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The theological explanation behind the Sacred Heart Altarpiece of the National Sanctuary of the Great Promise (Valladolid)

The representation of the Sacred Heart in the work of Félix Granda, taken from the conference given by Emilia Gonzalez in the Monastery of Valdedios (Asturias).

ALTARPIECE OF THE GREAT PROMISE OF VALLADOLID. 

Don Félix converted an old altarpiece that had been walled up during the war into a a plastic explanation of the devotion to the Sacred Heart. The original altarpiece, which had frescoes on the sides, was enriched with four reliefs to frame the figure of the Sacred Heart.

In the first place, the central carving was based on a previous one, made for the Reina de la Habana Church, in Cuba. Then Don Félix decided to change it, giving more tenderness to the face and a more majestic aspect to the ascent.

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THE SACRED HEART

The Sacred Heart is placed in the center, with its sore hands extended as a sign of welcome and blessing; his sober and tender face -truly human- looks down with a loving gaze; on his chest, the heart crowned with thorns burns wrapped in the flames of love. and four angels give him glory under his feet as they lift him up.

Around it, a series of reliefs are arranged to explain the devotion based on the theological foundation.

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Sacred Heart of Jesus (Church of the Great Promise, Valladolid)

CALVARY

In explaining it, Don Félix started with the relief of El Calvario, already present in the old altarpiece, located at the highest point. For Granda it was the scene in which the love and revelation of Christ culminates and, therefore, the first to be placed before the eyes of the faithful.. Many at that time considered this devotion effeminate and far from the sacrifice of Christ and Granda tried to show that the Sacred Heart is not at odds with the cross because Calvary is the culmination of Christ's love. Here also appear the first apostles of this devotion: Mary and St. John, those who were closest to his heart.

CALVARY

El Calvario (National Sanctuary of the Great Promise, Valladolid)

UPPER RELIEFS: THE HOLY SCRIPTURES

These two reliefs represent passages from the scriptures. They are based on the parallelism between the Old Testament and scenes from the New Testament. in which the Sacred Heart is present.. The Old Testament, in this way, remains as a symbol of prophecy or as a veil that prefigures the events that will take place in the Gospel.  

THE SACRIFICE OF MELCHIZEDEK AND THE LAST SUPPER

Jesus is depicted in the upper left corner, surrounded by six of his disciples in the same way as the D. Felix usually represented him at the Last Supper: with the bread on his chest, over his heart. Below this is another relief depicting Melchizedek, a prefiguration of the priesthood of Christ, making his offering of bread and wine.

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The Sacrifice of Melchizedek and The Last Supper (Santuario Nacional de la Gran Promesa, Valladolid)

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Detail of The Last Supper (Santuario Nacional de la Gran Promesa, Valladolid)

THE DOUBTS OF THOMAS AND THE PROPHECY OF ZECHARIAH

The upper left relief depicts the conversion of Thomas who, upon seeing Jesus, who offers to put his fingers in his wound, exclaims: "My Lord and my God". Thomas thus becomes the first person to recognize the divinity of Jesus. Parallel to this we find the prophet Zechariah as a prefiguration of this moment, for it was he who wrote "They shall look upon him whom they have pierced".

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Relief of The Doubts of Thomas and the Prophecy of Zechariah (National Shrine of the Great Promise, Valladolid)

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Detail of The doubts of Thomas and the prophecy of Zechariah (National Shrine of the Great Promise, Valladolid)

LOWER RELIEFS: THE EXPANSION OF DEVOTION

The lower panels depict the spread of devotion to the Sacred Heart throughout the world.

THE RESURRECTION AND THE SAINTS

The relief represents, with the scene of the Resurrection in the background, the Virgin holding in her hands the crown of thorns and the nails of Jesus' sacrifice, and presents them to the closest saints who best understood the devotion to the Sacred Heart: Saint Therese, Saint Gertrude, Saint Catherine, Saint Margaret, Saint Sophie Barat and the Viscountess of Jorbalan.

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Relief of the Resurrection and the Saints (Church of the Great Promise, Valladolid)

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Detail of the relief of the resurrection and the saints (Church of the Great Promise, Valladolid).

ALTARPIECE OF THE TRINITY AND OF THE SAINTS

The relief depicts St. John the Elder writing his Gospel of love. St. John presents the words "God gave his only son", written on a parchment, to St. Augustine, St. Bonaventure, St. Bernard, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. John of Avila and the three Jesuit fathers who worked hardest to spread devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Spain: Father Hoyos, Agustin de Cardaberaz and St. Ignatius of Loyola. In the background is represented the Trinity with Jesus dead, at the moment in which God the father accepts the sacrifice of his son.

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Date: 
22/11/2017
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Serving the Church since 1891

Serving the Church since 1891

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Madrid. Spain
info@granda.com
(+34) 91 802 36 55

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