El Alcázar--page 3 (of nine pages): Chapel of the Casa de la Contratación and other details

12th century and following centuries

On the right side of the Patio de la Montería, a complex of rooms relates to relations between Spain the Americas. The one pictured here is the chapel of the Casa de la Contratación, a site founded by the Spanish monarchs in 1503 for seafaring and scientific research. Cosmographers, navigators (like Amerigo Vespucci), and nautical writers worked at this "Casa." Here also Christopher Columbus was received by Isabella of Castille after his second voyage to the Americas. The Chapel is a square room with an elaborate coffered ceiling with octagonal and star-shaped designs, influenced by Mudéjar art.

The altarpiece by Alejo Fernández depicting the Madonna of the Seafarers, dated 1535

"It has an unusual iconography. The Madonna shelters a group of Native Americans under her cloak; in the right foreground is a group of figures who may depict the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, Ferdinand and Isabella (the Catholic Kings) and members of the Casa de la Contratación de las Indias; on the left, under the Madonna's right hand, are Christopher Columbus and martín and Vicente Pinzón, who accompanied Columbus on his first voyage to the New World, Below them are the various types of vessel that made up the Spanish fleet in the early 16th century" (Núñez and Morales 28). The side panels of the triptych depict saints particularly relevant to Spain, its monarchs, and sailors.

The coats-of-arms and the coffered ceiling

The square room has embroidered wall-hangings with the coats-of-arms of the Admirals of Castile. In the center of the room, facing the altarpiece, is the coat-of-arms of Christopher Columbus.

Details of ceilings from adjacent rooms

If you know which rooms these are from, please contact me at the address below.

Other design details

If you know which rooms these are from, please contact me at the address below.

Continue to page 4 for views of the Patio de las Muñecas.

Return to Alcázar Index.

Work Cited:
Juan Carlos Hernández Núñez and Alfredo J. Morales. The Royal Palace of Seville. London, Scala, 1999.

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© 2005 Mary Ann Sullivan. I have photographed (on site), scanned, and manipulated all the images on these pages. Please feel free to use them for personal or educational purposes. They are not available for commercial purposes.

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