Church of San Miguel: Altars and Chapels.
We will start our short tour with the nave of the Gospel, more specifically with an interesting "Piedad" (Pieta) hanging on its foot. It is an anonymous work from the middle of the 18th century, where we can see some compositional mistakes, although the drawing of the anatomy of Christ is correct. "Entierro de Lázaro" (Lazarus’s burial)and "Crucificado" (Crucified) have similar characteristics and dates. Also in this nave we can find the Sacristy, a small rectangular room from the beginning of the 17th century, from which we can climb a stairway to access the tower. The sacristy has several canvases, of which we can highlight "Asunción de la Virgen" (Assumption of the Virgin) from the 16th century or "Aparición de San Rafael al Padre Roelas" (Appearance of Saint Raphael before Father Roelas), a topic which is repeated throughout the city as it represents the moment when Archangel Saint Raphael informs the saint he will be its guardian angel.
An inscription of the arch entering the apse of the Gospel, currently Chapel of the Tabernacle, reminds us that the restoration works in this space finished in 1761. At the front of the apse of the chapel there is an altarpiece by Teodosio Sánchez de Rueda, made in gilded wood and decorated with paintings and small sculptures, of which we can highlight the central canvas, representing the "Sagrada Cena" (Last Supper). The walls are decorated with several paintings related to the Evangelists, or one dedicated to "San Acisclo y Santa Victoria", patron saints of Córdoba.
From the Main Altar we can highlight its altarpiece, with the peculiarity of having been made in marble, and not in gilded wood, as was more frequent. It was finished in 1701 by Juan Navajas, who sculpted it together with Andrés Antonio del Pino and Toribio de Bada. The altar consists of two parts and three vertical sections, decorated with sculptures in alcoves. At the front of the composition there is a beautiful small "Crucificado" (Crucified) made in wood, located over the Tabernacle. On both sides we can see "San Gabriel" and "San José". In the second part, inside the central shell-shaped alcove, there is an "Inmaculada" (Immaculate), guarded by the archangels "San Miguel" and "San Rafael".
The place where they chose to worship the figure of “San José” in the Church of San Miguel was the Apse of the Epistle, which is undoubtedly the most restrained of all, as we can only be distracted from a small image of the saint by the simple decoration on the Gothic ceiling covering it. This anonymous sculpture, made in polychrome wood, is located inside a small alcove on the wall itself, under its blinded loopholes. The saint is represented holding a bunch of iris, his most characteristic attribute, as it allowed him to marry Mary.
From the nave of the Epistle we will mention two paintings. The first one is a very old "Virgen de la Leche" (Virgin of the milk) from the 15th century. This is a very frequent topic used in the Middle Ages, and it represents the Virgin breastfeeding Baby Jesus. It is interesting to see the use of golden colours both in the clothing and in the background. The second painting, in this case, a fresco painting, is "Anunciación de María" (Annunciation of Mary), who is represented with a character located behind the Announcer Angel, who could be a donor. In our opinion, it is a very interesting and daring composition, as its anonymous author had to adhere to a very reduced space, which did not prevent him from depicting an architectonic atmosphere or the characterization of the figure of Father God.
In the nave of the Epistle, we can see the Baptismal Chapel, which once belonged to Alfonso Díaz de Vargas, King Enrique’s waiter, thus it is also called Chapel of the Vargas. It is a square space covered by a Gothic ribbed vault with eight spaces, supported by squinches with barrel fragments crowned by horseshoe arches with a decoration in zig-zag and diamond ends. It is undoubtedly one of the most interesting solutions of all those we have seen in the Fernandine Churches of Córdoba. Our attention is also attracted by the corbels inside the squinches. Finally, another important item in the chapel is a polychrome wood sculpture representing the "Virgen de Belén" (Virgin of Bethlehem), made in the middle of the 18th century and attributed to Alonso Gómez de Sandoval.
If you are wondering what to do in Córdoba, we recommend you visit the Fernandine Churches hiring one of our guided tours. We will dedicate there a special chapter to the Church of San Miguel. Choose to do high quality sightseeing with qualified staff. Do not hesitate, ArtenCórdoba is the best option.