Ancient Monastery of Santa Clara - Seville

Source: Willem Vandenameele

The Monastery of Santa Clara in Seville, also known as the Royal Monastery of Santa Clara is currently used for cultural purposes by the Seville City Council, although until the 20th century it was used for Catholic worship, as a Monastery of the Poor Clares .

It was founded in 1289 by King Sancho IV of Castile and built by reusing an old palace belonging to his uncle, the Infante Fadrique of Castile. The monastery complex was built between the 16th and 17th centuries . The palace, a Mudejar structure built after the Christian conquest of the city, was literally reused and transformed. The most visible remains of this are the so-called Tower of Don Fadrique , in Gothic style, which is made of plastered masonry and is a unique example in the city , as well as archaeologically documented reused rooms of the palace.

The rooms that have been preserved today are the refectory, the main cloister in Renaissance style, the kitchens, bedrooms and other domestic rooms, the infirmary and the space of the old monastery church , which was reused as a cemetery. Finally, we come to the church, which was renovated between 1620 and 1622 by the architects Juan de Oviedo and Miguel de Zumárraga, covering the interior walls with plaster, integrating the side portico and defining the bell tower. The main altarpiece is dedicated to various saints of the order; there are also four other small altarpieces, made by Juan Martínez Montañés. The portico of the Basilica of La Macarena , designed by the architect Aurelio Gómez Millán and whose work was completed in 1949, is modeled on the entrance to the Church of Santa Clara.[citation needed].

In the 2000s the monastery underwent a renovation to make it suitable for cultural use. This restoration, with a budget of six million euros, did not make it possible to fully restore the building and many rooms remained unrestored. The remains of the nuns of the convent buried in the De Profundis Hall were uncovered during the works and when the budget ran out it was impossible to reconstruct the hall, so the oldest remains were sent to the Archaeological Museum of Seville and the remainder was buried in a mass grave.

After the restoration, the tile-filled walls of the monastery were preserved. Tiles from the monastery are on display at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London . After the building was converted for cultural purposes, a small number of tiles from the renovated rooms were kept in boxes, but eventually exhibited in the Mudejar Museum of Seville , in the Palace of the Marquises of La Algaba.

The Museo de la Cerámica de Triana has ceramics from this monastery in its collection.

It is intended that restoration work will continue until the building is fully restored.


Source: Willem Vandenameele - Wikipedia

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