Capilla del Carmen en Triana, Sevilla, Aníbal González


The Carmen de Triana chapel stands like a small lighthouse next to the bridge, constituting one of the most recognizable and appreciated architectural elements in the neighborhood.

It is one of the last works of Aníbal González, who completed it in 1928, just a year before his death. This architect is probably the one who has most influenced the appearance of Seville that has come down to us. After some initial works with a certain modernist character, from 1909 it turned to historicism and became the main example of regionalist architecture, which would mark the prevailing aesthetics in the city during the first decades of the 20th century.

His most recognizable and famous works are those made for the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929, such as the current headquarters of the Archaeological and Popular Customs museums, the Royal Pavilion and, above all, the Pavilion and the Plaza de España. This last set, in a spectacular neo-baroque style that combines the use of elements such as brick, ceramic or wrought iron, has become one of the undisputed architectural icons of the city, despite the fact that it is less than a century old. of existence.

The City Council commissioned the architect for this chapel to replace a previous one with the same dedication that existed in the vicinity, where today are the access stairs to the Triana Market. It was a building, also small in size, built in the 19th century to house a small anonymous canvas representing the Virgen del Carmen. When the widening of the bridge platform was undertaken, the road was also widened by the Altozano and for this it was decided to demolish the old chapel in 1918. To preserve the neighborhood's devotion to this image of the Virgen del Carmen, the small temple that has survived to this day. In it, that canvas of the Virgin is worshiped, which was already the object of devotion in the disappeared chapel.

The current temple has two main elements. In the first place, the chapel itself, covered by a hemispherical dome, which in turn is finished off by a small temple that houses the images of Santas Justa and Rufina holding the Giralda between them. On the other hand, there is a small octagonal bell tower. Between them, a rectangular space serves as a connection which, like the main cylindrical space, has its own access.

The entire set is made of exposed brick, some parts of which are arranged forming geometric decorative motifs reminiscent of the sebka panels of the cathedral tower. Both the dome and the temple and tower finishes are tiled with Triana ceramics, with a rich decoration that includes the coat of arms of the Carmelite order, among vegetal motifs and scrolls. The ceramicist from Triana, Emilio García García, collaborated in this work, as he would do with the work of Aníbal González in the Plaza de España.

In the work by Víctor Pérez Escolano dedicated to Aníbal González in 2017, the author describes our chapel like this: This third religious work by the architect is a very interesting work. Of tiny dimensions, it is almost an ideogram, dome and tower, idea of ​​sacred space and idea of ​​call and elevation; we are before some spatial symbols but extracted from their true power, from their real space in short. The Capilla del Altozano, more than a chapel, is a cross of term, a humilladero, a religious memory to the passage of the passer-by who crosses from Triana to Seville.

As we mentioned, the chapel regularly houses the canvas of the Virgen del Carmen, an anonymous work from the 18th century, which had previously been worshiped in the church of Santa Ana and in the disappeared chapel of Altozano. The main body of the Aníbal González temple has a wide entrance that always allows the painting to be seen from the outside. Even today the custom of many Sevillians to cross themselves before it every time they pass through the Triana bridge persists.

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