Huesca temática

Number 109 Juny of 2007Spanish language Principal menu

Vincencio Juan de Lastanosa

A gentleman
and patron of Huesca

      The family of D. Vincencio Juan de Lastanosa (1607-1681), is coming from Monzón, settled in Huesca at the middle of century XVI, where he would exert his influence, having diverse rustic and urban properties. In 1628 would be proven nobility and of his family.
      V. J. de Lastanosa throughout his life carried out positions diverse in Huesca. It's possible to mention prior of juries (1675-76) and deputy of the Kingdom of Aragón (1671-72). His intervention in the war of Catalonia (1642) was important where he took the control of one of the companies of the city. Also he had emphasized participation during the 1651-52 plague that knocked down the city of Huesca. He was named Gentleman of the House of king Carlos II in 1677 also.
      In 1626 he contracted marriage with Catherine Gastón, a youngster of 13 years, of which he had 14 children and who only survived seven. The inheritance of Lastanosa would go to stop at the hands of last of his children - Vicente Antonio-, who would die without descendants; at this way, this inheritance would receive another one of its children -Juan Francisco-, a clergyman with familiar descendants, that later would hang the habits to marry legally.
     Lastanosa is influential man in all the matters of the human knowledge, of which opportune and abundant information procured himself. In addition to patron, he emphasizes like collector. Lastanosa enjoyed excellent friendships in the world of the letters, as it is left patent in writings of Baltasar Gracián, that praises him extensively. But also the investigators and students of Lastanosa, have internationally promoted him.
     To Lastanosa captivated him the study and collecting of the currencies. Of this matter he published two books. One of them, in 1645, about the Iberian currencies; and the other, the year that died (1681) and that was a “Treaty of the 'iaquesiam' currency”. Also chemistry (alchemy) woke up the interest of Lastanosa, until the point of which during three years he provided accommodations in his palace, to the alchemist and priest of Italian origin, Nadal Baronio, that prepared for him potable gold, that apparently built prodigious effects for the health.
      It was maintained a narrow intellectual relation with Vincencio Juan de Lastanosa, Juan Francisco Andrés de Uztarroz and Diego Jose Dormer - both chroniclers of the Kingdom of Aragón-, Manuel Salinas, Francisco de Artiga, Diego Vincencio Vidania, Ana Francisca Abarca de Bolea, Juan Francisco Montemayor and Jusepe Martinez, the painter.
      Lastanosa family lived in her palace on the Coso street of Huesca - native city of Vincencio-, in the which today it corresponds with nº 27-29, at front of the Jesuits. This remarkable building had in its facade a tower finished off by a statue of Hercules, who maintained on his shoulders, the globe. In this house a splendid library existed (in addition to other great collections) with at least 1,000 works, according to a catalogue conserved in Stockholm. The rest of collected objects, include from paintings and sculptures, currencies, cameos, arms, fossils, precious stones,… to scientific maps and instruments. These collections were very common in Europe at the time that occupies to us.
     Behind the palace, beautiful and spectacular gardens existed that correspond with the old part of the today named Municipal Park of Miguel Servet. The famous garden of Lastanosa was divided in five parts.

      1. - Contiguous Space to the Palace, that included: a small quadrangular garden, to which was acceded by a door in which Vertumno and Flora were represented; in its interior there was a jet, a “stream” (surely, a drain) and a statue of the God "Término". A street covered with vine-trees and adorned with trees and plants that finished in three doors, in that they were painted:
• the Gods Jupiter and Juno with the eagle and the turkeys. By this door it was acceded to the rest of the gardens.
• the God Neptune mounted on a Triton. By it was entered to a “square” surrounded by small constructions in which birds grew up (from turkeys to hens).
• the Ibis bird (it was the door of a latrine).
     The rest of the gardens, by far its more extensive part, presented two perpendicular streets, adorned with roses trees and fruit trees. Longest, than was in East-West sense, was the continuation of the street covered with vine-trees that we finished mentioning, and was born, exactly, in the door with the Gods Jupiter and Juno.
      These two streets divided the gardens of Lastanosa in four parts:
     2. - Southeastern Zone. The greater one of all. Their more outstanding element was two long streets in cross horn, that formed in their center, when crossing itself, a little “round square” in whose entrances there were statues done of cypress.
      3. - Southwestern Zone. It constituted the less excellent space of the gardens; apparently, it was used like a work place.

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      4. - Northeast Zone. It was a length rectangle, ornamented with trees, roses trees, honeysuckle, jasmines and musks.
      5. - Zone the Northwest. Without a doubt, most spectacular. In it had:
• a first garden, with roses and trees.
• the house of the gardener.
• a little “square”.
• a great navigable pool (it counted on a gondola that had own wharf). It was adorned with statues of a considerable size of the Gods Neptune and Venus, and in its center rose a most singular circular small barren island.
• a labyrinth, surely vegetal, surrounded in three by its sides by a covered street.
• a washer, next to the channel of water-drainage of the pool.
• and a last garden, in which, among other plants, were cultivated tulips.
      The belief exists that these gardens was inhabited with wild animals (in particular, a lion, a tiger, a leopard, a bear and two ostriches) and the presence in them of singular French gardeners that took care of them, beeing monsieur Esquillot the first; but these particularitities seem not to correspond with the reality in that Huesca of century XVII.


Alfonso Zapater, habitual consultado en esta sección.  Manuel Tomé * Institute of Altoaragoneses Studies
** Government of Aragón
*** Manuel Tomé Bosqued

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