Friday, February 1, 2013

Royal Chapel of Granada

Capilla Real Granada or the Royal Chapel of Granada was built next to the Granada Cathedral between 1506 and 1521. It has the tombs of Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella of Castile, the Catholic monarchs who finally reunited Spain under one monarch in the late 1400s. They also created links to England, Portugal, and Austria through the arranged marriages of their children. They financed the Spanish discovery of America, laying the groundwork for the world-wide Hispanic presence we experience today.

Near the entrance for the Royal Chapel

The Chapel is more museum than place of worship now (they do have a daily Mass). They don't allow photographs, so I've scanned a sampling of postcards to give you a view of the interesting parts of the interior. The first room is The Exchange, a space for commerce that is not part of the Chapel. Visitors buy their tickets there so commerce still takes place (though the gift shop is on the other end of the museum). We proceeded on to the chapel itself, where the massive main altarpiece commands attention. The artist is Felipe Vigarny and the detail is quite incredible.

Main Altarpiece

Right in front of the altar are the tombs. Ferdinand and Isabella are memorialized on the right. On the left is the memorial of Philip the Handsome and Joanna I, son-in-law and daughter to Ferdinand and Isabella.

Tombs of the monarchs

A small staircase leads down to the lead coffins where the bodies are. Ferdinand and Isabella are in the middle, flanked by Philip and Joanna. The other coffin on the right side of the picture below is the remains of Prince Michael, grandson of Ferdinand and Isabella by their eldest daughter. He died in 1500 at the age of 2.

Crypt of the Royal Chapel

A door on the right of the chapel leads into the Sacristy-Museum, which has artifacts and artworks from the 1500s. The sceptre and crown of Queen Isabella are on display along with a sword from Ferdinand. Other personal items owned by the Queen, including chests, silver work, and prayer books, are displayed. Paintings and statues in the museum date from the 1500s and are by a variety of Flemish, Spanish, and Italian artists.

Santa Parentela by Bernabe de Gabiria, 16th c.

San Miguel by anonymous artist, 15th c.

Isabella the Catholic in Prayer, from the Queen's missal

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