On the morning of October 11th, we visited several places around Salamanca, but one we had not planned on entering, but just happened upon was the Convento de las Dueñas, a Dominican convent that dates back to 1419, when Doña Juana Rodríquez Maldonado – ironically, as her second surname means “badly donated” – donated her palatial Moorish-style house to the Dominican Order.
There are certain circumstances, based on weather, mood, lighting and other intangibles, when everything seems photogenic. With the ground wet from a night of rainfall, I found myself in one of these states that morning, and I could have spent hours upon hours taking photographs in the beautiful courtyard of the Convento de las Dueñas. Alas, I exercised constraint, but here are only some of my photos.
The door to the courtyard.
Tourists wishing this was our garden.
I’m in your Moorish keyhole arch.
Church bells and flower petals.
Convent petal drops.
You can barely see the faces in this shot, but every single column is lined with a handful of some of the ghoulish stone faces you’ve ever seen.
One last flower shot before we head up to visit the faces.
That’s the Salamanca Cathedral in the background.
Some pretty sad faces.
Here, you can see how every column was loaded with faces.
As with gargoyles, the Catholic art tradition was very much into displaying evil and scary hell monsters. Perhaps the proper word for this is a chimera?
These sculptors were extremely creative!
Walking around the square garden looking at faces.
I could not keep a straight face.
I found the detail on the wavy hair particularly impressive.
No legs and wings for arms.
What a beautiful, if a bit grotesque, place this convent was, and we just happened upon it during our walk through town.