The Route along the Extremaduran art from the 17th and 18th century
We start our Route in the Southern Sierra, the Extremaduran area where there are more artistic late-baroque examples with clear Andalusian, Mudejar and even Hispano-American influences.
In Fregenal de la Sierra, there is also a good group
of civil and religious buildings Baroque in style, outstanding
the House of the Marquis of Rioacabado; the old Jesuit Schools;
the Hermitage of the Virgin of “los Remedios” , from
1643, with a beautiful Boudoir from the following century and
the Church of “Santa María del Castillo”, rebuilt
in the 16th and 17th centuries and in whose interior we can find
an interesting High Altarpiece and an organ from 1775.
Very near Fregenal de la Sierra, in Bodonal de la Sierra, itsTown Hall is one of the best examples of civil buildings in Neo-classical style in Extremadura, built in 1752.
From Fregenal we will go to Jerez de los Caballeros
, a place of conquerors like Vasco Núñez de Balboa
or Diego de Albítez .
It has a admirable Holy Week, a Fiesta which is declared an Official Tourist Attraction in Extremadura. Its Churches and Towers of “San Miguel, Santa Catalina” and “San Bartolomé”, this one with a beautiful gable end, are the most beautiful lower-Extremaduran Baroque-style examples, built around mid 18th century.
The brick, the plaster and the glazed terra-cotta are the most used materials in the these precious buildings which are an unforgettable artistic combination.
The Baroque style of the Church of “Santa María” is less marked, in this church we can see the Rococo style of its last restoration and it owns a Boudoir decorated with ringleted elements.
On our way to Zafra, we will pass through the beautiful village of Burguillos del Cerro. In its Churches of “Santa María de la Encina” and “San Juan Bautista” it has two interesting examples of buildings from the turn of the 18th century, built at the request of the Countess-Duchess of Benavente.
In Zafra, its Parish Church of “la Candelaria”,
the most emblematic religious building in the town, has some magnificent
sculptural works of the Extremaduran Baroque, such as the Altarpiece
of the Main Chapel from the 17th century , by Blas de Escobar,
the Virgin of Valvanera, in a clear Churrigueresque style, and
some attractive paintings by Francisco de Zurbarán, which
are the artistic jewel of the pictorial group in the Altarpiece
of “los Remedios”.
The entrance at the bottom of the church is from the 18th century and in its interior we can see an interesting organ, from the same century, made of boxwood.
The Convent of Santa Clara has a beautiful High Altarpiece from the 18th century in Baroque style, and near the Convent we find the popularly known “Casa Grande”(Big House), a building from the 17th century with a lintelled door, outstanding is the patio in its interior.
The Town Hall is situated in the “Plaza Chica” (Small Square), it was built in the 18th century in Neo-classical style and which is at present the Court House. In the Convent of “el Rosario” we can admire the worshipped “el Rosario” Christ from the 17th century.
Los Santos de Maimona has a majestic Hermitage de “la Estrella”, which is the devotional centre of the area. In the heart of the “Campiña Sur” (Southern Countryside) the village of Llerena has interesting examples of religious architecture in its Church of “Ntra. Sra. de la Granada” , where the trends belonging to that time leave their trace in the Proto-Baroque belfry and in the side arcades on the Gospel side, and specially in the Boudoir from 1704. In the Convent of “Santa Clara” we can admire the sculpture of “San Jerónimo” by Juan Martínez Montañés, the great master of the Spanish Baroque.
Near Llerena, Villagarcía de la Torre has an interesting Parish Church of “la Merced” and the “Casa de los Grajeras” (House of los Grajeras), both of them in a marked Baroque style.
Villafranca de los Barros, Ribera del Fresno and Fuente del Maestre are three good examples of places belonging to the “Comarca de Tierra de Barros” with religious and civil buildings of historic artistic interest.
In the case of Villafranca de los Barros, it has
its Hermitage of “la Coronada” with a beautiful Boudoir
built around 1704; in Ribera del Fresno we find the Hermitage
of “La Misericordia” Christ in Austria style and in
Fuente del Maestre the Hermitage of “San Pablo” and
the Convent of “San Pedro”, without forgetting the
arcaded galleries of its Town Hall from the 18th century .
Its Parish Church of “la Candelaria” owns a magnificent High Altarpiece from the 18th century.
Almendralejo, the great wine-producing centre in Extremadura and the homeland of the poets Carolina Coronado and José de Espronceda, is famous by its “ Fiestas de las Candelas” on February, which has been declared an Official Tourist Attraction.
In the centre of the town we find the Palace of the Marquis and Marquise of Monsalud from 1752, outstanding is its coat of arms from 1782.
Near this Palace we find theChurch of “la Purificación” with its baroque tower, a devotional place for the inhabitants of Almendralejo, the same as the Hermitage of “Ntra. Sra. de la Piedad” , built in the 16th century and remodelled in the 18th century. Its Ancient Prison is also in Baroque style.
On our way to Badajoz, in Aceuchal, we can contemplate
the old Communal Granary from the 18th century and the Baroque
shapes of its Parish Church of “San Pedro” Badajoz
still keeps some stretches of its walls from the 18th century,
built according to the models of the Marshal Vauben.
Sebastán Vázquez, popularly known as “Puerta del Cordero” (the Lamb Doorway) . In its interior there are magnificent Baroque paintings by Mures, Antonio Palomino, Pompeo Batoni and Friar Blas de Cervera.
In its High Altarpiece stands out the beautiful Baroque sculpture of Saint John Baptist , by Juan Alonso Villabrille y Ron, from 1771. In its Cathedral Museum there is another sculpture of Saint John made of polychrome wood, this one by Blas de Escobar, dating back from between 1666 and 1668.
Perhaps Mérida has the best example of Baroque building from the turn of the 18th century in Extremadura; we refer to the old “San Juan” (Saint John) Hospital with an octagonal church from 1785. At present this building is the home of the “Asamblea Regional” in Extremadura.
With the help of the king Felipe II in 1626, the
attractive and white Hermitage of “Ntra. Sra. de las Nieves”
was built in the nearby village of La Zarza, where we can find
the image of this Virgin in Gothic Style.
Medellín and Miajadas have in their Churches of “San Martín” and “Santiago” respectively two interesting examples of religious monumental architecture.
In the neighbouring village of Escurial, the Baroque sculpture of “El Desamparo” Christ is very famous. Going to Guadalupe we can stop in some villages, belonging to two Badajoz areas to visit and find some interesting religious and civil architectonic examples in Baroque style.
Castuera is a cattle-raising, nougat-maker and cheese-maker
village with a great regional renown, which belonged to the Order
of Calatrava. In its Church of “la Magdalena” from
the 18th century, it has a good example of mild Baroque, being
also attractive and curious the civil building known as the House
of “las Sirenas” .
In the area of “Las Villuercas” stands out the village of La Puebla de Guadalupe by its Royal Monastery, declared Heritage for Mankind. In its interior there are two magnificent jewels of the pictorial art, the Boudoir (or Side Chapel) of the Virgin , by Francisco Rodríguez, made between 1687 and 1696 with Baroque paintings by Lucas Jordán and the Sacristy , built in the 17th century, where we can see one of the best collection of paintings by the Extremaduran Francisco de Zurbarán. The High Altarpiece of its New Church is Classic-Baroque in style from the beginning of the 17th century, designed by Juan Gómez de Mora, together with the sculptures by Giraldo de Merlo. From Guadalupe and on our way to Plasencia, we will stop in Serradilla to visit the Baroque Church of the Monastery of “La Victoria” Christ , where we can also admire an interesting sculpture of Christ made by Domingo de la Rioja or the very beautiful “Asunción” (Assumption) by Luis Salvador de Carmona, also made in 1749 to be placed in the High Altar of the Church. We can forget its interesting exhibition of magnificent paintings by important painters of this time.
The Cathedral in Plasencia has a monumental High Altarpiece from the 17th century, with paintings by Mateo Gallardo and Luis Fernández, together with magnificent sculptures by Gregorio Fernández, dating back to 1664, outstanding the known Group of the Assumption.
The Altar of the Relics from mid 18th century in the Epistle aisle and the astonishing Altarpiece of “la Dormición de la Virgen”, by the brothers José and Joaquín de Churrigera are other two Baroque examples with a great artistic value. The Cathedral Museum houses interesting paintings, works of silversmithing and specially sculptures from that time. The Church of “San Vicente” and the Shrine of the Virgin of “El Puerto” are also excellent examples of Baroque architecture; this one harbours the beautiful image of the Patron Saint of Plasencia.
In the “Valle de Ambroz” (Ambroz Valley),
Baños de Montemayor, famous by its Spa, has the Church
of “Santa María”, which is an interesting Baroque
example. A few kilometres away, in Hervás, we find the
Ancient Convent of the Trinitarian Fathers, which is one of the
best examples of the Baroque architecture in upper Extremadura,
built from 1664 on; also in this style we find the big Church
of “Santa María”. In Abadía, in the
same area, we can know the Church of the Covent of “la Bien
Parada”, in Baroque style.
In the area of “la Vera” the villages of Cuacos de Yuste and Aldeanueva de la Vera have two good examples of religious Baroque architecture: the Church of the Assumption in Cuacos and theChurch of “San Pedro” in Adeanueva de La Vera.
To the “Valle del Alagón” (Alagón
Valley), Coria keeps its beautiful cathedral Tower , a work by
Manuel Larra de Churrigera from 1723 and its admirable Baroque
Hermitage of “Ntra. Sra. de Argeme”. Casar de Palomero,
bordering on Las Hurdes, has the only known Holy Cross Shrine
from the 18th century and Zarza Mayor, bordering on Portugal,
it has two interesting architectonic examples: the Church of “San
Pedro” and Saint John Hermitage, both of them in baroque
style, the same as the Hermitage of “San Pedro”, in
the neighbouring village of Ceclavín, famous by its potters
Cáceres, declared Heritage for Mankind, is the end of our journey and in this city we can see interesting Classic-Baroque examples: The Hermitage of “el Vaquero” from 1667; the Church of the Convent of “Santa Clara” from the turn of the 16th century; the Hermitage of “San Antonio de Padua”; the Convent of “San Pedro”; or the Chapel of “los Espaderos” in the Parish Church of “San Juan”.
The Tower of the Church of “San Mateo”,
a temple started in the 16th century, dates back to 1780/81 and
the bottom of the Church is from the beginning of the 17th century.
Its Altarpiece owns images of a great artistic value.
Near this temple we find the Provincial Archaeological Museum and, in the section devoted to Fine Arts, we can see some Baroque pieces and paintings of a great historic artistic value.
The most interesting examples of Baroque architectonic in Cáceres are, without doubt, the School of “la Compañía de Jesús , built by Pedro Sánchez Lobato in 1775 and the adjoining Church of “San Francisco Javier” , both of them form an original stone Altarpiece in the famous Square of “San Jorge” in Cáceres.
In the Shine of the patron saint, the Virgin of
"La Montaña" , we find an interesting Boudoir
built and extended from 1726 on.
Jerez de los Caballeros
Fregenal de La Sierra
Los Santos de Maimona
Villafranca de Los Barros
Fuente del Maestre
Cabeza del Buey
Zarza la Mayor