Church of San Nicolás de la Villa: Altars and Chapels.
We start our tour in the nave of the Gospel, more specifically with the Altar of Santa Rita, by Jorge Mejía, author of many of the altarpieces in the Church of San Nicolás de la Villa. Located next to the door leading to the tower, this small altarpiece made in golden wood has only one vertical section and two parts, where the Solomon columns decorated with vegetable elements are presented as the main features of the ensemble. The Altar of San José has similar characteristics, and it is located in the same apse of the Gospel; the only difference is that this one has a polychrome wooden sculpture of "San José" at the front, whereas the other one, had a sculpture of "Santa Rita".
The Chapel of Baptism is especially interesting, designed by Hernán Ruiz II and decorated by Sebastián de Peñarredonda between the years 1540 and 1555, as we already mentioned in the previous section. The square space is covered by a magnificent oval vault over pendentives, where the perfect combination of light blue, ochre and golden colours approach us to the Celestial World where the "Coronación de la Virgen María" (Coronation of Virgin Mary) is originated. The pendentives are decorated with shells, and on each of them, a prophet is represented. In the spaces between pendentives, there are reliefs, of which we can highlight a beautiful "Bautismo de Cristo" (Baptism of Christ).
At the front of the Apse of the Gospel there is a magnificent pictorial altarpiece, made in gilded wood, by Juan Prieto in 1713, which experienced a great remodelling by Alonso Gómez de Sandoval in 1781. It is a small altar made in polychrome and gilded wood, with three vertical sections and two parts, where we can mention a sculpture of "San Francisco de Paula", the only one in the altarpiece, represented with the hermit’s stick and looking at the sky in a pleading attitude. Over it we can see "San Bartolomé", depicted at the moment of his martyrdom, and on both sides, "San José con el Niño" (Saint Joseph with the Kid) and "San Martín", sharing his cape with a beggar. All the paintings were made in the 18th century by Sebastián Martínez, as well the "Calvario" at the top of the ensemble.
From the Main Altar we can highlight its splendid altarpiece, made at the beginning of the 18th century by Jorge Mejía, which substituted a previous one that was very deteriorated by time. Made in gilded wood, it is divided in three vertical sections and two parts, and we can point out the use of the Solomon column. It also adjusts perfectly to the size of the apse. At the front of the ensemble there is a sculpture of the main saint in the temple, "San Nicolás de Bari", represented with the bishop mitre and the stick; whereas on the sides we can highlight the sculptures of archangels "San Rafael" and "San Miguel". In the second part, which gets narrower as we go up to the keystone of the vault, and located at the top of the ensemble, there is a magnificent "Calvario" by Manuel Gómez y Góngora around the year 1801.
In the Apse of the Epistle we can see an altarpiece with similar characteristics to the one in the Apse of the Gospel, but without any sculptures. It is called Altar of Our Lady of Bethlehem. Made by Jorge Mejía, this gilded and polychrome wooden altarpiece is decorated with five paintings: “Ntra. Sra. de Belén" (Our Lady of Bethlehem), a Virgin with the kid at the front, which the altar is named after; below it, there is an "Adoración de los Reyes Magos" (Adoration of the Magi) and on both sides, the "Anunciación de María" (Annunciation of Mary) and the "Visitación de María a Santa Isabel" (Mary’s Visit to Saint Elizabeth). At the top of the altarpiece, there is "Arcángel San Miguel", whose authorship has been speculated by Acisclo Antonio Palomino.
In the nave on the side of the Epistle, we can highlight the Altar of Souls, with the images of "Nuestro Padre Jesús de la Sentencia" (Our Father Jesus of the Sentence), by Juan Martínez Cerrillo around the year 1945, and "María Stma. de Gracia y Amparo" (Holy Mary of Grace and Protection), an anonymous sculpture from the 17th century. They both belong to the Brotherhood of Sentence, whose procession takes place in the evening of Holy Monday along the streets of our city.
If you wish to know the Fernandine Churches, do not hesitate to hire one of our guided tours. We will pay special attention to the Church of San Nicolás de la Villa. We are experts in the interpretation of the historical heritage from Córdoba. If you have chosen to do sightseeing in Córdoba, choose a high quality option, choose ArtenCórdoba.