lopez Freire could see that way so beautiful, was painted this way, of the same form, approximately 150 years before, in a place removed of Compost Her, for a painter who today would seem to us to be waved by a strange obsession, obsession that for Pieter Neefs ” the major one ” was not surely anything any more than his trade: to paint again and again the interior of the cathedral of Antwerp, the city where it had born and where he died. His numerous pictures of interiors of the church portray her by night and by day, in his liturgical acts and in his daily life, in which the interior of the temple gathers the time of the city everything, interior in which Pieter Neefs could see the prayer and the concentration, but also stroll of the people, the conversation and up to to run and the despulgarse of the dogs and the game of the children, the same life that also Juan Freire felt in the great church of Santiago almost century and a half later on having drawn it that way in his plane.

José Valladares
santiago de compostela. november 2012

Left Image: Juan López Freire_ Santiago de Compostela_Plane 1796
Right Image: Pieter Neefs “el mayor”_Interior Amberes Cathedral_ca.1640_ V&A Museum_ London

José Valladares Durán

Arquitecto por la ETSA Barcelona, 1996 y socio fundador del estudio rvr arquitectos ubicado en Santiago de Compostela.

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