Monastery of San Esteban--page 2 (of two pages)

Juan de Álava, Friar Martín de Santiago, and Roderigo Gil de Hontañón and others
begun 1525, completed, 1618

Soto's Stairway

Because the stairway was paid for by the theologian and confessor to Charles V, Friar Domingo de Soto, it was named for him. Begun in 1553, it was built by Roderigo Gil de Hontañón; it was finished 3 years later. This remarkable structure is revolutionary: "neither the landings nor the steps are supported by the walls, but each step rests on the one below it and they are all pressed into the stairwell. . . . The steps are made of one piece, the balustrade is decorated with turned newel posts topped with flower motifs on the landings. The sides and undersides of the three visible flights are decorated with flowered coffering" (Varas, 38).

The church nave without aisles

The Dominicans, a preaching order, have the optimal space, without aisles, for hearing the sermon. The reredos, by José de Churriguera, is 27 meters tall, completed in 1693. A painting depicting the martyrdom of St. Stephen, by Claudio Coello, is in the attic of the reredos

Vaulting and interior view of the dome

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Work Cited: Lázaro Sastre Varas. O. P.. St. Stephen's Priory: Art and History of the Dominicans. Edilesa, n.d.

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