All that laundry planning worked out well resulting in 2 successful loads being completed this morning. With everything laid out on a rack to dry, we celebrated our success with a big circumnavigation of Santa Cruz stopping here and there to pick up some gifts.
This is our 5th trip to Sevilla and so we’ve covered just about all the major sites and most of the minor ones, mainly neighborhood churches and the occasional plaza. One more church was added this morning on our stroll, a tiny little chapel just up Calle Aguilas from Casa Pilatos. This one had a typically ornate altarpiece and some dark capillas along the sides but one unique feature graced the higher reaches of the apse – flying plaster angels, suspended over the congregation. First time I think I’ve seen them in 3D versus the more common relief versions.
One place has eluded us though, and not for any reason other than it being closed or us running out of time – Hospital de Los Venerables. Built in 1676 by Justino de Neves as a rest home for elderly priests, today it’s a museum featuring a nice collection of Baroque paintings as well as a beautifully restored church. Built in the traditional Sevillana-Mudejar style, it is naturally is lined with the most incredible tile work, on a broad covered walk that forms an internal patio featuring a unique round sunken fountain. Quite a beautiful place, orange trees, Bougainvillea, and Clivius providing the colors and the scents.
The chapel, added in 1689 and dedicated to King Ferdinand III, sits off to the side of the main patio and contains some extraordinary frescoes said to be the final work of Juan de Valdes Leal and his son, Lucas. On the right, beneath a gloomy dark wood altar sits a reliquary containing pieces and parts of a variety of saints displayed in little glass boxes. A modern Grenzing organ sits high up behind the choir. A very beautiful church, made unique by the extraordinary paintings.
A small gallery completes the first floor tour with pieces by local master Bartolomé Esteban Murillo and native son Diego Velazquez. Murillo was a close friend to de Neves, so many of his pieces grace the Hospital. A set of marble stairs leads to the second floor and above it is an incredible elliptical dome composed of painted plaster pieces, depicting angels and other religious symbols. For some reason, its purpose is not mentioned in any of the guide materials. Completing the tour is a small gallery devoted to modern paintings by local artists.
A nice addition to our checklist of seen sights.