College of Nosa Señora da Antiga

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College of Nosa Señor da Antiga

The College of Nosa Señora da Antiga is located in the town of Monforte de Lemos (Lugo, Spain), in the Ribeira Sacra. Built in the Herreriano, the school is often known as El Escorial of Galicia, being of the few manifestations of this style in this community.

It is forever linked to the figure of its founder, Cardinal Rodrigo de Castro, perhaps the last great ecclesiastical prince of the Renaissance in Spain, Archbishop of Seville, great benefactor of Monforte, and patron of the arts.

The college was a Seminary until 1773 and later a University, displaying up to seven chairs in a time when it was not yet established in the province. Originally run by the Jesuits, their order was expelled from Spain, through the Pragmatic Sanction of 1767 led to the elimination of any existing symbol to remember their existence in the country.


The church has an altar of wood carved by Francisco de Moure which could not be completed in his life and was completed by his son. On one side of the altar it is possible to observe a statue of Cardinal Rodrigo de Castro praying. This was created by John of Bologna and is highly regarded for its perfection and uniqueness.[citation needed] The statue, located above the remains of Cardinal, is confronted with a picture of Our Lady of Antigua. Behind the painting was another tomb which various studies[which?] revealed was for the mother of the Cardinal.[citation needed]

The school has two cloisters, and appears to be incomplete in its west wing. The monumental staircase, built from 1594 to 1603, is located in the east wing; its design is built on three arches, without apparent support, that support thirteen, nine thirteen steps each.[clarification needed] The ladder is held because of a carefully calculated play of forces. The steps are carved from a single piece of high-quality granite. On the ground, drawing of the projection of the staircase can be seen, drawn for its construction.

Francis of Assisi, the work of El Greco.

An art gallery is also located there highlighting several works by El Greco. Foremost among these is a masterly painting of Francis of Assisi holding a skull. According to critics and experts,[who?] it is a work of such high quality that it matches or even exceeds that of the known works of the artist, constituting one of his crowning achievements. His San Lorenzo (Lawrence of Rome) is also a very popular work,[citation needed] being one of the few devotional paintings done by the painter on his arrival in Toledo, where it was purchased by Rodrigo de Castro during his time in the Inquisition.

Other works in the gallery include five works of the Mannerist painter Andrea del Sarto, "St. Margaret of Cortona", "St. Agnes", "St. Catherine of Alexandria", "San Pedro" and "San Juan Bautista". The painting "The Adoration of the Magi" by Van der Goes is only a copy, since the original was sold in 1913 to Staatliche Museen in Berlin for one million two hundred thousand pesetas allowing completion of the works of the school. The gallery is complete with two works by the School of Compostela, "Death" and "Doomsday", and an anonymous portrait of Cardinal Rodrigo de Castro. The museum also has several incunabula and manuscripts, among them an incomplete copy of "Libro de la Caza de las Aves" ("Book of Bird Hunting"), a treatise on falconry by Pedro López de Ayala which he authored during his captivity in Portugal, as well as personal belongings of the cardinal.

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Coordinates: 42°31′6″N 7°31′1″W / 42.51833°N 7.51694°W / 42.51833; -7.51694