Real Alcázar – Casa de Contratación: Hall of Audiences – Virgin of the Navigators

Virgin of the Navigators - A painting at the the center of the altarpiece on display at the Casa de Contratación (House of Trade) in the Royal Alcázar of Seville, Spain

Virgin of the Navigators – A painting in the altarpiece on display at the Casa de Contratación (House of Trade)

Virgin of the Navigators
This beautifully designed altarpiece is on display at the Hall of Audiences, in the Casa de Contratación (House of Trade) section of the Real Alcázar in Seville, Spain.

In the center of this altarpiece is La Virgen de los Navegantes (Virgin of the Navigators), a masterpiece painted by the Spanish painter Alejo Fernández sometime between 1531 and 1536. As you can see, the Virgin Mary is up in the clouds looking down at the ships floating in the sea. Her mantle covers many famous seafarers, including Christopher Columbus and Amerigo Vespucci, and indigenous people of the Americas. Flanking the central painting are the portraits of St. Sebastian, St. James the Great, St. Elmo, and St. John the Evangelist.

Established in 1503 by Queen Isabella I of Castile, the Casa de Contratación was an organization (somewhat similar to the East India Company) that controlled the trade in the Americas. Housed in the Real Alcázar of Seville, the Casa de Contratación had broad powers, including the approval of voyages. The current Hall of Audiences was part of it and was a chapel once. The altarpiece shown in the image belonged to this chapel.

Casa de Contratación pages
Admiral’s Room
Last Moments of Fernando III the Saint, a masterpiece by Virgilio Mattoni
King Louis Philippe I of France
Queen Maria Amelia de Borbón-Dos Sicilias
King Fernando VII of Spain
Hall of Audiences
Model of Santa Maria
Virgin of the Navigators

Other related pages and posts
Seville Cathedral: An awe-inspiring architectural marvel
Sala Capitular – The Chapter House of the Seville Cathedral
Sacristía Mayor – The Main Sacristy of the Seville Cathedral
La Giralda: A harmonious blend of Moorish and Renaissance architectural styles
Las Setas of Seville – A modern artistic structure in a historical city

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