The sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Congonhas in Minais Gerais, Brazil, consists of a church with a Rococo interior, an outdoor stairway decorated with statues of the prophets and seven chapels illustrating the Stations of the Cross, which are masterpieces of a highly original form of Baroque art.
Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Congonhas
The Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Congonhas was built in the 18th century, located in southeastern Brazil. Congonhas is a historical Brazilian city, situated 90 km (56 mi) south of Belo Horizonte, the capital of state of Minas Gerais.
The city is known for its basilica and associated soapstone sculptures which were commissioned by Portuguese adventurer, Feliciano Mendes in the 18th century. It was created by Aleijadinho, one of the best artists in the baroque style in the world.
The twelve sculptures of old testament prophets around the terrace are considered one of his finest works. In 1985, the Sanctuary was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The sanctuary consists of a basilica with a magnificent Rococo interior, an outdoor stairway decorated with statues of the prophets, and seven chapels illustrating the Stations of the Cross in which the sculptures are masterpieces of a highly original and expressive form of Baroque art.
Standing high on a platform reached by a slightly curved, divided staircase carrying on its parapets statues of the twelve prophets in soapstone (pedra sabão), this sanctuary is approached via a ramped forecourt between six chapels marking Stations of the Cross (the Passos).
Dating from the second half of the 18th century, the church with its magnificent Italian rococo interior is a masterpiece of the Baroque style reflecting in its architecture and ornamentation the transition period in which it was built.
The soapstone statues together with the polychrome wooden sculptures depicting scenes of Christ’s Passion housed in the chapels stand as a crowning achievement of the creative genius of Francisco Antônio Lisboa, Aleijadinho, who bequeathed to humanity a truly impressive body of work.
The architectural and sculptural complex of the Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Congonhas represents a singular artistic achievement, a jewel of the human genius, reflecting the apex of Christian art in Latin America, as expressed in the work of Aleijadinho, a thoroughly original and expressive work of the Baroque style transported to the tropics.