BOITAC, Diogo
(b. ca. 1460, d. ca. 1528, Batalha)

Interior view

1490-1510
Photo
Church of the Monastery of Jesus, Set˙bal

The monastery of Jesus was founded around 1490, outside the city walls of Set˙bal, by Justa Rodrigues Pereira, a noblewoman of the Portuguese royal court. After 1491, King John II started sponsoring the building of the monastery, which he commissioned to Diogo Boitac, an architect of unknown origin, possibly French. After the death of John II in 1495, King Manuel I continued supporting the construction works.

Most of the church was built between 1490 and 1495, and in 1496 the nuns of Order of Poor Clares were already living in the monastery. After 1495, under Manuel I, the nave of the church was covered with stone vaulting, replacing the wooden ceiling originally planned. The church is the earliest known Portuguese building with Manueline style decoration. This specific architectural style brings the Late Gothic style to Portugal and mixes it with Early Renaissance principles, adding twisted columns and navigation symbols.

The south fašade of the church, facing Jesus' Square, is the main fašade of the building. Viewed from the square, the church combines two distinct volumes: a rectangular nave and a polygonal apse, higher than the nave, located at the east end of the building. A bell tower is located on western side of the fašade.

The walls and vaulting of the church ceiling are supported by a series of stepped buttresses along the outer walls of nave and apse. Each buttress is decorated with gargoyles and a twisted pinnacle, while the upper walls of the church have decorative crenellations. The main portal is located in the middle of the south fašade and was the last feature of the fašade to be built. The south side of the apse is decorated with a large mullioned window with late Gothic tracery.

The photo shows the south side of the church viewed from the square.




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