Travels in Spain: Sevilla, Part II

The last stop in in our tour of Andalucía took us to the historic city of Sevilla, the capital of the autonomous community. We were joined by Jesse’s aunt Harriet(first time in Spain!) and her daughter Hannah, who visited us in Gijón and Bilbao back in mid-2021. Having family along for a trip makes it more fun, and this time was no different. (Part I is linked here)

Family Fun

Jesse and I ventured out on our own in the late morning, first walking along the river Guadalquivir as we joined others lazily enjoying the bright sunny day.

There is a also a large sculpture in front of the river, and we thought, that looks familiar…and it is done by the same artist who does the major sculpture in Gijon, Eduardo Chillida.

On the opposite side of the Plaza de Toros, which we did not have time to visit, but we did have time to check out some of the statues of some famous bullfighters.

Our destination was the Museo Bellas Artes de Sevilla (or Seville Fine Arts Museum). This Museum is free to Spanish residents (which we were for only one more day!) but is well worth paying the less than Two Euros for. It is located in a 17th century palace, and has some very impressive paintings, as well as multiple courtyards (the picture at the top is from one of them) and is just far enough away from the Cathedral that we were not packed in with other tourists.

The most impressive part of the Museum is the building devoted to the Spanish painter Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, a 17th century Spanish painter. The collection of his enormous canvas paintings and the building they are housed in are as impressive as they are large.

The ceilings in this gallery are also quite ornate; don’t forget to look up!

Here are a few other favorites of mine; if you like fine art and paintings, this museum is a must see. Directly below on the left is the Annunciation, my favorite subject of Catholic painting (this one is done by Alejo Fernandez in 1508) The other is a new one to me, and pictures the Saints Justa and Rufina, painted by the aforementioned Bartolomé Esteban Murillo in 1665. Justa and Rufina, sisters from Sevilla, were martyred in the 3rd century. In the painting, they are holding the Giralda, which is the tower at the Sevilla Cathedral (that Jesse, Harriet, Hannah, and I visited later that day).

The next two paintings were my two favorites in a series of women saints done by the artist Taller de Francisco de Zurbarán. Saint Catalina is on the left, and Saint Marina is on the right.

The next two provide some of my favorite realism in painting, but in different ways, as you can see. On the left is “Gitanos del Sacromonte” by the artist José María Rodríguez-Acosta from 1908. We visited the caves of Sacromonte where the Gitanos (Gypsies) lived when we visited Granada. On the right is “Emboscada Mora (Moorish ambush)” by the artist Fernando Tirado from 1880.

This next one is so strange and I loved it.

“Retrato milagroso de San Francisco de Paula” (1710) by Lucas Valdes

The last painting is a portrait, and while I am not the biggest fan of portraits (though that is my Dad’s favorite type of painting, so I have developed an appreciation for them) I really liked this one below. Her dress is painted in such a way that it feels like you could touch it and it would be soft, and the realism, especially in person, is stunning.

“Retrato de Saturnina Moso Villanueva” (1845) by Antonio María Esquivel

We had one more place to go…the third biggest Cathedral in Europe, and the shinning jewel of Sevilla, the Cathedral. It is huge. Impossible to capture its size in one picture (or multiple), though not for lack of trying.

The tower stands high above, jutting out into the sky.

Once inside, the path immediately took us up the tower, which is just as impressive from the outside as it is climbing the 35+ flights up to the bell tower (which we did). There are window inlets to take breaks on the way up; but be prepared, it is a hike on smooth walkways, not stairs. At the top, there are panoramic views of the city, and once every fifteen minutes, the bells ring quite loudly, so be aware.

The rest of the Cathedral in the foreground, and the Plaza del Toros in the middle

Walking inside makes one feel small; with the columns as thick as redwood trees, the multiple stories high organs (of which there are four!), with many altars throughout the main room, and stained glass that shines the brightest down upon one of the many altars.

There are also a lot of rooms off the main cathedral to explore, and these are highly recommended as it gets away from the big crowds and has some really great art to boot. We saw another painting of Saints Justa and Rufina, as well as a relief above a door of the Annunciation.

Lastly, the piece de resistance, is the tomb of Cristobal Colon, known to us as Christopher Columbus. Born in the city of Sevilla, Columbus (and his son) are buried in the Cathedral. While the current public feeling on Columbus is fairly negative, it is impossible to resist being in awe of his tomb. On a chest-high platform, the four Catholic kings, larger than life, hold up the tomb, clad in their royal crests and crowns. One of the most impressive tombs I have seen, and worth appreciating the artistry of it.

We had a great time in Sevilla; capping off an unforgettable month in Andalucía, and completing our year living in Spain. On to the next adventure!

The Barringtons

Published by Phil Barrington

Currently living in Spain, Accountant by Day, Writer by Night. Lover of baseball, travel ,and spreadsheets. Check out my blog:

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