The Building

The Gaviria Palace’s façade is rusticated on the ground floor, and made of brick for the rest of the floors. The main floor stands out because of its clean balconies and curved gables.

The edifice is organised around two patios and an imposing marble staircase with balustrade whose wall is embellished with niches containing classical sculptures. One of the patios, known as the Patio Andaluz, is clearly inspired by Al-Andalus Mudejar art.

Within the public space – the non residential areas – the drawings in the ceilings can still be appreciated, painted by Joaquín Espalter y Rull, a known painter of the times, trained in Spain, France and Italy, and a member of the Catalan Nazarenes group while in Rome.

The Palace’s chapel is one of the most spectacular spaces. Rounded off by a scalloped oval dome, the corridor that leads to the hall shows an image of the Santo Cristo of Lezo, one of the few images in which this religious figure is shown beardless. The ceiling over the staircase is embellished with paintings of mythological inspiration and figures that represent ancient gods such as Hermes and Athena.

The ballroom, also known as the Hall of Mirrors as it does have six mirrors embellishing its walls, shows frescos on the ceiling where Queen Isabella II is extolled in a series of episodes from the time of the Catholic Monarchs in particular, in a number of scenes related to Queen Isabella I. This room also contains images of the three theological virtues (faith, hope and charity), the cardinal virtues (prudence, justice, fortitudes and temperance), as well as the Maternity. As for the lunettes, they are decorated with polychromatic medallions representing the illustrations of well-known figures contemporary to the Catholic Monarchs, such as Cardinal Cisneros, Juan del Encina, Alonso de Covarrubias and Christopher Columbus.

The smaller private rooms are decorated with wooden coffers, coats of arms and a number of different scenes from the bullfighting world, a world very close to the first marquis of Gaviria and his wife.

The architect Aníbal Álvarez (Photo Archive)