Fundación Focus-Abengoa
El Hospital de los Venerables

El Hospital de los Venerables

Detail of the courtyard

Headquarters: Hospital de los Venerables


History

Detail of the courtyard of the Hospital de los Venerables. Focus Foundation. Seville.

Detail of the courtyard of the Hospital de los Venerables. Focus Foundation. Seville.

The Hospital de Los Venerables is one of the buildings in best condition of all those from the second half of the 17th century when Baroque was in its initial phase.

Construction of this exceptional building began in 1676 under the direction of the architect Juan Domínguez and was completed in 1697 by Leonardo de Figueroa.

The church's façade is in Jamerdana Street, but access to the building is from Plaza de Los Venerables, to a delightful carriage-entrance, leading directly to the central courtyard. The house of the administrator of the institution that previously occupied this building was to the right of the entrance, gained by a wrought iron gate. It is a two-storey building that nowadays houses the offices and Board Room.

The central area of the building is a beautiful courtyard, mixture of convent cloisters and the patio of a typical house in Seville, on the northern side of the church. This main courtyard is the most beautiful and interesting architectural element of the building. Actual characteristics have not changed since it was built, except for some minor modifications made to the paving stones and tiles. The floor area is square, with an open gallery in the lower section and a series of arches set on Tuscan marble columns with Attic bases in the Vignolesque style.

The mixture of colours of the courtyard, where the whitewashed walls contrast with the red of the bricks of the rectangular columns, architraves and cornices, the first having very pronounced features, provide the whole area with enormous unity and a very characteristic colourful appearance.

Description

The second floor of the courtyard is an enclosed area with balconies situated on the axis of the lower arches. There are brick pilasters between the spans in line with the columns of the lower part.

The lower gallery is at a higher level than the centre of the courtyard, where there is a fountain surrounded by a concentric flight of steps made of brick and tiles of a curious style. The reason for this very original solution was the fact that there were water supply problems owing to the height at which the Hospital was built. The lovely central fountain was designed by Simón de Pineda and sculpted by Francisco Rodríguez. The original tilework was done by the master Melchor Moreno.

The ground floor infirmary stood on the eastern side of the courtyard and it is used nowadays as an Exhibition Room. The area consists of a large rectangular apartment with central arches and a flat ceiling. The tops of the arches include profuse plasterwork decorations with symbols of the papacy, which can be related to the dedication of the Hospital to St. Peter.

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