Plan of the Town of La Candelaria, Watercolor and ink on laid paper (Pl. 2M -2986CA, Biblioteca Hispánica, AECID)

Detail of the cartouche, written in Guarani and Spanish.


(Buenos Aires, 1939)

Argentinian Senior Research Architect of CONICET, retired. Full Member of the National Academies of History and Fine Arts of Argentina. and Corresponding to those of Spain, Portugal and various American countries. Doctor Honoris Causa from the National University of Tucumán (Argentina), the Ricardo Palma University (Lima. Peru), the Andina University (Cusco. Peru), the Santa María Catholic University (Arequipa. Peru) and the Pablo de Olavide University (Seville, Spain). National Architecture Award (FONART 2003). Declared by the Legislature, Illustrious Citizen of Buenos Aires (2011). Director of the Documentation Center for Latin American Architecture, CEDODAL. Author of more than 300 books and several hundred articles on topics of architecture, urban planning and heritage.

By Ramón Gutiérrez (*)

Located in the territory of the Province of Misiones in Argentina, the town of La Candelaria, founded in 1628 and moved to its current location in 1665, was considered "the capital" of the group of 30 Guaraní Indian towns that today are distributed in Paraguay (eight), Argentina (fifteen) and Brazil (seven), since the Jesuit who coordinated the tasks of the missions lived there.

This plan, possibly made by a Guarani Indian, in whose language the cartouche and dimensions are, is undoubtedly extremely important for several reasons. The first of these is that there are very few plans of Guaraní towns made prior to the expulsion of the Jesuits in 1767, the best known being that of the town of San Juan Bautista, which is found in the Simancas Archive and which we can date from time of the war of the Guarani against the alliance of the Spanish and Portuguese troops in 1756. The plan that is preserved today in the Hispanic Library was, however, the model that the Jesuit Peramás used in his exile in Faenza to indicate the conformation of the urban model of the missions, the only alternative manifestation to the proposal adopted by the Spanish since the time of Felipe II with the population ordinances.

Plan of Saint John the Baptist c. 1756 (MPD 02 014, General Archive of Simancas)

It was then this plan printed with texts in Latin as the most precise imagery of the model and it achieved successful diffusion during the 19th and 20th centuries. The original plan was located in the private hands of Dr. Cándido Olivas in the town of Villarquemado (Teruel) by the art history researcher and professor in Valencia, Dr. Santiago Sebastián (1931-1995), who published it in black and white in the magazine Archivo Español de Arte in 1957. Santiago Sebastián thought (and he was surely correct) that this was the plan that Félix de Azara saw when, speaking of Candelaria, he stated “the figure can be seen in the attached plan which also gives an idea of almost all the Jesuit towns”. Juan María Gutiérrez in charge of the 1873 edition pointed out the absence of the plan in the copy that he handled at the time. From that article we published the plan in the work we did with Dr. Ernesto Maeder at the Institute of Geohistorical Research of the Scientific Research Council of Argentina on the Urban Historical Atlas of Northeast Argentina, published in the city of Resistencia in 1994 On repeated occasions we asked our friend Sebastián to tell us the address of its owner or to negotiate with the owner the possibility of photographing it in color, but he told us that the map had been lost and there was no possibility of accessing it. In a new edition of the Atlas that we made with the Junta de Andalucía and the Andalusian Institute of Historical Heritage in Seville, we reproduced the map in black and white as before.

With joy we read in 2016 the text by the curator María Blanco Conde about the appearance of the original plan in the Hispanic Library (1), without knowing precise data on how it had gotten there. Due to its importance and the quality of the dissemination that the map deserved, we used it commenting on the reference of its archival location in the Hispanic Library in the edition of the book "Territory, Population and Science in the Jesuit missions of Guarani" that our Documentation Center edited. of Latin American Architecture (CEDODAL) jointly with the University of Rio Grande do Sul of Porto Alegre (Brazil). There, Dr. Graciela María Viñuales, who coordinated the edition, indicated the background to the publication of the map of the Hispanic Library on the cover.

We believe that the map deserves additional attention to verify not only its cartouches, but also to point out the curious identifying location of the map in the upper right corner of it, instead of the lower angle as is usual in European cartography. The nominative cartouche integrated into a clearly rococo frame, undoubtedly refers to examples of the maps made by the engineers of the boundary demarcation parties that acted in the region after the Guarani war.

Map of the Jesuit Missions in Paraguay, 1766 (Hispanic Library of the AECID)

Another of these boundary maps from 1766 made by Spanish professionals is preserved and on display in the catalog room of the AECID Library.

Cited bibliography:

PERAMÁS, JOSÉ: De vita et moribus sex sacerdotum paraguaycorum.  Ex Typographia Archii.Superiorum permisu, Faventiae. 1793.

SEBASTIÁN LÓPEZ, SANTIAGO: “Plano inédito de Candelaria, Misiones jesuíticas del Paraguay”. Archivo Español de Arte. N°200. CSIC. Madrid. 1957.

AZARA, FÉLIX DE: Viajes inéditos. Desde Santa -Fe a la Asunción, al interior del Paraguay, y a los pueblos de misiones. Con una noticia preliminar por D. Bartolomé Mitre.Buenos Aires. 1873.

MAEDER, ERNESTO – GUTIÉRREZ, RAMÓN: Atlas histórico urbano del Nordeste Argentino. Pueblos de indios y misiones jesuíticas, Instituto de Investigaciones Geohistóricas. CONICET. Resistencia. 1994.

MAEDER, ERNESTO – GUTIÉRREZ, RAMÓN: Atlas territorial y urbano de las misiones jesuíticas de guaraníes. Argentina, Paraguay y Brasil. Instituto Andaluz de Patrimonio Histórico. Consejería de Cultura. Sevilla. 2009. (Por error de la diagramación el plano fue colocado invertido).

VIÑUALES, GRACIELA MARÍA (Dirección Editorial): Territorio, poblamiento y ciencia en las misiones jesuíticas de guaraníes.  CEDODAL – UFRGS – Fundación Bunge y Born. Buenos Aires. 2019.

Publisher's Notes:

* This article was published on the official blog of the AECID Library (Spanish Agency for International Cooperation for Development) and was kindly provided for inclusion in Hilario. Arts Letters Crafts.

1. Its measurements: 103 x 75 cm.

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