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Photograph: José Guedes da Silva e António Pacheco
© Dir.Reg.Cult./Governo Regional Açores


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Name of Monument:
Church and Convent of S. Gonçalo
Also known as:
Recolhimento de S. Gonçalo
Location:
Angra do Heroísmo, Portugal
Date:
17th and 18th centuries
Denomination / Type of monument:
Religious architecture
Artists:
Architects and carvers: local unknown masters; azulejos attributed to Teotónio dos Santos [n.d.]; painting attributed to the workshop of Bento Coelho da Silveira (1648–1708)
Patron(s):
Brás Pires do Canto
History:
In 1542 the Patron, Brás Pires do Canto, obtained authorisation from Pope Paul III for the foundation of a convent belonging to the Order of Saint Claire. Three years later, his two daughters were admitted as founders. By the end of the 16th century the convent had grown to occupy a large area, and the nuns of the Order of St. Claire became known for their singing, jam-making, confectionery and other skills in the arts. This was the only convent preserved on Terceira Island following the Decree of Extinction of the Religious Orders in Azores (Dec. nº 25, May 17th 1832), and housed nuns from other convents. Its extinction occurred only in 1885 upon the death of the last nun. Nowadays the buildings accommodate a kindergarten and act as a shelter, administered by the Congregation of the Reparadoras of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Description:
Of all the religious houses on Terceira Island, only S. Gonçalo retains features of the old convent, although it has undergone several alterations over time. This vast building includes two cloisters, one of which dates to the 16th century and the other built the following century. The cloisters retain cells, kitchens and dining rooms in the upper storey, as well as primitive ovens and several stores on the ground floor. The single nave church has two overlapping choirs, separated from the church by an oval frame, which is beautifully outlined with Baroque gilded wood carvings in the “National” style. Large azulejos and oil paintings from the late 17th and early 18th centuries furnish the interior where ornamental unity is completed with an altarpiece for the high altar, a more recent work from the Rococo period.
How monument was dated:
Historical evidence and stylistic analysis

 

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Gilded carvings

Church interior

1675-1725 (National Style)

Unknown local wood carvers

Vine leaves, bunches of grapes, plumage-shaped acanthus leaves and phoenixes, combined with seraphs and musician angels, frame not only the exuberant oval frame of the High and Low Choir but also the six oil on canvas paintings and the two large windows placed each side of the nave.
 
 
Oil paintings

Nave

Late 17th century, early 18th century

Attributed to Bento Coelho da Silveira's workshop, Lisbon (1648–1708)

Three examples of the six oil paintings that make up the Cycle of the Life of the Virgin and the Childhood of Jesus.
 
 
Azulejos

Four Azulejos panels (two per side) line the lower register of the church walls, interrupted by the pulpit and stairs.

c. 1700–1725

Attributed to Teotónio dos Santos [n.d.], Lisbon tile production

Azulejos illustrating the story of Joseph in Egypt captioned in Latin. At the bottom of each panel the Miracles of S. Gonçalo of Amarante are represented.
 
 
Figure of the Divine Emperor

Main Altar

17th century

Unknown

A harmonious sculpture representing Christ Crucified, of which the anchor and sceptre are of filigree silver.
 
 
Oratories

In the superior cloister

16th, 17th and 18th centuries

Local unknown artists

Oratory of Our Lady of the Rosary constructed from wood and canvas. There are others dedicated to Our Lady of Mount Carmel, St. Matthew, and St. John the Baptist. With the exception of the Oratory of St. John the Baptist, the outside wings are adorned with paintings.
  Selected bibliography:
Merelim, P., As Dezoito Paróquias de Angra, Angra do Heroísmo, 1974.
Bottineau, Y., “A Arquitectura nos Açores do Manuelino ao Barroco” in Martins, F. E. O., Arquitectura nos Açores: subsídios para o seu estudo, Horta, ed. SRTT / DRT, 1983, pp. 103–108.
Rosa, M. T., O Convento de S. Gonçalo em Angra do Heroísmo: Contributos para o Estudo da Arte Religiosa Açoriana, MA Thesis, Lisbon, 1998.
Gonçalves, M. C., A Pintura no Convento de S. Gonçalo de Angra., pr. in Workshop “Arte, Património e Identidade dos Açores”, University of the Azores, 2003.
Citation of this web page:
Maria Cristina  Gonçalves "Church and Convent of S. Gonçalo" in Discover Baroque Art. Place: Museum With No Frontiers, 2014. http://www.discoverbaroqueart.org/database_item.php?id=monument;BAR;pt;Mon11;5;en
Prepared by: Maria Cristina Gonçalves
Translation by: Lili Cavalheiro, Cristina Correia
Translation copyedited by: Mandi Gomez
Copyright images: Direcção Regional da Cultura/Governo Regional dos Açores.
MWNF Working Number: PT 05