Pureza street is one of the most emblematic of Triana and surely one of the first that the neighborhood had (Pureza literally means 'Purity'). This is due to the fact that it joined two of its main and oldest landmarks: the Barcas bridge, which was located for centuries where the Isabel II bridge is today, and Santa Ana, the main temple of Triana, ordered to be built by Alfonso X to late 13th century.
The layout of this street is the shortest path between both points, so it is very likely that it was one of the main axes around which the inhabitants of the neighborhood settled their homes.
In fact, we have news that it was already an inhabited area since Islamic times. Archaeological excavations have shown that it was an area with numerous workshops and pottery kilns. In the first centuries of the Muslim Isbiliya, these activities were based mainly around Puerta Jerez and the south of the Avenida de la Constitución, where some authors even place a "potters' neighborhood" due to the amount of remains found.
However, as the palatial rooms of the Alcázar grew larger, these artisans were pushed to more remote areas, since the rulers did not like having them so close to their homes. It must be remembered that pottery was a fairly polluting activity for the time, especially because of the smoke that the kilns would give off.
So surely it was in this context that the potters began to settle on the other side of the river. In addition, with the construction in 1171 of the Barcas bridge, the traffic of both people and their goods between both banks was facilitated.
Apparently, clay work continued to be a characteristic activity of the neighborhood and specifically of this area after the arrival of the Christians. In fact, it would receive a new boost from the end of the 15th century, when the famous Niculoso Francisco Pisano settled on land at the current number 44 of the street.
This ceramist of Italian origin is an essential figure to understand the history of Triana and Seville ceramics. He introduced a new technique that consisted of painting directly on glazed tiles in white before firing, as if done on a canvas, which meant a greater formal and thematic variety. In this way, not only geometric or plant motifs could be represented, but also more complex scenes, with landscapes and characters. In fact, Pisano is considered one of the first introducers of Renaissance art in the city. The commemorative panel that we can see in the aforementioned building recalls it like this:
At the end of the 15th century, the ceramist Niculoso Francisco Pisano established his workshop and furnaces on the grounds that this building occupies. The pioneer introducer of the Renaissance and of a new ceramic painting technique that made Triana and Seville famous for the perfection achieved in this industry.
In the church of Santa Ana, located not far from this site, we find the first conserved work of Pisano. It is about the mysterious sepulchral lauda of Íñigo López. In it, his character appears reclining, with his hands crossed at the waist and a cross on his chest. He supports his head with a white cushion with tassels in the corners and in the frame you can read the name of the author, that of the figure represented and the year of his realization (1503). The part in which the profession, title or position of the deceased could be read was erased since ancient times, which caused the appearance of legends about his origin. The most commented is the one that identifies him with a slave who was murdered by his owner. The latter, repentant of his action, would have commissioned Nicoloso Pisano to bury him in the main church of Triana. From this story comes the custom of calling Íñigo the Negro from Santa Ana.
For some strange reason, for a time it was customary for women wishing to find a partner to hit him in the face with a shoe, following a rare superstition. This caused a great deterioration in this part, which fortunately could be partially rebuilt with the deep restoration that was undertaken in 2016.
In addition to the pottery activities, the proximity to the river made activities related to fishing and navigation very important in the area from very early on. In fact, at the end closest to the current Troya street, a fishermen's neighborhood was located that became known as the San Sebastián neighborhood. With the discovery of America and the new overseas vocation of Seville, these activities would be increased with the work in the repair of ships and the transport of goods. There are several engravings from the 16th and 17th centuries where large ships appear stranded in the area of what is now Calle Betis, while they are undergoing repairs.
In fact, in this same street the university of Mareantes would have its first headquarters, which was created in 1556 by guilds of mareantes to provide training in tasks related to navigation. It was thus a question of coping with the growing demand for labor in these areas, produced by the expansion of American trade.
It was located on the site that today occupies the Casa de las Columnas. However, the magnificent baroque and neoclassical building that we see today is a palace built in the 18th century, once the university had moved to the San Telmo palace.
The street has other buildings from the 18th and even the 17th, but most of them are from the 19th and 20th centuries. In any case, even in the most recent reforms, buildings have generally been given a fairly uniform aesthetic sense around nineteenth-century houses, which endows the street as a whole with a certain very beautiful harmony.
There is a beautiful example of Mannerist architecture, which almost always goes unnoticed among its facades. It is the so-called Quemá house, at number 72. It is a late 16th century palace, now converted into a housing corral. It could be the residence of some position of the Inquisition, or even the seat of one of the offices that depended on the central headquarters, in the castle of San Jorge. It has even been said that Torquemada himself lived there and that the nickname of Casa Quemá would come from there.
In any case, its cover is a beautiful example of mannerism in Sevillian civil architecture. It is composed of a large lintel span, with a frame of padded ashlars. In the upper part, a frieze of triglyphs and metopes and a split curved pediment, with each of the parts forming scrolls. Above it, a covered attic with a triangular pediment. In the center, two angels in beautifully mannerist postures hold an ornate but empty oval shield.
Finally, we could refer to the name of the road, Purity. Although it existed since before, the first mentions of the name of the street that appear are from the early sixteenth century, when it was called Calle Ancha de Santana. With this name it remained for centuries, until at the beginning of the 19th century it began to be called Larga de Santana.
It was renamed Calle Purza in 1859, on the fifth anniversary of the proclamation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of Mary. However, Seville was long before a firm defender of the belief that the Virgin came into the world without the original sin with which we mortals come. So she was conceived pure, undefiled, Immaculate.
On the facade of the Chapel of the Sailors there is a beautiful reference to this dedication of the street. It is a small clay sculpture of an Immaculate Conception, which is located in the central niche above the door. It is a work by Antonio Illanes Rodríguez from 1962. This sculptor stood out above all as an image maker and from him we can admire works in procession during Holy Week in many parts of Andalusia. For example, in Seville the Christs of the Waters and of the Lanzada are his works, as well as the Virgen de la Paz of the brotherhood of El Porvenir.
In this case, Illanes depicted a Virgin in youth, with rounded and simple shapes that achieve a very sweet harmony. As attributes of the Immaculate, she shows her hands gently crossed over her chest and at her feet there is a crescent moon, which is barely visible at the foot of the street.
It was located there at the completion of the reform works that allowed the brotherhood of Esperanza se Triana to return to its old headquarters, which it had had to abandon in 1868. During the intervening period, the brotherhood was located in San Jacinto. When choosing the theme for the central niche of its façade they wanted to refer to one of its headlines, since its full title is Pontificia, Real e Ilustre Hermandad y Archicofradía de Nazarenos del Santísimo Sacramento y de la Pura y Limpia Concepción de la Blessed Virgin Mary, of the Holy Christ of the Three Falls, Our Lady of Hope and Saint John the Evangelist. So the little Inmaculada de Illanes has all the coherence in the façade of the chapel, not only as the holder of the brotherhood, but as an invocation to which the street on which it is located is dedicated.
Over the years, the Capilla de los Marineros has become the main visitor attraction on Pureza Street, because the beautiful image of Esperanza de Triana is one of the main Marian invocations of Seville and the that more faithful moves in his neighborhood. Coming to visit it at its headquarters is always an opportunity to enjoy the historical and artistic wealth of the emblematic environment in which it is located.