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Mosteiro de Santa Cruz - The façade, the pulpit and the tomb (...)

Mosteiro de Santa Cruz - The façade, the pulpit and the tombs of the kings


Before entering, note the exuberance and lightness of the statues decorating the portico, the work of the great master builders Diogo de Castilho and Nicolau de Chanterenne, contrasting with the austere Romanesque spirit of the two solid-looking towers that frame the door.

In the interior, Diogo Boitaca maintained the Romanesque structure of the single nave, raising the height of the church through a new vaulted ceiling with delicate ribbing and rebuilding the chancel. It takes time to observe the beautiful pulpit, a jewel carved out of Ançã stone by the master builder Jean de Rouen, around 1520, where the figures of St. Jerome, St. Augustine and St. Clement, doctors of the Church, are to be found.

The chancel houses the tombs of the founder of Portugal, Dom Afonso Henriques, and his son, Dom Sancho I. Through a decision of Dom Manuel I, the austere mediaeval boxes in which they had been laid to rest were replaced by these tombs in the 16th century. Through the grandiose design of the arched niches of the tombs, through the enchanting figures that decorate them and, above all, through the admirable carving of the recumbent statues of the kings clothed in their Iberian battle dress, these have come to be regarded as masterpieces amongst Renaissance statues in Portugal and Europe, the work of the eminent master builder Nicolau de Chanterenne.

Mosteiro de Santa Cruz - The façade, the pulpit and the tombs of the kings
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