Parish Church of Our Lady Mother of Divine Grace
Parnaíba, Piauí, Brazil
Construction of this church is said to have begun in 1770 and finished in 1795. It bears neo-classical features marking the Queen Maria I (1777-1816) period, with the tile panels in the chapel of the Blessed Sacrament being particularly notable. The rectangular layout follows the common Iberian tradition of the basilica church, intercommunicating chapels in the transept, chancel, choir and sacristy. Large arches line the galleries flanking the nave. Recent work added two other chapels. The building incorporated neo-classical ornamental complements such as the arch of the chapel of the Blessed Sacrament and the door and window frames and the decoration above the lintels made of Lisbon-carved lias stone on the façade. The nave was faced with escaiola plaster, now limited to the arcade frames. Artistic features include the high altar’s retable, with a fine image of Our Lady of Milk, and the altarpiece, wrought-iron gates, Portuguese tile panels and lias gravestones in the chapel of the Blessed Sacrament. The panelled and grooved doors follow 18th and 19th-century patterns, including the wrought-iron hinges and lock faceplates. The building is set in a residential block and is Parnaíba’s main landmark in terms of religious architecture. It was subject to repairs, with the addition and removal of the facing on the walls of the nave.
Olavo Pereira da Silva Filho