The Portico de la Gloria is heading towards the Supreme | Culture

The mayor of Santiago de Compostela, Xosé Sánchez-Bugallo, tells it more or less like this: "Who was claiming a receipt from Franco in the late fifties?" . And as nobody asked, now it cannot be demonstrated that the Romanesque jewels of Master Matthew Isaac Y Abraham, that are in the hands of the heirs of the dictator, are the same as the Galician City Council claims them judicially. This is said in a recent sentence of the Provincial Court of Madrid, which has once again proved the Franco family right, after the court number 41 of Madrid already did it last February. There is only one possibility for the statues to return to the Consistory: a favorable ruling from the Supreme Court.

In any case, it is not clear that the Supreme Court admits the municipal appeal, since it may consider that the judgment of the Hearing is well founded. However, the president of the Xunta de Galicia, Alberto Núñez Feijóo (PP), said today that the Galician Government is "available" to the City of Santiago (PSOE) before "possible legal steps." The Feijóo Executive is convinced that they are the same sculptures that the municipality claims. In fact his Regional government legally protected them and turned them into a Property of Cultural Interest (BIC) the last summer. "Let's see if we can be useful to the City Council to continue protecting the statues that, regardless of their owner, continue to have legal protection," has ditch.

For his part, Sánchez Bugallo says that his corporation is very clear about the objective of recovering these assets for public assets and that the legal services are already working on a report that allows for the formalization of a decision "next week". "Our great interest is to defend that something that is a World Heritage Site is a World Heritage Site, and not a private heritage of anyone," he insisted, and then advance that the pieces will be made available to the Cathedral Museum or the Museo das Pilgrimage in the event that the local government wins in this pulse against the dictator's family.

But how did the two sculptures arrive at the hands of the Franco? In the trial held last February, the family lawyer argued that they were bought from an antique dealer, who did not remember the name, and that they did not keep any receipts. The City Council, meanwhile, He showed a notarial deed of June 1948 confirming that the council acquired them in 1948 from a descendant of the Count of Ximonde. The purchase was made through two payments of 30,000 pesetas. If the works left Santiago, said the contract signed by both parties, the nobleman had to be compensated with another 600,000 pesetas. And, thanks to this agreement, they remained in the town hall until 1954 or 1961, period after which they disappeared to end up in the hands of the Franks. In theory, according to the municipal version, the dictator's wife, Carmen Polo, became infatuated with them when they saw them at the Town Hall and took them to Meirás' pazo. 1956 was Holy Year, attended by Franco and his wife, and in 1961 it was celebrated the Romanesque Art Exhibition, and already the statues are labeled "" property of his Excellency the Head of State. Pazo de Meirás ".

These two jewels of the sculpture were part of the original Porch of Glory, which was larger than the current one and that included an anteroom (peristyle or exonartex) presided over by a large central arch and two side doors decorated by seven or eight sculptures of prophets and kings. In 1521, this superb structure was dismantled and its figures distributed by different places, In the eighteenth century, two of those masterpieces (Abraham and Isaac) ended up in the hands of the Count of Ximonde, who kept them in a pazo of his property. In 1948, they were acquired from their descendants by the City Council, but a few years later they ended up at the dictator's summer residence, in the Meirás pazo. Justice says that, perhaps, they are not the same, because "let's see who asked Franco for a receipt?"


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