At the end of the 19th century, in 1887, a young architect who had never left Barcelona crossed the peninsula to build a textile warehouse in León. His name was Antonio Gaudí, and the building would be Casa Botines. In fact, Gaudí received two commissions, in León the construction of a new Episcopal Palace in Astorga (commissioned by his countryman Joan Baptista Grau) and the Casa Botines, in León. The latter is now a museum with a collection of Goya’s Caprichos and paintings by artists such as Sorolla and Ramón Casas, among others. You can visit Gaudí’s underdeck and tower, with a beautiful view of León. It also consists of a “Professor César García Álvarez” library that is made up of some 2000 volumes and specialized in Art History and Museology, as well as having a special collection dedicated to Gaudí.
Currently It consists of two exhibitions on Gaudí:
- Gaudí, the architect of dreams. An exhibition space dedicated to the life and work of the genius of modernism.
In this link you can learn more about the exhibition https://www.casabotines.es/visita/
The curious thing is that, in one of the plans of the building elevation, scale 1:100, which is dated Barcelona, December 1891, where The master’s idea of the figure he had can be clearly appreciated planned to be placed in the future construction, was that the figure of St George. And Today it is known that the modelling of Sant Jordi was carried out in Barcelona last year. 1892, by the faithful collaborator of the Catalan architect, for many years, Lorenzo Matamala Piñol 1856-1927, with the sculptor himself as a model, so much so that the dragon was taken from one of those who were put in the buttresses of the Sagrada Familia.
In 1893, 42 years later, it was agreed to repair the stone figure of Sant Jordi, above the main door”, this was not enough in 1952, “the state of decomposition of the stone, with very deep cracks in the most pronounced relief, head of the saint and the dragon, arms and legs”. It no longer contemplated “the possibility of a settlement”, it was agreed, without further delay, “to proceed to dismantle the figure of Sant Jordi
And it was when the group was dismantled in December 1952, when the happy discovery took place in his inside a lead tube containing: the only two Existing plans of “Casa Botines” floor plan and elevation signed by the teacher; several copies of the León newspaper “El Campeón” of January and February 1892, with news about the site on which Gaudí finally worked; and the The famous “act” of the building, in which the promoters of the work, gentlemen Fernandez and Andres, left a detailed record of the construction schedule, as well as those responsible for it, in all its facets.
The time had come for the figure of the Catalan patron saint to be placed again on the façade of “Casa Botines”, and as we know from precise testimonies that have survived to this day, collected mostly in the press of the time, the replacement of Sant Jordi took place between June 2 and 8, 1956. two days before the 30th anniversary of Gaudí’s death.
Gaudí has already shown, in the signed in December 1891, his intention to place the sculptural group of the “Sant Jordi and the dragon” on the south or main façade of “Casa Boots.”
Who left that lead tube inside the statue of St George? And why, is a mystery that remains unsolved.