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Featured altarpieces

High Altarpiece

The High Altar, together with its altarpiece, occupies the last eastern section of the central nave. It is located on an elevation that is reached by three marble steps and where devotees celebrate the offices and share the Eucharist. This colossal and splendid altarpiece was built by Cayetano de Acosta between 1770 and 1779. It is considered his best work, and was the one that consecrated him as one of the most important altarpiece sculptors of the eighteenth-century baroque. It is striking for its exceptional iconographic program and its rich chromatic range. It is the last great baroque altarpiece in Spain. The altarpiece measures 21 meters high by 10.50 meters wide, if we compare it with the main altarpiece of the Cathedral, the largest altarpiece in the Christian world, we will see that it measures 27.80 meters high by 18.20 meters wide, therefore, and although the altarpiece of the Cathedral is of greater proportions, this gives us an idea of the size and scope of the altarpiece that you are contemplating at this moment.

The altarpiece, in general terms, develops its iconographic program in an ascending manner, beginning with the tabernacle and continuing with the Immaculate Conception, the Transfiguration of Jesus on Mount Tabor, accompanied by some of the Apostles, and ending with the figure of God the Father. All of this is surrounded by a large number of angels, archangels and child angels that simulate supporting columns, so characteristic of the iconographic program of this collegiate church.

In the Baroque, the altarpiece ceases to have a mere function of worship, as it had been interpreted in the Middle Ages, and becomes the place of the manifestation of the holy, a meeting place between the divine and the human. To achieve this goal, the altarpiece had to impact, excite and impress the viewer. Let us not forget that it was precisely in the High Altarpiece where the most important religious message of the whole temple was located, so its reading and interpretation should be as clear as possible.


The mural painting of the vault that crowns the Main Altar was painted by Juan de Espinal around 1775. It represents the heavenly glory presided over by the Holy Spirit. This painting is a continuation of the main theme of the altarpiece, that is, the divine apotheosis, giving iconographic unity to the whole space.

Juan de Espinal was born in Seville in 1714 and was one of the most outstanding painters of the first half of the eighteenth century and who stood out, among other things, for the great realism he gave to the painting of architectural elements. In 1760 he was the most sought-after painter in Seville, standing out for being the artist who united traditional Sevillian painting with the new European Rococo.

One of the main features of this mural painting is the illusionism that it creates before the viewer, since the composition is so realistic that it seems that the angels themselves are fluttering around the vault. The painter achieves this effect through the bold foreshortenings of the figures that seem to come out of the pictorial space, and the feigned architecture, in fact look closely at the elliptical balustrade that surrounds the entire composition, it seems completely real. Note also the rich polychromy of the composition that serves to reinforce this realistic painting.

In the center appears the Holy Spirit, represented by a dove, surrounded by a multitude of angels and children, some of them leaning on the balustrade and others fluttering among clouds. It is a very dynamic composition, with a lot of movement in the figures where the draperies are very well elaborated with a multitude of folds.

With this work Juan de Espinal proved to be a good connoisseur of the treatment of perspective, foreshortening and illusionist painting.

Sacramental Chapel Altarpiece Cover

The altarpiece of the Sacramental Chapel is part of the set of the 3 great altarpieces of the Collegiate Church of the Divino Salvador.

Masterpiece of the Portuguese sculptor and altarpiece maker Cayetano de Acosta, made between 1756 and 1764. It was precisely the professional success acquired with the creation of this great Portada Altarpiece that led the Cabildo of the Colegial to commission him to create the main altarpiece of the temple, considered one of the masterpieces of Sevillian Baroque altarpieces.

This Portada Altarpiece serves as access to the interior of the Sacramental Chapel, a chapel dedicated to the Blessed Sacrament and, therefore, its iconographic theme must have been dedicated to the exaltation of the Eucharist.

The altarpiece is of rococo style and consists of a bench, 2 bodies in height divided into 3 streets each and a monumental finial. The floor plan of the altarpiece is somewhat concave.

Sacramental Chapel Altarpiece

It was made by the Portuguese retablist and sculptor Cayetano de Acosta between 1756 and 1764. It can be considered, without a doubt, as his masterpiece, the work that brought him the most glory and recognition, although he was not spared the criticism of some of his contemporaries. Because of its dimensions, its iconographic program and its baroque style, this work can be considered Cayetano de Acosta’s great folly and great feat.

Complex construction typical of the baroque of colossal dimensions. . Its ornamentation shows a rich symbolism, beginning with the mystical Lamb, in the lower part, and followed by the ears of wheat, the bunches of grapes and the chalice, symbols alluding to the Sacrament of the Eucharist.

It also has a beautiful sculptural ensemble, with an excellent celestial court characterized by a multitude of angels, more than forty, and saints distributed throughout its space. We find ourselves in a theatrical space, a space conceived as a stage for contemplation and reflection.

All this has an explanation and it is that this altarpiece-portal gives access to the most sacred precinct of the temple, the place reserved for the Eucharist, the Sancta Sanctorum. Such an important place, within the enclosure, had to have special characteristics. This cover is made in such a way that it attracts so much attention that it invites the viewer to enter the enclosure it guards.

On the other hand, we cannot forget that baroque art had a clear educational and persuasive intention, it was intended to involve the viewer in the work he was contemplating so that he could identify with it and thus transmit a teaching. Thus, art in capital letters, that is, art in all its facets, architecture, sculpture and painting, was considered the best method to propagate the Faith, defend religiosity or instill the practice of prayer and penance for sins committed.

Art becomes a very important pedagogical material. With the visual richness, the decorative splendor of the great altarpieces, such as this one, the aim was to stimulate the senses of the spectator with the sole objective of educating him. The great altarpieces become theatrical scenes where certain teachings are transmitted that the spectator must grasp. This is precisely the objective of this great altarpiece: the exaltation of the Eucharist.

Altarpiece of the Cristo del Amor

When contemplating this altarpiece, surely, the first thing that catches our attention is the magnificent crucified that is in the central hollow, under a canopy.

El Cristo del Amor can be considered one of the best crucifixes of the city, a masterpiece of Spanish baroque sculpture and the most interesting carving of the sculptor Juan de Mesa y Velasco. The work was contracted by the Brotherhood of Love on May 13, 1618 and was completed in 1620. This contract called for the carving of two images by Juan de Mesa: a cedar wood crucifix, nailed to a borne cross and a figure of the Virgin that should be of sadness, an image that can also be seen in this altarpiece under the invocation of the Virgen del Socorro.

It is of absolute anatomical perfection. Juan de Mesa was able to capture, with total naturalness, a perfect human body that reflected, with impressive realism, the drama and suffering of a death on the cross. His trunk and ribs are perfectly carved and the same can be said of the muscular insertions, no detail is missing, in short, it can be said that this crucified is undoubtedly the best and most perfect representation of the death of Jesus that man has made, a sculptor who knew how to treat, to perfection, the human body just at the moment of his death.

In conclusion, recite what the historian José Alonso Morgado said about El Cristo del Amor:

“But the beauty that this crucifix reveals is not only that of a perfect man who dies with holy resignation, but that of the Chosen One among the chosen. His head is most beautiful, the expression of his eyes, almost closed, is melancholic and sweet at the same time; the half-open mouth announces the last effort of nature in separating the soul from the body”.

On the left side of the altarpiece we can contemplate the image of the Virgen del Socorro. Splendid carving of the Virgin Mary, a sorrowful carving whose authorship is also attributed to Juan de Mesa y Velasco and executed between 1618 and 1620.

A magnificent carving of Saint John the Evangelist, work of the sculptor Antonio Castillo Lastrucci and made in 1935, and the splendid image of Saint Joseph with the child Jesus in his arms, a late 18th century carving attributed to the sculptor Pedro Roldán or, in any case, to his closest circle, complete the ensemble.

Altarpiece of Santa Ana

The altarpiece of Saint Anne and the Child Virgin was made in the 17th century. In general, the altarpiece is made of gilded and polychrome wood, in baroque style, and consists of a bench, a three-aisle body and a top or attic.

On the sides of the bench there are two painted panels with images of saints, one of Saint Teresa and the other of an unidentified saint. The central niche houses the extraordinary sculptural group of Saint Anne teaching the Child Virgin to read, the work of the sculptor José Montes de Oca.

On both sides of it, and on shelves, there are sculptures of St. Joachim and St. Anthony of Padua with the Child Jesus in his arms, works of the circle of José Montes de Oca.

The attic, or upper part of the altarpiece, is topped with a niche inside which you can see a seated image of the Virgen del Carmen, a carving made in the eighteenth century in the style of the sculptor Pedro Duque Cornejo. On both sides of this upper niche are sculptures of two saintly bishops.

Altarpiece of the Virgen del Rocío

This altarpiece is a work in carved and gilded wood, attributed to José Maestre. It was built between 1718 and 1731. The altarpiece is composed of a bench, a body divided into three sections and a semicircular attic.

It was originally an altarpiece dedicated to the Archangels Michael, Raphael and Gabriel but, since the mid-twentieth century, it has been presided over by a carving of the Virgen del Rocío, a replica of the patron saint of Almonte and property of the Hermandad del Rocío of Seville. The carving is a work of the well-known sculptor Sebastián Santos Rojas.

In the attic, inside a niche, there is a carving of the Immaculate Conception and, behind it, located at the bottom of the niche, the relief of a Sun.

As a result of the restoration, a mural painting of the Immaculate Conception has appeared next to this altarpiece, on its right side. It is a painting dated around the eighteenth century where the Immaculate Conception is the center of the composition. She appears dressed in a white tunic and a blue mantle and is crowned with stars.

Below the composition, a classical landscape has been painted and above the Immaculate Conception, there is a representation of the Holy Spirit accompanied by seraphim heads.

Saint Justa and Rufina Altarpiece

In the last section of the right nave of the temple, between the chapel of the Milagrosa and the Baptistery, is located this altarpiece, completed in 1730 and made by Juan de Dios Moreno.

The ornamentation in the altarpiece of Saints Justa and Rufina acquires very characteristic forms. . Thus the altarpiece is covered by a whole range of vegetal elements typical of the decoration of altarpieces and plasterwork of the seventeenth century, of clear Mannerist inspiration. Next to these, garlands, undulating stems, flowers that grow from the salomonic forms and small figures of angels that are found on pedestals and the tops of the supports.

Inside the central niche, there are instruments of torture that allude to the martyrdoms of the saints (whip, knives, grill, etc.). Also very interesting are the motifs that appear on the inner sides of this same niche, which are small pitchers and vessels that allude to the saints’ trade as potters.