Casa de Pilatos: paradigm of the Sevillian palace house.


As we already read in the publication A walk through Seville on the big screen, the building known as Casa de Pilatos has attracted great film directors to create various stages inside this venue. If you are wondering what to do in Seville, today we will delve into the origins and evolution of this place to try to show off one of the architectural gems of Seville and discover a place to visit that will not leave you indifferent.
The origins of Casa de Pilatos, located a few meters from what was for a long time an access to the interior of the city wall, the Puerta de Carmona, date back to the end of the 15th century, specifically to the year 1483. On this date , the Enríquez de Ribera family will buy an enclosure belonging to a Judeoconversa family, which like many others at the time had to leave the city fleeing from an emerging and fearsome Inquisition, forced these converts to lose most of their possessions in the search for a new life.
The Enríquez de Ribera who acquire this site are the couple formed by Catalina de Ribera and Mendoza (¿? -1505) and Pedro Enríquez de Quiñones (1435-1492), Adelantado Mayor de Andalucía. This marriage of high social position decides to undertake the construction of a new house because the one in which they lived in the Seville neighborhood of Santa Marina had to be inherited by the son of Pedro Enríquez with his first wife, at the same time sister of Catalina of Ribera, thus having the opportunity to develop a project that would demonstrate the power and prestige of those who enjoyed.
To the first building that the family acquired in the aforementioned year 1483, Pedro and Catalina will add several houses and neighboring businesses to give the desired size to the new home, in which Catalina de Ribera will play a fundamental role as the one in charge of carrying out the transactions due to the mobility required by the charges of Don Pedro Enríquez, so it is not surprising that on the death of the husband while returning from the war in Granada in 1492, Catalina continues alone with the works of the palace house, which at the beginning was would call "palace or house of San Esteban" to be located in this collation.
The primitive residence would house a large number of people, with both a living space and its own bread oven and its own garden, as well as a chapel that Mrs. Catalina decides to add following the tastes of the moment.
The original decoration of the palace would be a mixture of Mudejar and Gothic styles mainly. The Mudejar appears in elements such as wood and plaster, initially polychromed to highlight even more the ornaments of atauriques, epigraphy, bows and stars, although to this day there is barely any of the painting of this moment, and the Gothic we will appreciate it in the stone cresting of which a part in the facade is conserved, among other decorations.
The aesthetic relationship of the house Pilatos with the Alcazar is intuited, and it is confirmed by the knowledge that at least two of the men who participated in the works of the great Sevillian palace, also did it in this house of San Esteban, namely, Francisco Fernández , major teacher of the Alcázar in the period 1502-1535, and Juan de Limpias, master carpentry teacher of the Alcázar between the years 1479 and 1506.
As a curiosity, this place also has a more indirect connection with Santa María de la Sede, Seville Cathedral, given that there is a record of the loan of four hundred stones by the cathedral to the Enríquez de Ribera family in the year 1487.
After the death of Catalina de Ribera in 1505, it will be her son Fadrique Enríquez de Ribera (1476-1519), I Marqués de Tarifa, who will continue to make this space a place of unparalleled beauty, adding Genoese marbles and introducing the touch Renaissance to the work started by their parents. It is said that the current name of Casa de Pilatos comes from the pilgrimage of Fadrique Enríquez de Ribera to Jerusalem between 1518 and 1520, who on his return set out to establish the tradition of a Via Crucis that began at the time known as Casa de San Esteban , his family home, and end at the Cross of the Field, walk that would have the same step that the Marquis of Tarifa gave from the House of Pilate to Mount Golgotha ​​in the aforementioned pilgrimage. It will be this same pilgrimage that awakens interest in the European Renaissance in the son of Catherine and Peter.
The foundations laid by Fadrique will be continued by Afán Enríquez de Ribera (1509-1571), I Duke of Alcalá de los Gazules, and Viceroy of Naples. It will be his charge as viceroy that will nourish his taste for Italian, beginning an important collection of Renaissance sculptures to which Pope Pius V will contribute by giving him at the beginning of his pontificate a set of sculptures from the Vatican collection itself.
And this Renaissance admiration will be maintained with the III Duke of Alcalá, Fernando Afán Enríquez de Ribera (1583-1637), another avid collector who, in addition to creating an outdoor gallery and restoring the upper floor, will commission the decoration of the room known as Camarín Grande the incomparable Francisco Pacheco, teacher and father-in-law of Velázquez, which will reproduce three main themes on the ceiling of the room: "La Envidia", "La caída de Faetón", and the most impressive in size and execution, "The apotheosis of Hercules " Today, this space is known as Pacheco Hall.
The III Duke of Alcala died, the enclosure will become property of the Dukes of Medinaceli, who will only visit it sporadically between the XVII and XIX centuries, also moving many works to Madrid, suffering several damages such as an earthquake in 1755 and seeing affected by the passage of the Napoleonic troops at the beginning of the 19th century.
It will be Angela Apolonia Pérez de Barradas (1827-1903), duchess consort of Medinaceli, who encourages the recovery of the splendor that once had the House of Pilate, following the romantic trail of the nineteenth century.
In this brief tour of the Casa de Pilatos it is clear that the property that was born as the project of a home for the Enríquez de Ribera family capable of impacting not only those who visited it, but also those who accessed the city through the Puerta of Carmona, has become today an emblem of living building that has been reinventing itself from the Gothic and Mudejar to the Renaissance through the Renaissance style, which today is still open to the public, hosting private events but also open to all types of public who want to know another piece of Sevillian history.
You can book the visit from the website of the Medinaceli foundation, with Casa de Pilatos opening hours from 9.00 to 18.00 from November to March and from 9.00 to 19.00 from April to October, the price being 10 euros for the entire site, You can even visit Casa de Pilatos for free every Wednesday afternoon (it is advisable to send an email to the official website because they can change the free day according to the season).
If you want to know other places in the city, do not hesitate to look for the guides of the yellow umbrella of Seville Free Tours, historians who will be happy to discover you not only the places that we walk along the route, but also recommend those others that are essential to know by inside.
We wait for you in Seville!


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