The Holy Chapel of El Salvador was created by Andres de Vandelvira and is another Renaissance masterpiece. It is the most famous building in Ubeda and one of the best examples of Spanish Renaissance architecture, also the most ambitious private religious architecture of the Spanish Renaissance.
The building was ordered to be constructed by Francisco de los Cobos, who was the secretary of the Emperor Carlos V, and it was going to be used as a funeral chapel. The construction started in 1536 under the direction of Diego de Siloe. Later Andres de Vandelvira took over in 1540.
The elaborate façade was done by the French sculptor Esteban Jamete and is one of the richest in the Spanish Renaissance. It has an enormous decorative richness, and includes the family coat of arms of Francisco de los Cobos. There is also the coat of arms of his wife, Doña Maria de Mendoza, of the prominent Manrique family. The coat of arms are held up by warriors and women. The facade has Christian themes from the Old and New Testaments and also pagan themes. The structure of the facade is like a triumphal arch, with two small round towers, one one each side of the main door. The front is divided into two bodies and topped with a triangle. The first body has the monumental door with a semicircular arch. Above the arch the virtues are holding a board. There are double fluted columns on each side of the door. The second body of the facade has a relief of the Transfiguration of Christ between two sculptures of Saint Peter and Saint Andrew inside two openings. Above are three windows. The north facade was designed by Andres de Vandelvira.
The dome of the church is very impressive with its paintings. The altarpiece is called the Christ of the Transfiguration of Mount Tabor and is the work by Berruguete. The altar is impressive because it is all in gold leaf. What calls one’s attention is the large number of sculptures and paintings of angels, of all sizes.
There is a beautiful sacristy done by Vandelvira and Esteban Jamete, with beautiful sculptures and a very decorative ceiling. The sculptures include caryatides, atlantes, angels, and medallions with allegories. In the church is a beautiful copy of El Greco’s painting Holy Family and St. Anne, done in ceramic tile. Today the chapel is private property.
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