Santiponce Itálica

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Chapel of the Confraternity of the True Cross

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The Confraternity of the True Cross in Olivares was founded on 12 May 1552 by Pedro de Guzmán, the 1st Count of Olivares. A few years later, in 1560, the Confraternity built a charity hospital with its own chapel, dedicated to Our Lady of Antigua, on land donated by the count’s wife, Francisca de Ribera.

The Confraternity has seen cycles of prosperity and dearth throughout its history, even facing complete ruin on as many as four occasions. In those cases, the titular images were relocated to the nearby Collegiate Church of Santa María de las Nieves.

The chapel still is the seat of the Confraternity of the True Cross. It has a rich artistic heritage, including a magnificent, gilded polychrome wood altarpiece. In truth, it was made from two altarpieces taken from the former Franciscan friary founded by the Count-Duke of Olivares, Gaspar de Guzmán, in Castilleja de la Cuesta. The predella, outer columns and reliefs of the saints on the sides are in Renaissance style, while the inner Solomonic columns and magnificent gable, featuring pairs of embracing angels surrounded by acanthus leaf carving, are in baroque style. This original altarpiece holds the Confraternity’s titular images the Christ of Good Health, Our Lady of Antigua and Saint John the Evangelist. 

When the chapel’s façade was restored in 1978, the governing body of the Confraternity decided to place on both sides of the door two ceramic tiles made by Antonio Morilla Galea (1910–2000) depicting the titular images.

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