Church of the Society of Jesus
The Church of the Company (Spanish: Iglesia de la Compañía de Jesús), colloquially known as La Compañía) is a Jesuit church building of the seventeenth century located in the historic center of the city of Quito (Ecuador). The college and university Saint-Grégoire which she belonged were the headquarters of the Society of Jesus in the Spanish colonial empire. It is considered one of the seven wonders of Ecuador and is one of the most visited monuments in the city of Quito.
The first Jesuits arrived in Quito on July 19 1586. Combining education and evangelization they founded a college, with its church. In the first group of Jesuit priests are Juan Hinojosa, Diego González Holguín, Baltasar Piñas and Juan Santiago. In planning the city lots had already been granted to religious (Franciscan, Mercedarian, Dominicans and Augustinians) for the construction of their convent and church. However, by 1587 the City Council grants the Jesuits, arrived last, a field in north-western corner of Independence Square. The Augustinians disagreeing with the decision, the Jesuits chose to settle in another place located south of the cathedral.
In 1605 the church was put under construction, under the command of Nicolas Duran Mastrilli. In 1634, the Jesuit Gil Madrigal makes the crossing. The arrival of brother Marcos Guerra in 1636, architect and sculptor, gives a major boost to work. It has with the labor of countless artists of the school of Quito.
If, in terms of its use, the church was completed in 1668, the finishing work of the facade and interior walls, where every centimeter is cleverly decorated, often with thin plates of gold, take a century more. It takes 160 years for the building to be completed.
The Church of the Company is one of the most famous monuments of Ecuador, since it is a remarkable example of baroque style adapted to the Latin American culture. Many visitors roam his big abundantly decorated central nave with gold leaf and wood carvings. It is designed like the baroque churches of Gesù and St. Ignatius in Rome, but with a Latin American scale.
Its exterior has beautiful symmetrical proportions. Its nave denotes a Moorish influence while the interior decorative art is entirely the work of artists of the Quito School of Art. The bell tower that throughout the colonial city enjoyed its impressive height collapsed during the earthquakes of 1859 and 1868.
Over the last twenty years, the church underwent a major restoration work, required in part by a fire that damaged the interior of the nave.