Igreja de São Francisco de Assis (Belo Horizonte)

( Church of Saint Francis of Assisi )

The Church of Saint Francis of Assisi (Igreja de Sao Francisco de Assis, commonly known as the Igreja da Pampulha) is a chapel in Pampulha region of Belo Horizonte, in the state of Minas Gerais, southeastern Brazil. It was designed by the Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer in the organic modern style. It is the first listed modern architectural monument in Brazil and consists of four undulating concrete parabolas with outdoor mosaics. The interior hosts a mural by Candido Portinari, and the exterior features a landscape designed by Roberto Burle Marx.

The curved lines of the church enchanted artists and architects, but scandalized the city's conservative culture. Despite its completion in 1943 and Juscelino Kubitschek's call for its consecration, the church was not consecrated until 1959. For 14 years, the ecclesiastical authorities, led by Antonio dos Santos Cabral, prohibited the chapel from providing Catholic services.

As of July 2...Read more

The Church of Saint Francis of Assisi (Igreja de Sao Francisco de Assis, commonly known as the Igreja da Pampulha) is a chapel in Pampulha region of Belo Horizonte, in the state of Minas Gerais, southeastern Brazil. It was designed by the Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer in the organic modern style. It is the first listed modern architectural monument in Brazil and consists of four undulating concrete parabolas with outdoor mosaics. The interior hosts a mural by Candido Portinari, and the exterior features a landscape designed by Roberto Burle Marx.

The curved lines of the church enchanted artists and architects, but scandalized the city's conservative culture. Despite its completion in 1943 and Juscelino Kubitschek's call for its consecration, the church was not consecrated until 1959. For 14 years, the ecclesiastical authorities, led by Antonio dos Santos Cabral, prohibited the chapel from providing Catholic services.

As of July 2016, the church is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, part of the Pampulha Modern Ensemble, a collection of Niemeyer buildings in Pampulha.

The church was controversial from the beginning. The mayor of Belo Horizonte, Juscelino Kubitschek, was the patron of the project. Niemeyer said that he was inspired by the French poet Paul Claudel's statement: "A church is God's hangar on earth", but Time magazine wrote that the Archbishop of Belo Horizonte, Antonio dos Santos Cabral, saw it as "the devil's bomb shelter".[1] Archbishop Cabral opposed both its unorthodox architectural and artistic forms, particularly the mural behind the altar of St. Francis with a dog depicting a wolf, painted by Candido Portinari.[2] He proclaimed the church "unfit for religious purposes".[1]

A later mayor of Pampulha tried to have it condemned and demolished and when that failed, abused it by filling it with altars and monuments of various styles that did not fit the building.[when?] It was finally taken over by the National Institute of Historic and Artistic Heritage.[3] After the church was refurbished by Niemeyer, Auxiliary Archbishop João Rezende Costa (Archbishop Cabral was in virtual retirement by then) finally agreed that the church has "great artistic significance and a spiritual atmosphere" and it was consecrated.[1] He consecrated the church in April 1959, saying "Now we can feel the wonderful art created here in homage to the Creator."[1]

^ a b c d https://web.archive.org/web/20080508195847/http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,811067,00.html "Fit for Prayer"]. Time. April 27, 1959. ^ "Jornal da Globo". G1. Retrieved Feb 12, 2020. ^ Stamo Papadaki. The Work of Oscar Niemeyer Second Edition. (New York: Reinhold Publishing Corporation, 1951), 93.
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