Interior of Seville´s Cathedral
The interior of the cathedral of Seville is 249 ft. wide and has a nave, four aisles and a row of chapels along each Noth and South sides. The ground plan is based on that of the main Moorish original mosque. The length is 384 ft. and the height of 131 ft. (184 ft. at the crossing) is emphasized by clusters of columns. There is an immense wealth of art treasures. The huge main area is illuminated by superb stained-glass windows, which date from 16-19C.
Along the long axis there are three beautiful enclosures. The first, the chorus, in the middle of the nave, is decorated with a splendid reja (grille, 1519) by the Carthusian Fray Francisco de Salamanca. This coro also contains exquisitely carved sillería (choir stalls, 1478) with 117 seats; the splendid carvings include a representation of the Giralda.
The late Gothic and Plateresque alabaster chapels, the ‘Capillos de los Alabastros”, are interesting for they are built against the outside walls of the coro and have fine wrought-iron grilles.
The Capilla de la Concepción chica contains a wonderful wooden ‘Immaculata’ by M.Montañez,
The Capilla Mayor is surrounded on three sides by gilded 16C rejas. The Capilla Mayor contains a huge late Gothic retable (75 ft. high, 66 ft. wide), which was designed by the Dutchman Pieter Dancart and built from 1482 onwards by Dancart and others. The side wings were added at a later date. There are around 1,000 figures grouped into 45 scenes! from the life of Jesus and Mary; these include the figures of saints (including the patron saints of Seville)
The Sacristía Alta behind the altar contains a fine Plateresque artesonado and three paintings by Alejo Fernández. The third enclosure is the 16C Capilla Real, the royal burial chapel at the Eastern. end of the cathedral. It is dedicated to Ferdinand the Holy, the conqueror of Seville, and the 18 Century screen depicts the scene of the handing over of the keys of the city.
The Sacristia Alta is a domed Renaissance structure, and contains the tombs of Alfonso X, the Wise, and his mother Beatrice of Swabia. In front of the high altar there is an 18C silver shrine containing the remains of Ferdinand the Holy. In the centre is the ornate Virgen de los Reyes’, a 13C Romanesque Virgin Mary which Ferdinand took into battle with him and Seville’s patron saint.
The crypt contains the remains of the rulers of Castile, including Pedro I the Cruel and his mistress Maria de Padilla. There is also a 14C ivory figure of the ‘Virgen de las Batallas’, a French work which Ferdinand is also said to have taken into battle as a talisman.
The sacristy contains Murillo’s painting, “Mater Dolorosa’ and the chapterhouse has a painting of Ferdinand III attributed to Murillo. The elliptical chapterhouse is decorated by artists from Seville, and has an ‘Immaculata’ by Murillo among other. works. The Sacristia Mayor is unusually fine and is decorated in Plateresque style
The rich cathedral treasure is housed includes: a reliquary shrine, the Tablas Alfonsinas’, which is a triptych; a large silver 16C processional monstrance by Juan de Arfe; a bronze candelabra over 20 ft. tall, Bartolomé Morel’s mid-16C “Tenebrario’; a fine ‘Deposition’ by Pedro de Campaña from 1548; Zurbarán’s ‘Our Lady of Mercy’; and ‘Christ, an ivory carying by Alonso Cano.