The Sincerest Form of Flattery

Originally built in the 17th century as a seminary school for the orphan children of sailors (on property belonging to the institution responsible for the Spanish Inquisition), The Palacio de San Telmo is now Andalucía’s presidential palace. Over the years, it was a number of things, including the private residence of the Dukes of Montpensier beginning in 1849. It’s an impressive example of Sevilla’s Baroque architecture and I find it fascinating — although, interestingly, I never found Baroque architecture fascinating when I was forced to study it for my art degree. If I’d only known.

GRAND AND MINI PALACIOS DE SAN TELMO, WITH THE THREE WISE MEN OUT FRONT.

But this is not the story of the Palacio de San Telmo, this is the story of the Second Palacio de San Telmo. As I’ve mentioned in recent weeks, there are Nativity Scenes (Belénes) all over town right now. Of course, the convent/church around the corner, Santa Rosalía, has a very popular Belén. It’s visited by school groups, tourists, and locals every day.

APPARENTLY, THIS IS REALLY WHERE IT ALL BEGAN.
IF YOU LOOK CLOSELY, YOU MIGHT BE ABLE TO SPOT THE ARCHANGEL GABRIEL.

I went around the corner after breakfast today to check out Santa Rosalía’s Belén and I was delighted to find that it includes a reproduction of the Palacio de San Telmo and another building known as the Costurero de la Reina (The Queen’s Sewing Box), which was built in 1893 as the guard house/garden retreat for the Palacio de San Telmo.

THE QUEEN’S SEWING BOX (BECAUSE IT LOOKS LIKE A SEWING BOX, I’M TOLD). 

As with so many of the other Belénes I’ve seen around town, I was struck with awe when I saw the level of detail, the workmanship, and the loving attention. Even better I arrived just as a group of noisy tourists was leaving and I left just as a group of noisy teens arrived. Someone was watching over me. (I think it was the volunteer who was guarding the place.)

Author: Moving with Mitchell

From Brooklyn, New York; to North Massapequa; back to Brooklyn; Brockport, New York; back to Brooklyn... To Boston, Massachusetts, where I met Jerry... To Marina del Rey, California; Washington, DC; New Haven and Guilford, Connecticut; San Diego, San Francisco, Palm Springs, and Santa Barbara, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Irvine, California; Sevilla, Spain. And Fuengirola, Málaga..

20 thoughts on “The Sincerest Form of Flattery”

  1. What detail! I had to compare the two pictures (real and miniature) several times just to get the full effect of the model. Thanks for sharing it! On your previous post, San Geraldo looks great! Best wishes to you both.

  2. Amazing! the details and the accuracy…but…I had no idea that the Wise men visited Seville on their way to Bethlehem…well, maybe they were taking the scenic Iberic route.
    saludos,
    raulito

  3. We don't see the detail and craftsmanship very often any more in North America. I am amazed at these Belenes, especially this one! I can feel your excitement Mitch.

  4. Nice to see those nativities scenes.

    Does the religious shop on Calle Jesus de Gran Poder [you know the one with the costly naked Jesus's in the window] also have a nativity on show?

    1. Peter:
      That shop doesn't have an entire scene. They've got the traditional holy family in the window… and then all the other pieces for sale. But, many stores do have wonderful scenes in their windows. El Corté Ingles has a very large one every year. Even Sevilla Musical has one this year.

    1. Bob:
      I do, too. You can apparently tour inside. I'll have to check it out and take some pictures, so you can start to plan the furniture arrangement. It's right at the entrance to Maria Luisa Park, which was originally part of the gardens of the palacio. Not a bad back yard.

  5. The Queens's Sewing Box just fascinates me. It looks like some giant confectionery that isn't quite real. Kind of as an aside… I didn't know that Belen meant the creches etc. We lived close to Belen, NM and were told that that was Spanish for Bethlehem. But then… maybe the meaning can encompass both. Does kinda make me wish I'd paid more attention in either history or catechism class… whichever 😉

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