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5 minutes away: Convent of Las Descalzas Reales

By | 18 March, 2020 | 0 comments

Monasterio de las Descalzas Reales


This week we continue our series of articles about lesser known monuments in the city centre that can be visited by walking only 5 minutes from our hotel in Puerta del Sol.

With its brick walls and plateresque façade, this religious building inhabited by cloistered nuns since 1559 is a living, breathing part of Madrid’s history. Did you know the Spanish kings Carlos I and Isabella of Portugal both lived here for a time before the Royal Palace was built?

Among its most iconic parts are the main staircase with a large mural painting, the 16th-century church and the Miracle Chapel. Its cloister is also very famous, especially on Good Friday, as it is the starting point of the procession of the Holy Burial, when they play old music from the times of the erection of the monastery. There is also a lying Christ attributed to Gaspar Becerra.

An unknown art gallery

Among the Convent of Las Descalzas Reales’ oddest historical titbits is the fact that, for a long time, the novice nuns than entered the convent had to provide a work of art as a sort of “dowry”, just like a bride before getting married. Many Spanish children have spent hours between its walls, and several monarchs and members of the royal family have contributed generous artistic donations to this institution.

Thus, the Church and the walls of the convent are covered in works by renowned artists such as Peter Paul Rubens, Claudio Coello, Francisco Rizi, José Ximénez Donoso, Pedro de Mena y Medrano and Bernadino Luini. For many centuries, this was the home of the Annunciation by Fra Angelico, which is now in the El Prado Museum.

Categories: Guías Madrid

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