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Hospital de la Caridad
Calle Temprado, 3
Monday-Saturday, 9am-1.30pm and 3.30-7.30pm.
Sundays and public holidays, 9am-1pm.
The Hospital de la Caridad was built by Don Miguel Mañara, who was a Seville aristocrat of Italian descent. In his early life, he devoted himself to the pleasures of the typical aristocrat. However his wife died in 1661 when Mañara was 34 years old. This caused him to reflect on his life and he decided to devote the rest of his life to doing good. He was the driving force to complete the church in 1670 and build the adjacent hospital to help the poor.
The architect of the church was Pedro Sanchez Falconete and the designer of the main altarpiece was Bernardo Simon de Pineda, while the sculpture of The Funeral of Christ was done by Pedro Roldan. The Baroque church is full of paintings by Bartolome Esteban Murillo and Juan de Valdes Leal and the church is one of the most beautiful Baroque churches in Spain. There is a large cupola over the main altar and there are large windows that let in a lot of light into the church. The vault of the church is filled with paintings by Juan de Valdes Leal. Some of the Murillos are copies of the originals, because the originals were stolen by the French Marshal Jean-de-Dieu Soult when this general invaded Seville in 1810. This French general was infamous for looting the artwork of Andalusia.
The entrance has a courtyard that consists of a double patio that is divided by a high passage on top of columns. Each patio has a marble fountain and there is one sculpture on top representing Mercy, and another representing Charity. There are blue and white ceramic tiles on the walls that depict scenes. These tiles were made in Holland in the 17th century and represent biblical scenes.
Mañara decided to leave his mansion in Seville and lived in a spartan room in the hospital. He devoted his fortune to taking care of the poor. Today the hospital is a home for the aged. There is a monument to him on the grounds, with a statue depicting him, done by the Sevillian sculptor Antonio Susillo. His remains are found in a crypt of the church. His message was that the Christian can achieve eternal salvation only through charity.