Fernando Niño de Guevara

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Portrait of Fernando Niño de Guevara by El Greco.

Fernando Niño de Guevara (1541–1609) was a Spanish cardinal who was also Archbishop of Seville and Grand Inquisitor of Spain.


Fernando Niño de Guevara was born in Toledo, Spain in 1541, the son of Rodrigo Niño, Marquis of Tejares. An uncle, also named Fernando Niño de Guevara (d. 1552), was Archbishop of Granada from 1542 to 1552. He studied law at the University of Salamanca. He then moved to Cuenca, Spain, where he became archdeacon of the cathedral. In 1570, he became an oidor in Valladolid. He became a member of the Council of Castile in 1580.

On December 3, 1599, he was appointed Grand Inquisitor of Spain. During his tenure as Grand Inquisitor, the Spanish Inquisition burned 240 heretics, plus 96 in effigy. 1,628 other individuals were found guilty and subjected to lesser penalties.

On April 30, 1601, he was also appointed Archbishop of Seville.

Fernando Niño de Guevara engaged the Jesuits in a dispute about the nature of papal authority. As a result, Pope Clement VIII prevailed on Philip III of Spain to induce him to resign as Grand Inquisitor in 1602.

He did, however, retain his duties as Archbishop of Seville. In this capacity, he called a synod in 1604 in order to suppress the confraternities and replace them with similar institutions dominated by clerics.

He died, most likely in Seville, on January 8, 1609. He is buried in the Convent of San Pablo in Toledo.

Cultural depictions[edit]

In 1600, El Greco completed a portrait of Fernando Niño de Guevara that is currently on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

The incident of El Greco completing this painting was the subject of a 1936 novel by Stefan Andres entitled El Greco malt den Großinquisitor.

In the 2007 film El Greco, Fernando Niño de Guevara was played by Juan Diego Botto.


Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Pedro de Portocarrero
Grand Inquisitor of Spain
Succeeded by
Juan de Zúñiga Flores
Preceded by
Rodrigo de Castro Osorio
Archbishop of Seville
Succeeded by
Pedro de Castro y Quiñones