Basilica del Pilar presents interior of the Iglesia Nuestra Senora del Pilar in Recoleta, chapels, old altars and objects of art in the church’s museum in cloisters.
Altars and Chapels
Altar of the Virgen del Carmen
The central part of the altar holds the sculpture of the Mother of God in Carmelite vestments holding “El Niño” (Jesus). The figures are carved from wood then painted with a layer of gold and polychrome. The work dated to the 2nd half of 18th century is attributed to the Portuguese sculptor Pedro Carmona (similarly as other 5 altars in the church). Recently chapel received two wooden sculptures presenting St. Teresa (1996) and Mother Teresa from Calcutta (2005, canonized the same year).
Basilica del Pilar: Altar of the Virgen del Carmen
The chapel also holds the bodily remains of Virreina Señora Rafaela de Vera Mujica – the only female viceroy of former Latino-American Spanish colonies. She was one of the most respected personalities of her times and deeply devoted to the Virgen del Carmen.
The chapel was recently restored to its original shapes and colors by her descendents.
On the left side (in front of the church) there is also a bust of Señora Rafaela.
Altar of Santa Ana y Virgen Niña
The altar holds the figure of St. Anne with a little girl – a symbol of innocency. She is holding the scroll with the inscription – “Love for God above all things”(Amar a Dios sobre todas las cosas).
Basilica del Pilar: Altar of Santa Ana y Virgen Niña
On her sides St. Anne is accompanied by her parents – Joachim and Anna. The 18th century altar is attributed to Pedro Carmona.
The chapel holds also the sculptures of St. Matthew with an Angel (18th century Portugal) and St. John Evangelist (18th century Spain) – both carved in wood and finished with polychrome and gold.
Altar of Lord of Patience and Humility (Señor de la Paciencia y la Humildad)
The altar is a work of an unknown artist, most likely from 18th century Andalusia (Spain). It is richly decorated with leaves and flowers (in contrast to the other 5 altars in the church).
Basilica del Pilar: Altar of Lord of Patience and Humility
The central sculpture presents Jesus Christ in thorny crown sitting on the rock and waiting for His crucifixion – as a symbol of patience and humility (hence the name of the chapel). Originally the altar was holding the sculpture of St. John the Baptist, but when it disappeared during tumultuous years of the past century (not miraculously at all), it was replaced by the current sculpture of the Lord (part of the original decoration of the church, previously hold in the present-day chapel of the Virgen de Lujan).
On the sides you will find the wooden statues of San Pasqual Bailón in Franciscan vestments (part of the original decoration of the church) and San José-Maria Escrivá (funder of the Opus Dei).
Altar of the Lonely Virgin (Virgen de la Soledad)
The main figure in the altar presents the Mother of God – here in pain, lonely, depicting moments shortly after Jesus’ Crucifixion. The sculpture carved in wood is from 18th century Spain.
Free Basilica del Pilar Pictures: Altar of the Lonely Virgin (Virgen de la Soledad)
The upper part of the altar holds the symbol of the Holy Spirit flanked by Cherubim.
On the sides there are wooden polychrome gilded figures of San Andrew (San Andrés) – 18th century Peru and Apostle James (Santiago el Menor) - 18th century Portugal.
Altar of the Sacred Heart (Sagrado Corazón)
Visibly this is the newest altar in the Basilica. Dated from the early 20th century it differentiates from all other altars by more contemporary style. It was made in Buenos Aires by local masters.
Basilica del Pilar: Altar of the Sacred Heart (Sagrado Corazón)
On the left side there is a sculpture of Santa Teresa, while on the right the one portraying Prophet Elias.
Altar of the Virgin of Lujan (Virgen de Luján)
The altar representing 18th century Portuguese style (work of Pedro Carmona) initially was holding the Lord of Patience. Today it holds the figure of the Virgen de Luján (an exact copy of the original kept in the Sanctuary of Lujan).
Basilica del Pilar: Altar of the Virgin of Lujan (Virgen de Luján)
On the sides there are figures of two saints. On the right there is a wooden carving of San Benito de Palermo (18th century Peru), called also Black Saint (“El Santo Negro”). He is shown in a Franciscan garment holding a basket with El Niño. On the left there is a sculpture of Santa Lucia.
Altar de San Jose (St. Joseph).
The central sculpture was donated by the church of San Carlos from the Valley Calchaquíes, (work of Tomas Cabrera - Salta 1782). On both sides there are gilded sculptures carved from wood: San Pablo (St. Paul) – one of the oldest in the church, and San Luis de Tolosa (St. Louis) – bishop from Toulouse (France).
Chapel of the Relicts
The chapel was offered to the Buenos Aires’ church of Our Lady of the Pillar by the Spanish king Carlos III in 18th century. It holds the urns with relics of Saints - Urban, Victor and John the Apostle.
In front there is a life-size sculpture of Jesus of the Garden of Olives (called also “Cristo Peregrino”). This vibrant sculpture of Jesus dressed in the red rove it is a work of Spanish artist from 19th century.
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Free Basilica del Pilar Pictures: Chapel of the Relicts
Along the nave in the niches on the walls there are four life-size sculptures, correspondingly:
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Basilica del Pilar: Museum
In 1997 the church opened its cloisters holding several objects of art – paintings, carvings, furniture, silverware, books, vestments etc…
Among numerous objects of art from 14th to 20th century you will find the following on the pictures below:
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Free Basilica del Pilar Pictures: The museum of religious art in church's cloisters....
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Basilica del Pilar: Museum - fragments of the ornamentation from altars
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These are only few examples of what is "hidden" in the old galleries of the church Nuestra Senora del Pilar (Recoleta)....
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So if you have the chance to visit Buenos Aires, the church of Our Lady of the Pillar (together with the nearby cemetery) should be on your list of places to visit.
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Restart to visit by selecting --> Church of Our Lady of Pillar (page 1)
If you are already here, then the Recoleta Cemetery is the place not to miss - please start the tour of this City of the Dead by selecting:
--> History of Recoleta Cemetery (pages 1 through 4)
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