Granada Cathedral

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Metropolitan Cathedral of the Incarnation
Santa Iglesia Catedral Metropolitana de la Encarnación
Spain Andalusia Granada BW 2015-10-25 13-20-43.jpg
Facade of the Cathedral
Basic information
Location Granada, Spain
Geographic coordinates 37°10′34″N 3°35′56″W / 37.176°N 3.599°W / 37.176; -3.599Coordinates: 37°10′34″N 3°35′56″W / 37.176°N 3.599°W / 37.176; -3.599
Affiliation Roman Catholic
Rite Roman
District Archdiocese of Granada
Ecclesiastical or organizational status Cathedral
Architectural description
Architectural type Church
Architectural style Renaissance, Baroque
Groundbreaking 1526
Completed 1561

Granada Cathedral, or the Cathedral of the Incarnation (Spanish: Catedral de Granada, Santa Iglesia Catedral Metropolitana de la Encarnación de Granada) is a Roman Catholic church in the city of Granada, capital of the province of the same name in the Autonomous Region of Andalusia, Spain. The cathedral is the seat of the Archdiocese of Granada.

History[edit]

Panoramatic view of the main nave.
Facade with bell tower.

Unlike most cathedrals in Spain, construction was not begun until the sixteenth century, after acquisition of the Nasrid kingdom of Granada from its Muslim rulers in 1492. While its earliest plans had Gothic designs, such as are evident in the Royal Chapel of Granada by Enrique Egas, most of the church's construction occurred when the Spanish Renaissance style was supplanting the Gothic in Spanish architecture. Foundations for the church were laid by the Enrique Egas starting from 1518 to 1523 atop the site of the city's main mosque; by 1529, Egas was replaced by Diego de Siloé who worked for nearly four decades on the structure from ground to cornice, planning the triforium and five naves instead of the usual three. Most unusually, he created a circular capilla mayor (principal chapel) rather than a semicircular apse, perhaps inspired by Italian ideas for circular 'perfect buildings' (e.g., in Alberti's works). Within its structure the cathedral combines other of the Vitruvian orders of architecture.

Subsequent architects included Juan de Maena (1563–1571), followed by Juan de Orea (1571–1590), and Ambrosio de Vico (1590–?). In 1667 Alonso Cano, working with Gaspar de la Peña, altered the initial plan for the main façade, introducing Baroque elements. The cathedral took 181 years to build. It would have been even grander had the two 81-meter towers included in the plans been built; however, the project remained incomplete for various reasons, among them financial.

The Cathedral had been intended as the royal mausoleum by Charles I of Spain, but Philip II of Spain moved the site for his father's and subsequent kings' tombs to El Escorial outside of Madrid.

The main chapel contains two kneeling effigies of the Catholic King and Queen, Isabel and Ferdinand by Pedro de Mena y Medrano. The busts of Adam and Eve were made by Alonso Cano. The Chapel of the Trinity has a marvelous retablo with paintings by El Greco, Jusepe de Ribera and Alonso Cano.

Features[edit]

Granada's cathedral has a rectangular base due to its five naves that completely cover the cross.. All of the five naves are staggered in height, the central one being the largest. At the foot of the cathedral there two towers. The left one, called the tower of San Miguel, acts as a buttress which replaced the planned tower on that side.

The main chapel consists of a series of Corinthian columns on which capitals is the entablature and, over it, the vault, which houses a series of delicate stained glass windows.

The facade consists of a framed structure in the form of a triumphal arch with portals and canvas. It consists of three pillars crowned by semicircular arches supported on pilasters, similar to San Andrés de Mantua of Leon Battista Alberti. The pilasters don't have capitals but projections sculptured in the walls, as well as attached marble medallions. Above the main door is located a marble tondo from "José Laughing on the Annunciation". Additionally, there is a vase with lilies at the top, alluding to the virgin and pure nature of the mother of God.

The sacrarium, raised between 1706 and 1759, follows the classic proportions of the whole, keeping the multiple columns of the transept the shapes of the compound of Siloam.

External links[edit]