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Seville Cathedral: Chapter-House

From the Ante-Chapter-House a curved passage leads to one of the most admirable areas of Spanish Renaissance architecture: the Chapter-House of the Cathedral. It was begun in 1558 under the direction of the architec Hernán Ruiz II and was finished by Asensio de Maeda in 1592.

The layout of this area is elliptical so that all the members of the cathedral chapter were perfectly visible at their meetings where the problems of the spiritual and material government of the church were brought up and discussed. The oval vaulting in one simple unit helps the voice to carry and has exceptional acoustics. The need for hearing and seeing required in the meetings of the numerous clergy was thus satisfactorily solved, but at the same time the wall decoration of the Chapter-House consists of a complex series of pictures and figures to emphasize the virtues expected of those who came to meet there so that their exchange of ideas and opinions would take place in an atmosphere of harmony and concerd. The walls therefore show a moral code for the canons to observe in their chapter meetings. The composition of pictures and figures designed by the canon Francisco Pacheco includes a seies of sculptures ans paintings with Latin inscriptions referring to the meanings of the images. All this decoration appears in the second section of the Hall, and the first to be seen between the pedestals of the columns are painted versions of the Virtues, among which Justice, Charity, Faith, Compassion and Hope can be identified. These virtues are female figures, some of which represent Saints at the same time, such as St Barbara, St Katherine, St Lucy and St Agnes. These paintings were carried out by Pablo de Céspedes in 1592.

Sala Capitular

The authors of the large vertical reliefs between the columns are Juan Bautista Vázquez el Viejo and Diego de Velasco who made them approximately between 1582 and 1582. They show The Assumption of the Virgin, Two Miracles of St John the Evangelists, The cleasing of the Temple, The Heavenly Father with the Vintagers, The seven Angels calling the Damned, The Ectasy of St John Evangelist and The Allegory of the Mystic Lamb. The rectangular reliefs were carried out by Marcos Cabrera around 1590 and show The last Sermon of Jesus Christ, Daniel in the Lions´Den, Christ´s Baptism, The Storm in the Sea of Tiberias, The Parable of the Sower, Christ,s Agony in the Garden, St Peter contemplating the unclean Animals and Christ washing the Feet of the Apostles.

In the vault there is a magnificent series of paintings by Murillo who was commissioned by the Chapter in 1667. In a splendid carved frame everything centres on La Inmaculada, which may be considered among the most beautiful the artist made of the subject. Painted on circular canvases around the vault there is a series of eight Seville Saints who can be identified by the name on the signs. They are San Hermenegildo, San Fernando, San Leandro, San Isidoro, San Laureano, Santa Justa, Santa Rufina and San Pio. The Chapter-House centres on a magnificent mahogany armchair which was carved by the sculptor Diego de Velasco in 1592. Before it there is the secretary´s bench, also of excellent design by the same artist.

HISPALIS Net Catedral Puertas Coros

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