More than 600 sacred and religious pieces, of an erudite and popular nature from the 16th to the 20th century, are gathered in the Museum of Sacred Art of Santos, where in the past the so-called Benedictine architectural complex, composed of the Church of Nossa Senhora do Desterro and the old Monastery of St. benedict.
Inaugurated on July 11, 1981, at the initiative of the then diocesan bishop Dom David Picão, the collection of the Museum of Sacred Art of Santos gathers more than sculptures, paintings, liturgical objects and clothing.
Highlight for the image of Santa Catarina de Alexandria (one of the oldest pieces of sacred art in Brazil), made around 1540. The statue belonged to the first chapel built in Vila de Santos.
Another notable statue is the image of Nossa Senhora da Conceição, dated 1560, made by João Gonçalo Fernandes. It is the oldest sacred piece in Brazil with a known author.
The Main Hall has wooden sculptures and baked clay, made between the 16th to the 18th centuries. Among the works, the work also includes Benedito Calixto, Gentil Garcez, José Patrício da Silva Manso, Marino Del Favero, Guiomar Fagundes, among other renowned artists.
The collection of images known as ‘paulistinhas’ refer to popular religious art and were widely used in home oratories and by bandeirantes, who on their journeys carried small sculptures as an amulet.
The monastery, which for centuries served as a residence for Benedictine monks, has three floors and consists of a church, sacristy, cloister, cells (rooms), rooms and halls, among other environments. The building also housed victims of the epidemics that plagued the city of Santos, especially in 1874, and served as a boarding school, from 1958 to 1968, for young Russian refugees.
Church of Nossa Senhora do Desterro
The Church of Nossa Senhora do Desterro (in free translation, means something like “Exile´s Our Lady”), built in 1630, presents the main altarpiece, from the 18th century, characterized by its baroque style, which portrays the richness of decorative ornaments, making reference to the Mariana devotion, such as floral motifs (roses, sunflowers, daisies), crowns and shells, as well as Christian symbols, such as angels, pelicans, acanthus leaves.
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