Pictorial blethers

By blethers

Scary altar

That was my first reaction to this huge gilded altar and reredos in the church dedicated to Mary in the old town of Tavira. The actual altar almost vanishes under all this ornamentation, and it wasn’t until I passed close to it that I realised there was the figure of the crucified Jesus lying on a bed under the altar, behind a gauze curtain. The nave was tiled in blue and white scenes from the gospels, and in the sacristy there stood the life-size figures, with long hair and actual robes, that are used in religious processions through the streets.

The tiny 18th century organ is still played, and stands like a wardrobe in a little side gallery. There was a faint smell of incense.

And it was that alone that felt familiar.

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