Portal de San Javier

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detail of San Javier


The restoration of the Cristo de las Ánimas in the church of San Javier reveals it as "a jewel of polychrome sculpture from the 17th century" (01/12/2020)

The mayor José Miguel Luengo and the Councilor for Culture, David Martínez visit the Murcia Region Restoration Center where work is being done on the recovery of the "only ancient Christ that preserves the articulated arms"The Mayor of San Javier, José Miguel Luengo and the Councilor for Culture David Martínez visited the Murcia Region Restoration Center today, together with the Minister for Education and Culture, Esperanza Moreno, to learn about the development of the restoration work of the Crucified Christ of the Church of San Francisco Javier, in San Javier, which began with the transfer of the Christ to the Restoration Center in September and is expected to be completed by the next Holy Week.The work is in the physical-chemical cleaning phase that has made it possible to remove more than 90 percent of surface dirt and will continue with the replacement of a missing left hand finger, the sealing of cracks and replacement of filling stucco by natural wood, reconstruction of the preparation layer and differentiated chromatic reintegration and final protective varnish.The technicians of the Regional Restoration Center who have studied the work have considered that the Cristo de las Ánimas de San Javier can be considered as a jewel of the polychrome wood sculpture of the Region of Murcia both for its antiquity, since it dates from the seventeenth century , and the state of preservation of its polychrome, as well as the peculiarity of its articulated arms, which makes it the only ancient crucified that still preserves this mechanism in its entirety.The articulation of the arms was used to carry out the so-called "Unlocking Auto", very common in the 17th and 18th centuries, which is a theatrical car that was performed on Good Friday at noon in the church itself and that recalled the last hours of Jesus Christ on the Cross.

The process involved the literal unclamping of the sculpture, lowering it from the tree, gathering its arms inward and placing them in a horizontal position, turning the Crucified into a Reclining Christ.The sculpture was saved from the almost complete destruction suffered by the temple of San Francisco Javier in July 1936, and is one of the few pre-Civil War that are still preserved in the church of San Javier.

The professionals of the Center have indicated their surprise at the perfect state of conservation of the original polychromy of the image, hence the decision was made to recover it in its entirety, removing the non-original contributions apparently coming from two restorations, one anterior and one posterior.

to the Civil War.During the intervention, a hollow box was discovered on the Christ's wheel, which although it does not contain any document, it will be checked if it bears any inscription that indicates any information about the authorship of the work that has historically been attributed to an anonymous sculptor from Granada .

Source: Ayuntamiento de San Javier

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