priory (ca 1541)
and chapel of Our Lady of the Rosary
A brief description.
Although the Dominicans came to Quito as early as 1541, they only began work on their priory in 1580, under the guidance of Francisco Becerra, the Spanish architect. There is a separate chapel beside the church itself, dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary. Both the church and the chapel were decorated with altar pieces, statues and paintings.
The chapel of the Rosary has an exuberant rococo altar piece, is decorated, with golden figures against a scarlet background, columns with intermingled leaf and anthropomorphic designs, and complicated pediments.
Fray Pedro Bedón, O.P. (1556-27.02.1621), born in Quito, worked in Santo Domingo from 1586 onwards, can rightly be considered the founder of the Quito school of painting. His carvings and paintings can still be seen in the chapel, and include an oil of St. Nicholas of Tolentino, the relief of the blessed Reginald receiving the Dominican scapular from the hands of the Virgin.
Diego de Robles, who came from Toledo and was the author of the most admirable figures of the Virgin -those of Guápulo and Quinche- carved the figures of St. Pius V and St. Antony of Firenze for the choir. They are now to be seen in the Dominican Museum, along with other carvings.
Later the art treasures of the Dominicans were to be enriched by magnificent works by the great Quito sculptors: the figure of Santo Domingo de Guzmán by Padre Carlos, that of San Juan de Dios, by Caspicara, and Legarda's St. Thomas Aquinas; all to be seen in the museum on the north side of the lower cloister.
Other figures carved for the church: the nativity scene by Caspicara; the Madonna and Child, with a Virgin of mixed race; the Virgin of the Dawn, frequently carried in the dawn processions known as "Rosaries of the Dawn". The priory itself contains a cloister with a very fine first floor supported by sturdy octagonal pillars and arches, and the cloister surrounds a charming garden area.
The separate chapel beside the church itself, dedicated
to Our Lady of the Rosary.
Ecuador 1930, Mi 305, Sc 312.
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