Hospital de los Venerables Sacerdotes
Gallery, Historic Building and Museum in Seville
The Hospital de los Venerables of Seville, Spain, is a baroque 17th-century building which served as a residence for elderly, impoverished and infirm priests. It is located in Barrio Santa Cruz, in a pretty square with orange trees.
It is now used as an art gallery, notably the Focus-Abengoa Foundation’s collection of 17th-century paintings in the Centro Velázquez. Although not a big collection, each work is a masterpiece of its genre.
What to see in Hospital de los Venerables Sacerdotes
Velázquez Center at Hospital de los Venerables Sacerdotes
The hospital is home to the Velázquez Centre; which aims to recreate the historic and artistic world of the painter Diego Velázquez (1599-1660). The center displays other works from the period, and shows the the importance of his legacy. At the time of Velázquez, Seville’s spectacular art scene was the main focus of attention for all Europe.
The center shows works by the Sevillano painter including Santa Rufina, the Triana potter who was a Christian martyr, and Murillo’s Santa Catalina, with her golden shawl.
In addition, there is a collection of contemporary art upstairs, with pieces by Carmen Laffon, Ramon Gaya and Luis Gordillo, as well as early photographs from the end of the 19th century.
The Church at the Hospital de los Venerables Sacerdotes
The church is an ornate baroque building which has a single nave covered by a barrel vault with lunettes and arches, and was dedicated to San Fernando, King of Castille. Like the Hospital de la Caridad, the chapel has paintings by Murillo and sculptures by Pedro Roldán.
The Cloister at the Hospital de los Venerables Sacerdotes
The central courtyard, divided into two arcaded galleries, is in the style of a traditional Seville courtyard. In the center is a stepped central fountain with circular steps that are lined with pretty azulejos (ceramic tiles). The courtyard is square-shaped and has a gallery of Tuscan arches on marble columns around it. The fountain was designed by Bernardo Simón de Pineda and built by Francisco Rodríguez, the tiles on the fountain were made by Melchor Moreno.
The central fountain is surrounded by a concentric flight of steps made of brick and tiles, designed like this as the the Hospital was built at a higher ground level than the street, causing water supply problems.
The History of Hospital de los Venerables Sacerdotes
Founded in the seventeenth century by Justino de Neve, who was priest of the nearby Seville Cathedral, the hospital originally had the task of welcoming retired or sick elderly priests, according to a project sponsored and strongly desired by the Confraternita del Silenzio.
Construction began in 1676 with the architect Juan Domínguez. The residential part of the building, however, was designed by the master architect Leonardo de Figueroa , one of the most important artists of the Spanish Baroque.
The institution was financed by the Brotherhood funds, people’s charity and the support of the monarchy. However, in 1840 facing bankruptcy Hospital became a textile factory. Fortunately this only lasted for 8 years before a Royal Order gave back the Hospital to its legitimate owners who still hold the property.
Other names of Hospital de los Venerables Sacerdotes
The Hospital de los Venerables Sacerdotes has the following names: Hospital de Venerables Sacerdotes, Hospital of Venerable Priests, Hospital of the Venerable.
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