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Two original Pórtico de la Gloria statues recovered

peregrina2000

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I was doing some googling around to learn more about the extension of the Holy Year (which, it turns out, has been done once before, during the Spanish Civil War), and I came across some very interesting news.

After years of battling with the heirs, just this past December the Spanish government won its lawsuit to confiscate the Franco summer palace Meirás and all its contents.

It turns out that among many other priceless things, the palace contains two statues from the original Pórtico de la Gloria, those of Isaac and Abraham, which were allegedly bought by Franco from the City of Santiago in the 1950s. But there is no documentation to support this, and the legal dispute had been going on for quite a while.


If you are wondering how the statues ever were removed from the Pórtico de la Gloria, in 1521 the size of the original Pórtico was decreased, removing two lateral doorways and a foyer, with sculptures of prophets and kings. Of all of those original figures, only 9 are left — 4 in the Cathedral museum, 2 in the provincial museum in Pontevedra, one in a private collection, and these two. If you read some of the Spanish press, many people are quite jubilant about this, what a nice way to start a Holy Year.

Please remember this is not an invitation to discuss politics, it is an invitation to rejoice at the return of the two lost prophets. It will be interesting to see where they wind up.

 
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Raggy

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I expect the sculptures might be displayed in the cathedral museum if they are recovered. The anteroom where they were originally installed no longer exists.

@peregrina2000 - It looks like your article dates from September 2020. I think it states that someone is disputing that the sculptures belong to the collection of the Pazo de Meirás. The claimant appears to be claiming that they are privately held. So I think that the attempt to recover the statues will be subject to some more legal wrangling - unless there's something I missed?

In previous litigation, a Spanish court rejected an attempt by the city of Santiago to recover these sculptures. The court found that the descendants of the Franco family are the proper owners (or perhaps, if I recall correctly, an insurance company owned by the Franco family was found to be the proper owner).

Here's an article about that decision, which the City of Santiago was planning to appeal, I think:

Amazingly, I've steered clear of politics in this post. To keep it that way, I'll quit typing now.
 
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peregrina2000

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Staff member
It looks like your article dates from September 2020. I think it states that someone is disputing that the sculptures belong to the collection of the Pazo de Meirás.
As I understand it, there were two parallel lawsuits — one was to reclaim the statues (which was denied by a judge in Madrid and was being appealed) and the other was to take back the palace and all its contents (which included the statues). The heirs were fighting both, of course. The second lawsuit was decided favorably for the government in December 2020. I think the government has taken possession of the property and has undertaken a preliminary audit, but there is still a lot to be done. It is complicated but I think that’s accurate — corrections welcomed.




The inventory described here (I can‘t actually access it) is interesting and all references I’ve seen to the Dec. 20 order do include the statutes from the Portico.
 
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The inventory described here (I can‘t actually access it) is interesting and all references I’ve seen to the Dec. 20 order do include the statutes from the Portico.
You may be able to access the Inventario de los Bienes Existentes en Las Torres de Meirás from a link provided by La Voz de Galicia (see below). The document contains photos showing the two statues on display inside the building and many more photos, about 600 photos in total.

 
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alansykes

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