Joanina Library

Joanina Library
Joanina Library
Anonim

The complex of the University of Coimbra houses various historic buildings. In fact, all of them make up a group that has been declared Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO. Well, of all this, one of its most spectacular and valuable parts, both for its architecture, its decoration and its content, is the so-called Joanina Library.

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Joanina Library

It is an incredible building in the rococo style that was built in the 18th century by King Joao V on the site then occupied by the hometown of the Faculty of Law. Some works that lasted from 1717 to 1728, directed by the master builder Joao Carvalho Ferreira.

However, if its architecture is very valuable, what is really exceptional about the Joanina Library is its decoration, carried out later, in a period prior to the so-called Reform of the Marquis of Pombal. Several fresco painters, gilders, sculptors, carpenters and cabinetmakers participated in these works, among which it is worth mentioning the carver of Italian origin Francesco Gualdini, a master when it comes to shaping this incredible set of wood of very varied origins, especially from the eastern colonies of Portugal and also from the jungles of Brazil.

The result is a great visual and colorful overload, but at the same time very elegant. That's thanks to thecolor games, which give dynamism to the whole, in which if we look at the ornamental details we discover that there are the most varied motifs in these carvings.

Access is through an elegant portico supported by Ionic columns. And right there the royal shield appears, remembering who was the promoter of this institution. Once inside, a space with three floors awaits us, two of them at an underground level. But the most beautiful are the three adjoining rooms, which communicate through large arches. They are the only gaps in this architecture, since the rest of the walls are absolutely full of shelves for ancient books. Up to 25,000 historical volumes are stored in this place.

The gaze is lost between so much decoration and so many books, although everything is organized to guide us along the visual path of a vanishing point that leads us to the portrait of King John V of Portugalpresiding over the entire space. Something that of course is intentional, since this monarch who was known as Joao V the Magnanimous, in his time was one of the greatest patrons of the arts and sciences in Europe, and of fact was a driver for the ideas of the Enlightenment to penetrate the culture and society of Portugal.

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