Arequipa’s School: La Compañia Church.

b07feac296184d43950d8bbdc5bf6c1cConsidered one of the greatest south american mestizo baroque edifications, La Compañía church, which began its construction in late XVI century, was entirely made in ashlar, the white volcanic rock that identifies the colonial urban structure of the Historical Center of Arequipa.

 

Located in one of the corners of the main square, La Compañia church has survived earthquakes and bomb attacks that have hit the so called  “White City”, as well as the persecutions and expulsions inflicted to Compañía de Jesús, the religious congregation that was founded in 1450  in the city of Rome by the spanish Ignacio de Loyola.

 

The temple and its cloisters are the most representative monuments of the Arequipa School, that influenced not only nearby churches such as Cayma, Yanahuara, Paucarpata and Characato, but also expanded through all the southern region all the way to Potosí in Bolivia, leaving true arquitectonic jewels as the Puno Cathedral.

 

According to spanish historian Bernales Ballesteros, is the carving in the frontage of La Compañia Church where the genuinely mestizo art is born and where the hispanic-american transculturalization process harmonically ends. The design comes from the peninsula, but the work on the stone and its decorative motives are orginal from that area. In the interior, the major altar stands out -one of the most beautiful in Arequipa-, that holds, at its center, the painting “La Virgen con el Niño” (The Virgin with young Jesus), from italian painter Bernardo Bitti, that came to Peru in 1575.

 

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