La chiesa della Purísima Concepción del Caroní: architettura, storia e restauro. Una storia del Nuovo Mondo
In: Quaderni dell'Istituto di Storia dell'Architettura: 73-74, 2021
The Church of Purísima Concepción del Caroní: architecture, history and restoration. A tale from the New World
The religious building is located in Venezuelan Guyana in Puerto Ordáz (Estado Bolivar) on the bank of the Caronì River. In 1960 it was declared “National Heritage” (G.U. nr. 26.320). It was founded in the first half of the 18th century by the Catalan Capuchin friars (minor franciscanus), with the help of the local indigenous people. It is the only important evidence of the complex colonization, social, cultural, economic and religious assimilation, carried by the Spanish conquerors, from the discovery through over three centuries, in the rich country where, the myth of “El Dorado” began Catalan Capuchins, settled on Guyana between 1724 and 1792, founded about 30 villages. The Mission stopped with the outbreak of the Independence War from Spain in 1817; which was sustained by the help of the missions, being the real “barn”. The building developed slowly, according to the settlements improve, through a stated urban planning. We believe that the building was the synthesis of the two pre-existing ones: the little foundation church, (the sole chapel of the building) and the small fortress of the Spanish troops and headquarter of the prefect father. The definitive spatial and volumetric structure reveals geometric and proportional rules which suggest the existence of a studied architectural project. The decorative complex into the church is very interesting: on the main altar, baroque decorations by “trompe-l’oeil” technique. On the sole lateral chapel we can see a part of reproduction in the back wall with central prospective, with the wooden sculpture of Christ on the Cross. The decorations of the nave are very perished, due to the loss of the roof happened a century ago. However it is possible to see the plaster preparation graffiti. The building is in absolute abandoned state, this concise essay is meant to preserve its memory for future generations.