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Plaça de la Virreina
Plaça de la Virreina Review
The much-punished and oft-restored church of Sant Joan de Gràcia in this square stands where the Palau de la Virreina once stood, the mansion of the same virreina (wife, in this case widow, of a viceroy) whose 18th-century palace on the Rambla (Palau de la Virreina) is now a prominent municipal museum and art gallery. The story of La Virreina, a young noblewoman widowed at an early age by the elderly viceroy of Peru, is symbolized in the bronze sculpture in the center of the square portraying Ruth (of the Old Testament), represented carrying the sheaves of wheat she was gathering when she learned of the death of her husband, Boaz. Ruth is the Old Testament paradigm of wifely faith to her husband's clan, a parallel to La Virreina's lifelong performance of good deeds with her husband's fortune.
The rectorial residence at the back of the church is the work of Gaudí's perennial assistant and right-hand man Francesc Berenguer. Just across the street, the house at Carrer de l'Or 44 was built in 1909, also by Berenguer. Giddily vertical and tightly packed into its narrow slot, it demonstrates one of his best tricks: building town houses sharing walls with adjacent construction.
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