Real Alcázar – Casa de Contratación: Last Moments of Fernando III the Saint, a masterpiece by Virgilio Mattoni

Last Days of Fernando III the Saint - A painting by Virgilio Mattoni mounted on the Admiral's Hall's wall in Real Alcázar of Seville, Spain

Last Moments of Fernando III the Saint, a masterpiece by Virgilio Mattoni

Las postrimerías de Fernando III el Santo (Last Moments of Ferdinand III the Saint)
This masterpiece is an oil painting on canvas (size 400 cm x 750 cm) on display at the Admiral’s Hall, a room belonging to the first headquarters of the Casa de Contratación (House of Trade), situated on the eastern side of the Patio de la Montería and next to the Mudéjar style Pedro I Palace in the Real Alcázar of Seville in Spain.

Painted by Virgilio Mattoni, it depicts the last moments of Ferdinand III, the King of Castile, who captured Seville in 1248 from the Almohads. He died in Seville on May 30, 1252, and was later canonized in the 17th century.

Virgilio Mattoni, a native son of Seville, painted this work for the National Exhibition of 1887 to show his special connection to the city of Seville. This acclaimed work secured the second position in the exhibition.

The inspiration for the painting came from a passage described in the Chronicle of Spain, a compilation of historical accounts commissioned by Alfonso X the Wise, the son and successor to King Ferdinand III.

The mood of the scene in the painting is somber. Dressed in a white gown, King Ferdinand III has his head lowered and is falling on his knees as two monks are holding his arms up to form a cross. As he is about to die, the Archbishop in front of him is holding up the Eucharist with his hands as his courtiers are anxiously watching the spectacle. Also seen is his queen, Joan of Dammartin, who collapsed on a cushion.

The Admiral’s Hall is one of the two well-preserved halls of the building that was home to the first headquarters of Casa de Contratación (House of Trade), an organization established in 1503 by Queen Isabella I of Castile to regulate trade in the Americas after the discovery of the New World. This organization had broad powers, including approval of voyages, licensing navigators, collecting taxes, and acting as a court of law to settle trade disputes.

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Last Moments of Fernando III the Saint, a masterpiece by Virgilio Mattoni
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Queen Maria Amelia de Borbón-Dos Sicilias
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Seville Pages and Posts
Real Alcázar of Seville: Casa de Contratación (House of Trade)
Real Alcázar of Seville: Pedro I Palace – A masterpiece of Mudéjar art and architecture
Seville Cathedral: An awe-inspiring architectural marvel
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Sacristía Mayor – The Main Sacristy of the Seville Cathedral
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