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157. manuel quintana ◊

Manuel Quintana, Recoleta Cemetery

A life-long statesman, Quintana held a number of important positions during his political career, mainly in Congress. He eventually rose to be among the political elite & won the presidency in 1904. The following year, an uprising by the UCR got his term off to a shaky start. Already in his 70s, Quintana’s health was weakened by having to deal with the uprising. A few months later an anarchist from Spain tried to assassinate Quintana. The revolver failed to go off, but Quintana was so distraught from the incident that he eventually stepped down from office & his Vice President took over. Quintana died a few months later in 1906.

What’s most striking about this tomb is its grandeur & elegance. It’s so large that you really have to step back in order to appreciate the decoration. Also, the effigy of Quintana literally resting in peace is not common in Recoleta Cemetery. Sculptures usually take the form of the living person (as in the boxer Luis Ángel Firpo) or heavenly figures such as angels & cherubs. It’s certainly an elegant exception to the norm:

Manuel Quintana, Recoleta Cemetery

Manuel Quintana, Recoleta Cemetery

The interior of the vault is oddly divided. The left side door leads downstairs to dark underground storage. On the right side, another door opens to a small staircase leading up to the main altar. An Omega shines through a beautiful piece of Art Nouveau stained glass, while the Alpha is above the door & can only be viewed from the interior:

Manuel Quintana, Recoleta Cemetery

Manuel Quintana, Recoleta Cemetery

Published in:Art + ArchitecturePoliticiansPresidents

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