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Church of Santiago: Altars and Chapels

As the name indicates, this section is aimed at analyzing the different altars and chapels in the Church of Santiago, as well as paintings, sculptures and other valuable pieces worth mentioning.

We will start with the Copy of the Baldachin Pío II commissioned for the Basilica of Saint Peter in the Vatican, coming from the Pavilion of the Holy See at the Universal Exhibition of Seville in 1992. The Baldachin currently occupies the presbytery of the church, and it has an image of Apostle Saint James, whom the temple is named after. The apostle is represented dressed as a knight. He originally carried a sword on his right hand, his most characteristic symbol, but it has been substituted by the pilgrim walking stick.

On the side of the Gospel we can see some of the images after which the Brotherhood of Las Penas de Santiago (Saint James’s Sorrow) is named; more specifically, these correspond to the images of the first pace of the procession which goes along the streets of Córdoba on Palm Sunday. In the centre, there is the main image of the brotherhood, the “Santísimo Cristo de las Penas” (Holy Christ of Sorrows), an anonymous work from the 13th century. The image of the Lord is flanked by a Virgin, “Nuestra Señora Madre de los Desamparados” (Our Lady Mother of the Helpless) and a sculpture representing “San Juan Evangelista” (Saint John Evangelist), both by sculptor Antonio Eslava Rubio from Seville.

In the apse of the Epistle we can see the other image of the brotherhood of Las Penas: “María Santísima de la Concepción” (Holy Mary of Conception), by the religious sculptor Juan Ventura Rodríguez around 1986. Attached to this nave there are the rest of the rooms in the church, such as the Sacristy or the Chapel of Annunciation.

Going through the original entrance of the church on its right side, we get to a small room which is used today as Sacristy. The door has a great resemblance to the entrance at the foot of the temple, such as the moulded archivolts or the pointed arch. On the other hand, we must highlight the vegetable decoration of the capitals, which is mixed with the ornamentation of the continuous frieze, all of it supported by thin columns attached to the wall. From the Sacristy we head for another room, the Archive of the Parish, especially interesting as it keeps marriage and baptism certificates since the 16th century.

The last part of our visit is the Chapel of Annunciation, previously known as Chapel of the Hoces, whose origin goes back to medieval times. It has a rectangular floor and it is covered by two tierces on vaults, supported by pillars with three attached columns. The capitals with vegetable decoration are preserved.

At the foot of the chapel we can see the main image of the other brotherhood in the Church of Santiago: “Nuestra Señora de la Soledad” (Our Lady of Loneliness), a polychrome wooden sculpture made by sculptor Luis Álvarez Duarte around 1974. The Brotherhood of Loneliness fills the streets of Córdoba with silence and retreat in the evening of Holy Friday.

In the centre of the other side we can see an altarpiece attributed to the circle of Pedro Fraile de Guevara, from the middle of the 17th century. This altarpiece had previously a curve canvas at its centre representing “La Anunciación de María” (Mary’s Annunciation), after which the chapel is named. This canvas was moved from its original location because they found a painting related to La Exaltación de la Cruz (The Exaltation of the Cross), which is currently located in the centre of the altar. The rest of the canvases of the altarpiece represent different moments of the life of the Virgin Mary, of which we can mention a beautiful “Inmaculada Concepción” (Immaculate Conception) at the top.

If you are not sure about 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 Santiago. Choose to do high quality sightseeing with qualified staff. Do not hesitate, ArtenCórdoba is the best option.

Text: J.A.S.C.

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