Palatial architecture in the city of Seville. Description of all the palaces that have populated the city throughout its history. From the first Mudejar and Gothic examples to the great palaces of the Sevillian Baroque
We are in front of a 16th century palace house, of which we do not know documentary origin. However, it is clear that it has undergone successive reforms over the following centuries, mainly in the 17th and 19th centuries, as reflected in the inscription on the lintel over the main door: 1560, 1654 and 1856.
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The main façade has preserved a beautiful Renaissance portal from the 16th century, framed by Ionic columns with plant decoration on the shafts. They support a lintel on which appear a series of corbels that in turn support the central balcony.
Inside, the model of a Sevillian house is faithfully reproduced, with the rooms distributed around a porticoed patio on all four sides. On the floor below, the arches are semicircular and rest on marble columns with capitals of ribbons or castanets. The arches have the classic Sevillian plateresque decoration, with vegetation and 'candelieri'. Between them, a series of pilasters support a continuous frieze, all with the same decorative motif.
The House of the Moorish King is a construction dating from the fifteenth century, which makes it one of the oldest houses that we can find in Seville. It is currently the headquarters of the Blas Infante Foundation.
Virtually nothing is known about the history of this house, so we do not know where the nickname by which it is known comes from. The researcher Celestino López Martínez pointed out in his day that it could refer to the 'King of Niebla and the Algarve D. Abenmafor, in the mid-13th century'. However, no remains can be found in the house from before the 15th century, so the most widespread hypothesis today is that the Mudejar, 'arabesque' decoration of the house caused the neighbors to spontaneously identify it as Casa del Moro. .
The house has a rectangular floor plan, with a main façade facing Sol street and a lateral one through which the orchard was originally accessed. The rooms are distributed around a patio, which is the best preserved and most interesting space. It is porticoed on two of its sides on the ground floor and on three on the top. The arches are made of exposed brick, peralted on the ground floor and lowered on the top, and rest on brick pillars. It should be noted that originally most of the houses of the Mudejar tradition in Seville used to use this type of pillars, but very few have reached our days. This is because, with the arrival of Renaissance taste in the city, most of these brick pillars were replaced by marble columns, often brought directly from Italy. In addition, the pillars of this house are especially interesting because they adopt a great variety of sections, including on the upper floor some of the 'Solomonic' type, with the body twisted in a spiral.
This palace house on Zaragoza street is known as Casa de Santa Teresa because the first foundation of the Discalced Carmelites in the city was established there, by the hand of six nuns who accompanied Saint Teresa herself to Seville. Her brother, Lorenzo de Cepeda, bought the house for them in 1576 and a letter from Saint Teresa to the clergyman García Álvarez has been preserved in which he describes it with great praise:
'The lieutenant says that there is no better house in Seville or better position. It seems to me that the heat should not be felt in it. Now they are all in the patio, where mass is said in a room until the church is done, and they see the whole house, that in the innermost patio there are good rooms. The orchard is very graceful, the views extreme'.
The Carmelites would stay there for about ten years until they moved to a new convent in the Barrio de Santa Cruz, the convent of San José or de las Teresas, which is still active as a Carmelite convent today.
The original house underwent important modifications in 1882, when it underwent a profound reform to adapt it to the prevailing taste of the time. In 1924 it was bought by Armando de Soto, who wanted to return it as far as possible to its original appearance from the 16th century, the time when it was inhabited by Saint Teresa. The reform was entrusted to the great architect of Sevillian regionalism, Vicente Traver, who restored the façade to its original appearance based on a drawing that Cardinal Lluch, Archbishop of Seville, had done before the 1882 reform. The architect also recovered the interior all the elements he could from the original house.
Inside, the traditional scheme of the Sevillian palace house is reproduced, with a hallway after the entrance through which you can access a porticoed patio around which the house is distributed. The access staircase to the upper floors is located in one of the corners of the patio, also following the tradition of Sevillian houses.
The Casa de Salinas is an example of the type of Sevillian palace house from the 16th century, characterized by synthesizing the contributions of the Renaissance with the Gothic-Mudejar tradition of the city. It was ordered to be built by Baltasar de Jaén y Roelas from 1577.
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During the 19th century, the House went through various uses. According to its website, it even hosted a Masonic lodge, 'which when it left left an extensive trail of rumors about death practices and corpses buried in the house and nobody wanted to live in it. From these rumors he became convinced that the Freemasons had left a hidden treasure. The rumor was so strong that they began to make holes in the entire house. The search ended when they mistakenly punctured a septic tank with unpleasant consequences for everyone digging at the time.'
At the end of the 19th century, the house would be acquired by Eduardo Ybarra, who would undertake a profound reform to which we owe in part its current appearance. It would be enriched with elements such as the tiles of the Casa Mensaque de Triana, a mosaic by Bacchus from Itálica and dating from the 2nd century, a marble sculpture of the Virgen de los Remedios from the old Convent of Los Remedios and a series of stained glass windows from Pickman's factory for the upper dining room and main courtyard.
In 1930 the house would be acquired by Manuel Salinas de Malagamba and it would be then when it would take the current name of Casa de Salinas.
Architecturally, the house is articulated around a patio with a double gallery, with semicircular arches on the ground floor and carpanels on the upper floor. They sit on marble columns and are enriched with a profuse 'candelieri' decoration, very characteristic of Plateresque.
Currently, the Casa de Salinas is privately owned but is open to cultural visits and can also be rented for events.
The Casa de Pilatos is one of the most outstanding examples of 16th century civil architecture in Andalusia, constituting a beautiful synthesis of Italian Renaissance art and the Sevillian Mudejar style.
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Its construction began at the end of the 15th century by the Mayor of Andalusia Pedro Enríquez and his wife, Catalina de Ribera, although the bulk of its work was undertaken in the time of their son, Fadrique Enríquez de Ribera, first Marquis of Rate.
He carried out a pilgrimage to the Holy Land in 1518, touring a large part of Italy both on his way out and on his return, a fact that would greatly mark the physiognomy of the palace. He was able to admire great works of the Italian Renaissance in cities like Venice, Milan, Rome or Genoa. In this last city he would commission the sculptor Antonio María Aprile, the magnificent portal that constitutes the main access to his palace. It is made of white marble and reproduces the shape of a Roman triumphal arch, with Corinthian pilasters framing a semicircular arch. In the spandrels there are two classic medallions with the effigies of Julius Caesar and Trajan, both closely linked to the city. On the frieze, between the family coats of arms, there is a large inscription with metal characters inserted in marble, alluding to the construction of the palace and this doorway.
The façade is topped by a Gothic-style cresting, which apparently comes from a previous palace that the family owned in Bornos. In the central part of this balustrade, there are three pillars, each one with a Jerusalem cross and the inscription "4 DAYS OF AUGUST 1519. ENTERED HIERUSALEM", alluding to Don Fadrique's pilgrimage to the Holy Land.
From this pilgrimage, which apparently deeply marked the Marquis of Tarifa, most likely comes the name Casa de Pilatos by which the palace is generally known. For a long time the legend existed that the marquis had reproduced in his home the traces of the palace of the Roman praetorian Pontius Pilate in Jerusalem and that this is where the name would come from. In fact, the portico that faces outwards on the first floor next to this façade is sometimes referred to as the “Ecce Homo” balcony, since it would supposedly reproduce the space where Jesus was shown to the people in the famous Biblical passage.
The slightest formal and stylistic analysis of the palace makes it clear that this theory is nothing more than a legend. What does seem more probable is the relationship of the popular name of the palace with the famous Via Crucis that starts from it and that reaches the Cruz del Campo temple, which is still preserved in the current Luis Montoto street.
According to tradition, the Marquis of Tarifa, on his pilgrimage to Jerusalem, would have measured the exact distance that went from the praetorium palace where Jesus was tried to Mount Calvary where he was crucified. This distance would coincide with the one between the façade of the palace and the aforementioned temple.
The niche with a cross that is to the left of the main portal, made in the 17th century with colorful marbles of different colors, alludes to this circumstance. This cross would mark the first station of the aforementioned Way of the Cross, as can be read in the inscriptions that appear on the sides.
Inside, the space of the palace is articulated around a series of patios and gardens, generating a very complex layout.
The peculiar stylistic diversity of this space, which harmoniously brings together Gothic, Mudejar, Renaissance and Romantic elements, is the product of successive interventions on a rectangular courtyard, centered on the chapel and porticoed only on its short sides, built at the end of the s. XV by Pedro Enríquez and Catalina de Ribera. His son Fadrique, the pilgrim to Jerusalem, began his Renaissance transformation: he enlarged its dimensions making it quadriform, opened galleries on its four sides, replaced the brick pillars with Genoese columns and placed in its center the marble fountain also acquired in Genoa. Fadrique was inherited in 1539 by his nephew Per Afán, who, in addition to enriching its corners with the four main pieces of his sculpture collection (see no. 4), arranged around it a gallery of busts of ancient characters that, as a historical mirror, it reinforces the idea of continuity between the founding of Rome and the new empire of Carlos V. Already in the s. In the XIX century, novelties to the romantic taste are introduced, such as the opening of an access in its center, the replacement of the clay floor by marble and the placement of new pseudo-Nazarite mullioned windows.
The central and most emblematic element of the palace is the central patio. It has a marked Renaissance air, despite the profuse Mudejar decoration and the presence of Gothic elements. This is due to the profuse use of marble in columns and flooring, and the splendid collection of Roman pieces on display in the courtyard. For example, in each of the corners there are four Roman female sculptures, all original from the 1st and 2nd centuries. They represent Pallas Pacifera, Pallas as a warrior, Copa Syrisca and Faustina the Less deified as Fortuna. In the center of the patio, a marble fountain with a bust of Jano Bifronte, also original from the 1st century. In addition, the patio walls are crossed by a series of niches in which a magnificent collection of busts of original emperors is exhibited. one of the best private collections that exist of this matter.
These works are just a part of the magnificent sculptural collection that can be admired on a visit to the palace. The main nucleus of the complex was made up of Per Afán de Ribera, 1st Duke of Alcalá, mainly with works from the Viceroyalty of Naples, where he even financed excavations. The pieces have been exhibited in various rooms of the palace and many of them next to the so-called Jardín Chico, one of the two beautiful garden spaces that flank the palace. The interior rooms generally adopt names related to the aforementioned identification of the palace with the house of Pilatos. In this way, we have the Praetorium Hall, the Chapel of the Flagellation or the Pilate's Cabinet.
The Salón del Praetorio, between the main patio and the Jardín Chico, preserves all its original elements from the 16th century, including the magnificent wooden coffered ceiling and the tile covering on the basin and edge of the walls.
The Chapel of the Flagellation, located on one side of the main patio, is considered the oldest room in the palace, built in a Mudejar Gothic style. In its center is a column, which tradition identifies with the one used in the flagellation of Jesus and hence the name of the chapel. On the altar there is a paleo-Christian sculpture from the 4th century that represents Jesus as the Good Shepherd. Perhaps this is the oldest image of Jesus among those that can be seen in Seville.
The Pilatos Cabinet, located under the tower, has a square plan and an octagonal fountain in its center, elements that relate it to the 'qubbas' of Mudejar architecture. It is covered by an imposing wooden coffered ceiling. It is made of "street and rope" lacework made up of ten-sided wheels that have a ten-pointed star as their center, forming a composition that symbolically alludes to the celestial vault.
For its part, the upper floor was ordered to be built by Fadrique Enríquez de Ribera in the 16th century and was decorated with a series of illustrious characters from Antiquity and with an allegorical composition on the Triumph of the Four Seasons. Later, Francisco Pacheco, Velázquez's father-in-law, painted the ceilings with a series of mythological themes. Currently, a series of pieces from the Medinaceli collection are exhibited in these spaces, which include not only furniture and tapestries, but also paintings by artists such as Goya, Lucas Jordán or Carreño Miranda.
This is a palace house that was originally built in the 14th century, but has undergone numerous modifications throughout its history, especially in the 16th, 18th and 19th centuries. The main façade, in neoclassical style, corresponds to this last period. Currently, it serves as the headquarters of the San José de la Montaña school.
Inside, the house is articulated around a porticoed patio, with peralted arches with Plateresque decoration, which rest on marble columns. In the corner, as is usual in Sevillian mansions, a splendid staircase gives access to the second floor.
Some of the rooms in the medieval palace have been preserved, such as the so-called 'girls' room' and a square-shaped room used today as a chapel. The elements of greatest artistic value are preserved there, such as the tiled plinths with loop wheels, similar to those of the Alcázar, or the beautiful plasterwork with ataurique decoration, Kufic and scallop inscriptions. The octagonal wooden vault that originally covered the space was lost and today it has a contemporary cover that reproduces the shape of the original.
The upper floors are the result of the 19th century reform and have lounges decorated in English style.
It owes its name to the fact that it was built by the Pinelo family, merchants of Genoese origin. In 1524 it would be donated by the family to the chapter of the Cathedral, which would hold its property until the 19th century. By then, the result of the confiscation would return to private hands, passing through various owners and uses. In the 60s of the 20th century it was acquired by the City Council, which ended up ceding the property to the General Directorate of Fine Arts in 1972. It then began a profound reform directed by Rafael Manzano Martos. It is currently the headquarters of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of Santa Isabel de Hungría and the Royal Sevillian Academy of Good Letters.
The main façade is quite simple and in it the different floors can be clearly distinguished, with the ground floor raised with ashlars and the first floor with brick. On the upper floor there is a viewing gallery with semicircular arches on marble columns, seated in turn on a Gothic-style balustrade.
The interior of the building is articulated around two patios. The first, smaller, served as a halt and is porticoed with carpanel arches on marble columns. The second is a magnificent Renaissance courtyard, also porticoed, but this time with semicircular arches resting on columns of castanets. The arches are richly decorated with Plateresque reliefs. In the spandrels there are a series of medallions with characters of the time, among which are the original owners of the palace. The arches on the upper floor are also supported by marble columns and are similarly decorated, although in this case they are lowered arches.
Among the rooms that surround the patio, a good part of the original wooden coffered ceilings from the 16th century have been preserved. It is also noteworthy the beautiful garden at the back of the house, very renovated in the restoration of Manzano in the 70s.