2016

Miguel de Cervantes: a life of adventure

Agencia EFE

Miguel de Cervantes’ life is the mirror where the characters and predicaments of the Quijote de la Mancha, a genius work that left a mark on the whole world.

Miguel de Cervantes: A life of adventure
Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra was born in Alcalá de Henares (Madrid) in 1547. His father was a barber-surgeon and due to his job and debts, the family lived in different Spanish cities like Valladolid, Cordova, Seville and Madrid. In 1569, he left Spain fleeing justice and installed himself in Rome. He joined the militia and took part in the battle of Lepanto against the Turks where he was severely injured and his left hand became useless. Returning to Spain in a boat, with his brother Rodrigo, they would be captured by corsairs and would spend five years prisoner before recovering freedom, after paying a ransom of 500 ducat. In 1585 he published his first novel, “La Galatea”. Appointed as Royal Commissioner of supplies for the Spanish Armada he was imprisoned in Castro del Río (Cordova) under accusations of selling part of the wheat seized. Later he spent five months imprisoned in Seville, when a banker, to whom he had given money from his job as a tax collector, bankrupted. “El ingenioso hidalgo Don Quijote”, published in 1605, is considered the beginning of the modern novel. As the author explains in the prologue, it’s a parody of chivalric romance and the ethics of the medieval knights. But the book went further than the intentions of it’s author and Don Quijote, the Knight of the Woeful Countenance whom Cervantes wished to present as a ludicrous character, has become an archetype of nobility of character and naïve and deranged idealism. In 1615 he published the second part of the Quixote to claim authorship of the work, due to the publishing of a false second part of the Quixote written by Avellaneda. Miguel de Cervantes died on April the 22nd 1616.

Portrait of the writer Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, made by Jauregui (Portrait property of the Royal Academy).

Opening of the rebuilt “House of Cervantes” in the heart of the old Jewish quarter, in the Calle Mayor, that holds the Cervantine Museum and Library. The house has two floors, with a central court and a small garden in the main façade, where many of the plants Cervantes mentions in his books will be grown.

Visitors wait for their turn to enter in the birthplace house of Cervantes museum, where is found one of the best collection of editions of the Quixote in different languages, placed in the Calle Mayor of the Madrid town of Alcalá de Henares

Alcalá de Henares (Madrid) 1950s.- Miguel de Cervantes study in the Birthplace House Museum in Alcalá de Henares.

A Castilian armchair, a brazier and an oil lamp on a desk, are some of the furniture and accessories that are used to recreate the atmosphere of the Sala Noble of a home in the 16th and 17th century, in the Cervantes Birthplace House Museum. The Cervantine museum is in the building where some studies say was born the famous writer and in it’s rooms the atmosphere and daily life of the Spanish Golden Age.

Baptism record of Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra.

View of the Church of Santa María where Miguel de Cervantes was baptized , that has been destroyed during the civil war (Undated 1940s).

View of the front court of a typical house of the 16th century of nobleman Don Alonso Quijada Salazar, uncle of Catalina de Palacios, Cervantes wife, who handed them over the upper floor when they married. Esquivias (Toledo) 1933.

View of hall and the wooden stairs heading to the upper floor, of a typical house of the 16th century of nobleman Don Alonso Quijada Salazar, uncle of Catalina de Palacios, Cervantes wife, who handed them over the upper floor when they married.

Baptismal certificate of Miguel de Cervantes.

Court of the house of Miguel de Cervantes in Valladolid.

Toledo, 1930s.- Central court of the Posada de la Sangre, of the 16th century. The court of rectangular shape is surrounded by galleries with balustrades, held by wooden pillars in the upper floor and by stone columns in the lower floor; around it the rooms of the inn are ordered. In this place, that was formerly known as the “El Mesón de El Sevillano”, Miguel de Cervantes wrote his novel “The Illustrious Kitchen Maid”.

Argel, May 1983.- Entry to the cave of Cervantes. View of the Cervantes grotto, cave where the Spanish author hid for a while in 1577 during a failed evasion attempt.

Plaque in the Cervantes street in Argel, where is the cave where the author hid in 1577 during a failed evasion attempt to escape from the corsairs that kept him prisoner since 1575 and that wouldn’t free him until 1580 when a payment of 500 golden ducats was made.

One of the eleven unique autographs of Cervantes that are kept in the National Library in Madrid, that also includes four counterfeit signatures and a study of the writing of the author from Alcalá de Henares.

Façade of the house where writer Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra died on April the 23rd 1616 in Madrid.

Miguel de Cervantes died on April 22, 1916 and was buried in the church of the Madrid convent of the Trinitarias Descalzas nuns of San Ildefonso. However, successive reforms carried out in the temple, forced to move his tomb and his remains were lost. Following an investigation, they were found side by side in an ossuary in 2015. In the church of San Ildefonso the convent of the Trinitarians of Madrid is erected a plaque in his honor. Cervantes was devoted to the Trinitarians because they paid much ransom demanded by the Barbary pirates in Algiers for the freedom of his brother and his. This order, founded in the late twelfth century, had as one of its functions the release of Christian captives in North Africa by paying ransoms.

Nearly 400 years after his death on April 23rd 1616, they are attempting to locate the mortal remains of Cervantes with a georadar in the Convent of the Trinitarias of Madrid where he asked to be buried. In the image, the façade of the Convent of the Trinitarias of Madrid, in the street Lope de Vega 18.

The technicians that search for Miguel de Cervantes in the church of Madrid of the Trinitarias, where it is believed he’s buried, begin today the forensic and anthropological works to find his bone remains among thirty niche and several tombs recently discovered.

Moment of the placing of the remains of the writer Miguel de Cervantes who now rest in the new monument erected in his honor in the church of San Idelfonso of the convent of the Trinitarias of Madrid, that were found in march by a team of researchers and that has been inaugurated today. In its visible part, the sepulcher has a stone plaque over a foundation of granite that is placed in the left of the door to the church, has a consideration of Cultural Interest Good. Beyond it, in the inside, there are three urns placed in a niche that keep the remains of the now famous reduction 32 of the crypt of the old church, where a team of researchers, archeologists and historians leaded by Francisco Etxeberria found the remains of the writer.

Detail of the facade of the Convent of the Trinitarians of Madrid.

Agencia EFE
Credits: Story

Agencia EFE S.A.U.
Coordinator: Luis de León González

They have participated: José Antonio González, Paloma Puente, Juan Manuel Ruiz y Carmen Tello.
Documentation and Graphic Archive Department, Commercial and Marketing Department and Technology and Systems Department.

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