Built not very far from the place of Quintã, the Chapel of Our Lady of Piety is located in the village that was once part of the “honra” [land with privileges] of Baltar and close to the old road which connected Porto with Penafiel and Amarante.
Despite the fact that the parish priest of Baltar declared this Chapel as being Gothic in 1864, this building is difficult to date.
The Chapel falls within the community or patronage devotional building typology, which was dedicated to saints or had Christological or Marian invocations.
Here, the Marian worship took over, being later dedicated to the Virgin of Piety – an expression of maternal distress in response to the Golgotha tragedy and a subject that pleased the Counter Reformation.
It may be characterized as a hermitage, due to its constructive context – built in a formerly bleak, isolated or peripheral site -, the Chapel was probably built in two different phases, starting with the chancel – which suggests its function as a hermitage – and, in a second phase, with the construction of the remaining part of its body.
Taking the vernacular method of its construction as a starting point – in which the building’s technical, cultural, economic and social isolation may have had some influence in the construction, leading to the survival and stagnation of specific Romanesque construction formulas to the detriment of the adoption of more recent and well-known styles, such as those from the Gothic or Renaissance periods; we can fit it into the so-called “românico de resistência” [resistance Romanesque] style, since this style is likely to be identified even during the 16th century.
1600 – Reference to the Hermitage of Our Lady;
1758 – Referred to as Hermitage of Our Lady of Quintã;
1864 – Referred to as Chapel of Our Lady of Piety, showing a Gothic style;
20th century – Roof repair and maintenance works;
2010 – Integration of the Chapel of the Lady of Piety of Quintã in the Route of the Romanesque;
2012 – Opening of the process for the classification of the Chapel of Quintã.
Architecture and Furniture
This is a small-sized Chapel which took advantage of the surrounding agricultural area to lay its foundations. Built according to the canonical orientation, it comprises a single nave and chancel.
In the nave, the ashlars are irregular, unlike what we see in the chancel, where the ashlars are isodomic, despite having different sizes, and define rows with regular heights.
Simultaneously, the existence of decorative elements solely in the chancel, showing floral motifs, is information that confirms the existence of two different construction phases.
The main portal is slightly broken, without any decorative elements; it is merely carved into the wall’s thickness, showing voussoirs with irregular profiles.
In the main façade, in addition to the portal, we find a belfry that seeks to create an illusion of verticality. It is positioned at the centre, on the gable’s apex.
Closed in on itself, the Chapel of Quintã shows quite a restrained internal space, which underwent transformations over the centuries: the triumphal arch was probably transformed during the Modern Age, taking the regular nature of its voussoirs into account (when compared to the rest of the construction), although there was a reuse of a frieze from an earlier period, which is decorated with floral motifs in relief.
On the Gospel side, the solid stone pulpit with wooden baluster rails stands out, having an access staircase on its right side.
Still inside, on the apse’s back wall, there is a narrow crevice of Romanesque flavour. Above the crevice, there is a round-arched niche with the image of the patron saint.
Regular guided visits