Convent of Dominican nuns founded at the end of the 15th century, when Queen Isabella the Catholic ceded a large plot of the old Jewish quarter of Seville to the nuns. Some authors maintain that the convent was partly based on one of the old synagogues in the neighborhood, but this information has not been confirmed. The building that has survived to this day dates from the second half of the 16th century.
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The main elements of the convent can be dated to that date: the church, a small patio that acts as a cloister and another larger one that is used as a garden.
The temple is one of the largest convent churches found in Seville and the architects Juan de Simancas and Pedro Díaz Palacios were involved in its construction. It has a rectangular plan, with a square head and high and low choirs at the feet.
The façade is on the Gospel side, accessed through a late Renaissance doorway. The royal coat of arms appears on the lintel, flanked by that of the Dominicans, a symbol of the patronage of the Crown. In the central niche, we see a relief by Juan de Oviedo with a beautiful representation of the Virgin and Child giving a rosary to Saint Dominic de Guzmán, founder of the order. Next to it appears the iconographic element that traditionally identifies it: a dog holding a torch in its mouth. In the attic there is an image of God the Father in an attitude of blessing.
Inside, a large wooden coffered ceiling covers the nave, while a magnificent octagonal vault on tubes, also made of wood, covers the presbytery area. The nave and the presbytery are separated by a large, richly polychrome main arch, a very characteristic element of the Sevillian conventual churches as well.
In the church there are more than twenty burials, among which those of Hernán Cortes's wife, Juana de Zúñiga, and two of her daughters, which are found on the sides of the presbytery, stand out.
The main altarpiece is the work of Francisco de Barahona from the beginning of the 18th century, made to replace a previous one from the 16th century. Some images of Jerónimo Hernández were preserved from the original, such as the Virgin of the Rosary in the central niche, also called Madre de Dios de la Piedad.
On each side of the presbytery there are two valuable Renaissance side altars from the second half of the 16th century. As usual in Sevillian convent churches, they are dedicated to the 'Santos Juanes', that is, to Saint John the Baptist and Saint John the Evangelist, both the work of the sculptor and altarpiece artist Miguel Adán. However, it was Jerónimo Hernández who carved the image of Saint John the Evangelist, whom he represents at the end of his life, on Patmos, the place where he wrote the Apocalypse. The one dedicated to San Juan Bautista is just opposite and has a very similar structure to the previous one. In its central niche, Miguel Adán represented the scene of the Baptism of Christ.
They are not the only Renaissance altarpieces that the church has.
The one next to that of the Evangelist frames a beautiful panel painting with a Flemish-inspired Burial of Christ.
On the opposite side we find the altarpiece of the Virgen del Rosario, anonymous from the 16th century and of great quality. The image of the Virgin, in the center, appears flanked by Santo Domingo and Santo Tomás, while the rest of the altarpiece has a series of reliefs with different scenes from the life of Christ and the Virgin.
In the upper and lower choir space of the church, the nuns have set up a museum space in which a series of high-quality artistic pieces are exhibited, mainly sculptures from the 16th and 17th centuries. To cite just a few of them, we can mention the Virgin and Child by Mercadante de Brittany, a Risen One by Jerónimo Hernández or a Calvary by Cristóbal Ramos.
With the entrance to the museum, you collaborate with the large expenses that the convent has to face for the maintenance of the property and its valuable artistic heritage.