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Nigel Glendinning

[Saenz de Santa María, José Marcos]

(b Veracruz, Mexico, April 25, 1738; d Cádiz, Sept 4, 1804).

Spanish priest and patron. He came from a family of hidalgo (noblemen) originally from Rioja, whose wealth derived from trade with South America. After a period articled as a clerk to a foreign trader in Cádiz, the Marqués was ordained a priest in 1761. He spent a short time in Madrid, where he claimed the naked figures on the ceilings of the Palacio Real were too upsetting for him to contemplate, before returning to Cádiz and settling there. His religious life and his artistic patronage became closely linked to the church of Nuestra Señora del Rosario and particularly to a penitential cult conducted in an underground cavern adjacent to the church. The Marqués acquired a plot of land above the cavern, improved it and between 1793 and 1796 built over it a spacious elliptical chapel, designed by the City Architect, Torcuato José de Benjumeda (1757–1836), in the classical style. No expense was spared to enrich the interior with sculpture, paintings, marble and porphyry. Subjects relating to the Mass were depicted in a series of five semicircular paintings for the pendentives and two stucco medallions. ...