This community of Discalced Carmelites settled in Seville in 1575 at the hands of Saint Teresa herself, who traveled to the city to supervise the foundation. They first settled in some houses on Calle Alfonso XII and later on Calle Zaragoza, until in 1586 they moved to the location where we find them today, in the heart of the Barrio de Santa Cruz. San Juan de la Cruz himself participated in this transfer of the nuns to their new location, who was in the city supervising the operation.
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It was decided to buy the house of a Sevillian banker named Pedro de Morga. His was a classic Sevillian palace from the 16th century, so it was decided to use the patio of the house as a cloister for the new convent.
In this way, the cloister of the convent of Las Teresas is a Renaissance-style porticoed courtyard around which all the cloistered rooms are articulated. The patio has a rectangular floor plan and presents arches on marble columns, semicircular in the lower gallery and lowered in the upper one, a fairly common feature in other Sevillian palaces.
To the outside, the access facades to the church and the access to the convent are attached, both with lintelled and very simple entrances. On the one that gives access to the convent we see a small mural painting as the only decoration, representing the shield of the order flanked by two cherubs.
As for the façade of the church, the enormous roof that covers the entrance stands out, held in place by wrought iron braces. In its inner part, some original paintings from the 17th century have been preserved, with representations of various symbols and saints alluding to the Carmelite order.
Artistically, the most interesting part of the convent is its church, dating from the early 17th century, with a design attributed to the late-Renaissance architect Vedmondo Resta. It has a rectangular plan with a single nave and a square head. The nave is covered with a barrel vault with lunettes and the presbytery with a hemispherical vault. On the sides there are large niches in which altarpieces are embedded as lateral chapels.
The main altarpiece is the work of the assembler Jerónimo Velázquez from around 1630 and combines paintings on canvas and sculptures in a fairly classic late-Renaissance composition, inspired by notable models such as Martínez Montañés or Alonso Cano.
In the central niche, a beautiful representation of Saint Joseph with the Child, the work of Juan de Mesa, is venerated. The iconography in which the Child Jesus leads and indicates the way to Saint Joseph is followed here. On both sides, the main saints of the order, San Juan de la Cruz and Santa Teresa de la Cruz, in two anonymous sculptures from the 17th century. The paintings on canvas that complete the altarpiece are anonymous and deal with themes also related to the Carmelites.
Also by Juan de Mesa is the magnificent Immaculate Conception that occupies the center of one of the side altarpieces. The Virgin appears with the classic layout of her iconography but dressed in the Carmelite habit. It is flanked by Saint John the Baptist and the Prophet Elias, and in the attic there is a relief with the mystical Betrothal of Saint Teresa. With the exception of the Immaculate Conception by Juan de Mesa, the rest of the sculptures in the altarpiece are anonymous, although they are considered very close to the style of Pedro Roldán.
In the rest of the altarpieces there is a good collection of Sevillian painting and sculpture, mainly from the 17th and 18th centuries.
Unfortunately, the free visit to the convent church is very restricted and it is practically only possible to do so during mass hours.