Chota

Chota

Sunday, 17 April 2016

{postcards from Spain-San Vincent Ferrer}

In my previous post, I blogged about my stay in Valencia and promised to dedicate a post to the San Vincent Ferrer celebrations, which took place while I was there.
Saint Vincent Ferrer was born in Valencia and is an incredibly important saint for the city and, in the early modern period, for the Aragonese. I first stumbled upon the saint during my PhD research when I was studying the Aragonese court in Naples. A well-known painting by Colantonio was/is of particular interest to me as it is one of the earliest portraits we have of Eleonora d'Aragona (daughter of the king of Naples and Duchess of Ferrara)-somebody I've spent much time researching (she appears in the central panel of the predella):
{Colantonio, Altarpiece of Saint Vincent Ferrer, c. 1458, commissioned for San Pietro Martire, Naples (but currently in the Capodimonte)}
Luckily, I just happened to be in Valencia during the celebrations, which occur on the weekend after Easter and run for a few days.
I first stumbled upon a church (Iglesia de los Santos Juanos) where the spectacular temporary structure was being erected:


We then seemed to stumble upon the processions and festivities everywhere we went...
The next morning at breakfast, we were suddenly in a privileged spot to see the saint being paraded to the nearby church:




{walking back from the beach we encountered a performance in front of another church}
As a Renaissance art historian, you read chronicles and letters reporting such events, but seeing it live as we did, made me feel just a bit closer to the real experiences of Renaissance individuals, who would have seen such spectacles on a fairly regular basis (and we must remember, had never seen the telly so that such pageantry would have seemed even more spectacular).

 That evening, as we jumped from tapa place to tapa place, we got caught up again in the extraordinary celebrations. This time the saint was being lifted up on a mechanical ladder to his final position on the erected structure:
{when out for tapas, we joined the celebrations of him being placed on his perch}
 Children dress up in traditional costume and process through the streets:

{there he goes--almost reached his destination!}

The music I have to admit, was particularly moving:

video

 On the final day, a large procession, including adults and children winds its way throughout the city, accompanied by musicians, fireworks, and other fanfare. Once again, we just happened to be having breakfast in the right place at the right time:




& this is what it looks like when you randomly stumble upon them on a side street:
video
& then more down the main streets:



{one final shot of a little girl dressed up, on the street below-view from my balcony!}
Thank you Valencia!
What a wonderful treat!!
xo
L

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