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Have you ever wondered why La Capilla del Obispo is named like this? Or why it has Gothic architecture but with some Renaissance features? Why did they use granite instead of another type of rock? Keep reading the article and you will have the answer to these questions and much more!
During the construction of La Capilla del Obispo, Catholic monarchs ruled Sapin and then Charles I, and as you may know, he was also Charles V, emperor of the Holy Roman Empire.
It was in 1547 when Francisco de Vargas y Medina decided to build a funeral chapel attached to the church of San Andrés. However, the origin of the church of San Andrés dates back to the 15th century. The chapel is named after Francisco de Vargas´ son because he was the bishop of Plasencia.
It consists of three buildings, which were connected in the past but today we are only going to focus in La Capilla del Obispo.
La Capilla del Obispo is located la Plaza de la Paja attached to La Iglesia de San Andrés. Its construction started in 1547, and finished on 1550. However, the origin of the church of San Andrés dates back to the 15th century. Some years later, La Capilla del Obispo was added to the building, and later a funerary chapel dedicated to San Isidro was added.
It was in the 16th century when Francisco de Vargas y Medina, decided to build a funeral chapel dedicated to San Isidro. La Capilla del Obispo is named after his son, Gutierre de Vargas y Carvajal who was the bishop of Palencia, finished the chapel.
Its artistic style is Gothic, and it is one of few examples of Gothic architecture in Madrid. However, the entablature have some renaissance characteristics.
The interior of the building consists of a single nave divided into three sections covered with ribbed vaults and a polygonal apse.
In the interior of the building we can appreciate an altarpiece carved by Francisco Giralte between 1550 and 1556. It is divided into three parts and three roles. Above it we can see another role with Jesus Christ sculpted on it. It is made up of polychrome cypress wood. It represents scenes of childhood and Christ passion. There are angels and apostles in niche.
Then at both sides of the altarpiece there are two sculptures and next to one of the sculptures there is the cenotaph of the bishop. Let´s remember that a cenotaph is a funerary monument. Below there is a picture of the façade in which you can see the granite and the components which form it granite.
There was a huge fire in 1936 because of the revolts of the Civil War, and after many renovations, the three buildings have been reunited again.
Where did granite came from?
The term granite was first used in the 17th century. Scientists would look up for more information on the stone: granite is first known as molten stone, thousands of kilometres below us. Pressure forces the magma and other minerals to combine, while it rises to the surface, the igneous mix hardens into the rock named granite.
It was very common to use this type of rock because it is one of the hardest stones available, and many of the buildings made with this material do not deteriorate with time.
Since it is an igneous rock, it hasn’t suffered any type of alteration.
Granite has to be extracted in large pieces, so large teams of workers and specialized equipment are needed to extract this type of rock.
Granite is an intrusive igneous rock formed from molten rock that solidifies under the Earth´s surface where magma cools down slowly enough to form crystals.
The building has suffered some because of external geological agents. Some of the agents that can damage the granite are pollution, wind, rain and human activity.
Notice in the picture on the next page how the alteration of granite increases with the proximity to the ground. This Is because humidity causes the alteration of rocks.
Here is the video we recorded about La Capilla del Obispo.