Museo iglesia de la compañía de Jesús
The church of the company is the summit of the baroque in Ecuador. It belongs to the Order of the Society of Jesus, which was founded by St. Ignatius of Loyola in 1540.
San Ignacio was born in Azpectia, Spain, belonged to a noble Spanish family, at first he had to enter the religious life but decided to devote himself to the militia, that's when in a battle defending the Castle of Pamplona is wounded with a cannonball in his leg, While he was recovering in the castle of Loyola he asked for books of chivalry to read but in this place there were only books about the life of the saints, from this point onwards, it was that Saint Ignatius adhered to the religion and decided to devote himself to the Christian religion and founded what we know today as the order of the Society of Jesus or also called Jesuits, the order was approved by him for Paul III.
From 1605 onwards, the construction of the present church began, the plans of the church were attributed to Domenico Zampietri and were brought from Rome by Father Nicolás Duran Mastrili. The church was inspired in its architecture by the Church of Il Gesu in Rome, which is the mother and model of the Jesuit temples, and in terms of ornamentation it was inspired in the Church of Saint Ignatius, which is also in Rome.
For the construction of the church several materials were used, among which we find stone brought from the slopes of the Pichincha for the façade and the pillars, brick used in the arches and finally thin 23-carat gold sheets, which are distributed throughout the church giving thus about 52 kilograms of gold leaf sheets.
In the church the artistic style that predominates is the Baroque, same that emerges in Europe and we can identify it by several characteristics first symmetry this is because there are the same number of elements on both sides of the church, the fear of emptiness that gives us the full occupation of the spaces with the decoration, the feeling of movement given by the Solomonic columns. We can also find the Mudejar style of Arabic origin and is based on the use of geometric figures this can be observed in the arches and pillars and the barrel vault, another style is the churrigueresque that arises in Spain and is based on the complete and abundant decoration and we can see it in the Altarpiece of Calvary and finally the neoclassical style that is in the Chapel of Mariana de Jesus.
In the central nave we can see 2 biblical passages, represented in the spandrels that are the spaces above the arches two high reliefs made of cedar wood, to the right we find scenes on the life of Samson, same that we can see how they fight against a lion, with his enemies the Philistines, Delilah learns that his strength was in his hair and cut it to deliver it to the Philistines, Samson when he learns of this demolishes the temple of the Philistines. To his right is the biblical passage of Joseph, son of Jacob, who is sold into slavery by his brothers, then forgives them and at the end his dying father blesses Joseph and his brothers. In the pillars we find 16 pictures of the prophets of the Old Testament made by Nicholas Javier Goribar in the eighteenth century, prophets were those who carried the message of the promised Messiah of Israel, each prophet is with his prophecy written in Latin in the philately which is the white banner, we have the four major prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel called in this way to have more writings and 16 minor prophets: Hosea, Amos, Jonah, Nahum, Zephaniah, Malachi, Zechariah, Haggai, Habakkuk, Micah, Obadiah, and Joel.
The bases of the tower or bell tower of the church, this tower was of Florentine Gothic style and was considered one of the largest in Quito, had 8 bells made of bronze and tin, the tower must have been overthrown by the earthquakes that destroyed the first one in 1859 and the one that caused most damage was in 1868 is where the tower was overthrown.
The picture of the prodigy is located in an internal chapel of St. Gabriel's College to which only the students and parents of the College have access.
We can also find an urn in which the relics of St. Marianita de Jesus rest. St. Marianita de Jesus Paredes y Flores, was closely linked to the Jesuits since Brother Hernando de la Cruz was their spiritual advisor, St. Marianita was born in 1618, died on May 26, 1645 at the age of 26. and by his last will his remains are buried in this church in the altarpiece of the Virgin of Loreto. St. Marianita de Jesus was beatified on November 20, 1853 and her remains were taken to the Chapel that bears her name, in 1950 she was canonized and declared that her relics were taken to an urn located under the table of the high altar, where they are found until today.
The dome of the transept is the main dome of the church here we can see 4 high reliefs of the evangelists we have Matthew with the child representing the human part, Luke with the ox representing the nobility, Mark with the lion representing the fortress and John with the eagle representing the wisdom.
On the sides we find the twin altarpieces of St. Ignatius and St. Francis Xavier, who are the founders of the order of the company of Jesus, in which we can find in the center the image of the saint and at the sides pictures that relate different moments of his life, in the altarpieces we find a very noticeable difference that is the brightness because on January 31, 1996 there was a fire by a short circuit that affected the altarpiece of St. Francis Xavier and part of the dome that were restored, but we can see some cherubim burned in the two places affected.
The pulpit, which until 1960 was used to give the sermon, since it functioned as a sounding board that made the voice of the father heard throughout the church, the pulpit is the only asymmetrical object of the church. At the top we can see St. Paul who was known as the Apostle of the Gentiles, the whole pulpit is decorated with about 258 cherubs.
« La mampara » that is the internal door of the church, which had two functions, the first one was to separate the divine from the profane, and it also had an acoustic function since it did not allow the sound to leave or enter the church so that the mass could take place normally. At the top of the screen we find the image of St. John the Evangelist as a child with a lamb, who baptized Jesus, and is there since baptism is the first Christian sacrament. At the side we find the stairs to climb the choir something interesting about this is that the stairs on the right are actually painted this helps to keep the symmetry in the church this technique is called trompe l'oeil (eye trap).
Painting of hell that was elaborated by Brother Hernando de la Cruz in 1620, the picture we find here is a copy made by Alejandro Salas in 1879, in this picture we can see Lucifer in the center and 25 souls subjected to a deferential punishment each one.
We also have the picture of the Last Judgement that was also elaborated by Brother Hernando de la Cruz, here we find the copy elaborated by Alejandro Salas, this picture is divided in three moments the first one. All are called to be judged, the second to the left the liberated souls and the right the sentenced souls, and the third moment in the center Jesus and the holy sides and angels.