The Sanctuary of Fátima’s application for UNESCO World Heritage status

Art historian Vítor Serrão at the presentation of the book
Art historian Vítor Serrão at the presentation of the book "Fátima e a criação artística: o Santuário e a Iconografia" by Marco Daniel Duarte.

Art historian Vítor Serrão defended the Sanctuary of Fátima’s candidacy for UNESCO World Heritage status, due to the quality of the monumental and artistic ensemble there.

At the presentation of the book “Fátima and artistic creation: the Sanctuary and Iconography”, by Marco Daniel Duarte, Vítor Serrão considered the Sanctuary of Fátima “a work of art worthy of gaining a prominent place in the heritage of humanity”, suggesting the proposal to UNESCO.

“For all its aesthetic, spiritual, hierophanic and artistic values, it is an ensemble that competes for a candidacy as a World Heritage Site, which it is, in its own right,” due to the “various contributions from the best artistic labour force in the country and also from some foreign artists.”

The professor emeritus of the Faculty of Letters of the University of Lisbon said he found an unexpected unity in Fatima. “For me, it was a complete novelty: I discovered that what I thought was a patchwork of objects of greater or lesser quality, which I was more or less passionate about, together gained a unity that is undeniable.”

The art historian considered that “the quality of the architecture, painting, sculpture, stained glass, liturgical furnishings and other art” makes Fatima more than just a place of worship, hierophanies and large pilgrimage movements. “There is a heritage and artistic equipment that is usually diminished, or at least not emphasised for the value it really has, and that needs to be seen in a different light.” This group includes names such as António Teixeira Lopes, Irene Vilar, Lagoa Henriques, Zulmiro de Carvalho, Clara Menéres, José Aurélio, Marko Rupnik, Jorge Barradas, Eduardo Nery, Pedro Calapez, Catherine Greene, Robert Schad, Fernanda Fragateiro, among others.”

LUSA | 14 Sep 2023