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Convent, School and Church of the Congregated

Convent, School and Church of the Congregated

Convent, School and Church of the Congregated (Convento, Colégio e Igreja dos Congregados), also known as “Congregation of S. Filipe Néri” (Congregação de São Filipe de Néri). In the architectures designed by André Soares context, the façade of the Church of the Congregated (Igreja dos Congregados) is the one the important northern-american historian, Robert Smith, defined as his “most emotional work” (SMITH, 1973, p. 32). In reality, this façade marks a course that led to abstraction, moving away from his previous works, connected to the Rocaille influence. Started with the Town Hall, in 1753, this evolutionary line characterizes the third phase of André Soares’ career, and the church of the Congregated is one its best examples (PEREIRA, 1989, p. 456). Even if the works only attribute to him, because we don’t know any documentation that allows us to confirm his authorship. However, the presence of the Congregation of the Oratory in Braga is much earlier, going back to the second half of the XVII century, when the canon João de Meira Carrilho invited the Oratorians to settle in the city (OLIVEIRA, 1988, p. 5), with the approval of the Archbishop D. Luís de Sousa (ROCHA, 1996, p. 118). The first temporary installations were placed close to the Cathedral, but since 1687, the oratorian priests are settled in Santana´s Field (Campo de Sant’Ana), in accommodations that soon turned out to be too small to the growth of the Congregation (ROCHA, 1996, p. 118). In this remodeling, it was also built a new church, in the place where before stood the oratory. The works began in 1703, and the works were oriented by Manuel Fernandes da Silva (SMITH, 1973, p. 31), who was for sure the author of the project (ROCHA, 1996, p. 120). According to recent studies from de Manuel Joaquim Moreira da Rocha, the “singularity of the building” is characteristic of Manuel Fernandes da Silva, as well as some details, such as the cruise arch niches, of mannerist tradition, according to its education (ROCHA, 1996, p. 120). On the other hand, the monumentality demanded by the Congregation is evident, prominently displayed in the uniformity of the place, and in terms of the cruised arch dimensions. However, the temple consecration occurred only in 1717, after the main chapel and the part of the aisle were built. Actually, the data we have shown the slowdown of the construction works, and in the city map of 1750, there was still no façade (SMITH, 1972, est. 21). The following intervention might have been the responsibility of André Soares, who worked on this project between 1758 and 1766, which resulted on a façade marked by the central axis, which verticality was emphasized by lateral pillars. Between them, rip several spans of the wavy frame, which give tension to the set. The building’s joints itself shows the same wavy tendency that emanates from the other spans and, specially, from the big central window, which looks like a door lock (SMITH, 1973, p. 31). In this composition, we can find a taste for the solid forms, over the delicate decoration, that Soares used in the beginning of his career, as we can see, among others, in the Palace of Raio (Palácio do Raio), in Braga. The towers siding the façade are posterior to André Soares’ work, for they were never finished. Its conclusion happened only in the XX century, having as a model the ones of the Church of S. Miguel de Refóios (Igreja de São Miguel de Refóios), in Cabaceiras de Basto (SMITH, 1973, p. 55).

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