Church of Santa Barbara  

 

The Church of Santa Barbara is also called Salesas Reales. It is one of the most beautiful churches in Madrid and Queen Barbara de Braganza, the wife of Fernando VI, ordered it built. It consisted of a monastery and a church, which she would use as a refuge for herself if her husband died before her. The queen bought a large tract of land in 1749 and ordered the French architect Francois Antoine Carlier to built it, and this was finished in 1758. Carlier studied in Paris and in 1726 he was given the Architecture Prize at the Academy. He returned to Madrid and became the architect of the king.

The facade of the church is very impressive and is filled with beautiful sculpture. In the pediment there is a coat of arms of Barbara de Braganza. Above the main door is a medallion with the theme of La Visitacion, and there are many angel sculptures too. The main altar is impressive with green marble Corinthian columns. There are paintings by the Italian artist Francesco de Mura, known as Francischiello. One of them is La Visitacion at the main altar, and the other is La Virgen y El niño con San Francisco Javier y Santa Barbara, close to the sepulcher of Fernando VI. There are many other good paintings in the church. When the queen died, the monastery was occupied by nuns called las Salesas Reales. There is also a sepulcher for the queen, beside that of her husband. The architect Francesco Sabatini and the sculptor Francisco Gutierrez worked on the pantheon. The pantheon is one of the best examples of Neoclassicism. There are two beautiful sculptures of women, one called La Abundancia, and the other is called La Justicia. Today the church still stands and the monastery is now the seat of the Supreme Court.

The façade of the church.

 

This is the mausoleum of King Fernando VI. It was designed by the architect Francesco Sabatini.

 

The mausoleum of Leopoldo de O'Donnell was created by Jeronimo Suñol in Carrara marble in 1867.

 

The Birth of Christ was painted by Francisco Cignarioli in 1770.

 

A sculptural group.

 

Good article:

 http://www.viendomadrid.com/2009/12/m...