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Manzana, Constantino

Constantino Manzana was born in Huesca but his adoptive home was Pamplona, given that he spent over fifty years of his life there. Born the 2nd July 1907 in Fonz (Huesca), near Barbastro, he worked alongside his brother, Juan Manzana in the 1930s, who was later admitted to the Salesian Order. His training flourished in the Escuela Salesiana de Sarriá in Barcelona, and in 1929 he first came to Pamplona to work as a foundry teacher in the professional school located there, run by the same religious congregation.In the early thirties, he began working in foundry and metals in Pamplona in a basement in Santo Andía street. Here he produced his first works which were displayed to the public in the Exhibition of Decorative Arts organised by the Ateneo Navarro in July 1933. The year before, in 1932, he created the monumental Cross which today stands in the Plaza de la Cruz square. Following the Civil War he constructed a professional electro-mechanic school in Pamplona, where he taught foundry work and adjustment mechanics, among other skills. The school opened in the early forties, and was located in Navarro Villoslada street right next to the Plaza de la Cruz. He later continued to work in a venue in Rochapea, though he worked decreasingly on foundry and metal projects. His last appearance in exhibitions was in the display organised by the Pamplona City Council during the 1947 San Fermín festival. Following this event, he began visiting various venues and activities. He worked in Olite street, in front of the Escolapios school, where he built chrome-metal bedframes. He had another workshop in the Carlos III avenue and later one in Zaragoza in a casting establishment. Finally, he opened a shoe-shop, first located in Descalzos street and later in number 28 Bergamín street, known as “Jesús Obrero’s” shop. In the eighties and nineties he left Pamplona for various stretches of time. He spent some time in a home in Fonz and also lived in Ibi in Alicante, where his Salesian brother was also resident. In August 1987 he created a scholarship of 15 million pesetas, for the Seminario de Orihuela in Alicante. The origins of this amount of money are unknown, given that he lived the majority of his life in poverty. On the 25th November 1992 he was admitted to the Casa de Misericordia in Pamplona, where he died on the 22nd August 1993. He was a man with his own ideas, and was extremely constant in defending them. He had no problem in voicing his opinions, nor when confronting civil or ecclesiastic authority. He was admitted to the psychiatric hospital in Pamplona where he formed a deep friendship with the director Don Federico Soto. He maintained regular contact with all kinds of authorities, civil governors, bishops and cardinals, bank managers, heads of institutions, etc. He also spent a stretch of time in prison in the fifties for his unusual opposition to the Franco regime. In short, very diverse aspects of a complex and undefinable character.

JMMS

Sources:

ARAZURI, J.J., Pamplona, calles y barrios, I. Pamplona, Ed. del autor, 1979. MURUZÁBAL DEL SOLAR, J.Mª., «Constantino Manzana, artista de la forja», en revista Pregón, siglo XXI, nº 15, Pamplona, 2000.