Text and photo: Eduardo González
When Archbishops in Compostela decided and were able to turn Santiago into “a Romanesque jewel within a baroque casket”, master Dominic of Andrade (1639-1712), a fundamental figure in the transition from classicism to baroque in Galicia, was not satisfied with going down in history with the Clock Tower of the Cathedral and wanted to reach the infinite and beyond defying the law of gravity.
The photography shows an extraordinary triple staircase of the convent of Saint Dominic of Bonaval, which rises in the cloister of this building of the end of the 17th century and beginning of the 18th, which, for forty years, has hosted the Museo do Pobo Galego and, from the end of the 19th and on the initiative of the Galician Diaspora in Cuba, the Panteón de Galegos Ilustres.
The staircase is a real geometric wonder of Palladian architecture and a really ingenious solution to use the only space available. The three helical ramps are completely independent and conclude at different levels, from which the floors of the convent can be accessed (or the museum, to be more specific), except for one of them, which leads to a viewpoint. The steps, of one piece, are built in the wall and their only support is an outer nerve in the shape of a logarithmic spiral.
The result of this baroque wonder is, to conclude, a deliberate feeling of grace and unreality enriched by the contrast of materials and the search for perspective.