The figure of Andrés de Vandelvira

Discover in all his fullness the great Master Andrés de Vandelvira

The tour begins with the dominions of the powerful Secretary, Francisco de los Cobos, to pass to those of another illustrious family for whom Vandelvira also worked: the Benavides, counts of Santisteban, whose county borders the Advancement of Cazorla and the foothills of Sierra Morena where the colonization of Carlos III took place. Confluence of times and styles go hand in hand in this interesting territory, also of extraordinary natural beauty.

Artist Bio

Andrés de Vandelvira (1505-1575) is the most outstanding architect of those who worked in the 16th century in Jaén and one of the three fundamental names within the architecture of the Renaissance in Andalusia, together with Siloe and Hernán Ruiz II, and therefore in the first line of Spanish architecture of its time.

Born in Alcaraz (Albacete), where he began his career as a simple stonemason, soon from the hand of his father-in-law, Francisco de Luna, he moved to Uclés (Cuenca), headquarters of the convent of the Military Order of Santiago in which Luna he enjoyed great prestige as a master stonemason. There he would have the opportunity to make contact with the first Renaissance, very decorative, the so-called “plateresque”. He immediately moved south to settle in Villanueva de los Infantes, undoubtedly for work reasons related to the parish church of San Andrés in that town. From there and in the company of Luna, he toured the villages of the Sierra de Segura, domains of ...


Anecdotal / Curiosities

In Andrés de Vandelvira's biography, the number of places where he worked and the distance between them is striking. The teacher moved in a wide radius that went from Cuenca to the north, Seville to the west, Malaga to the south and Guadix and perhaps some point further northeast, all taking into account that his center was in the Jaén-Úbeda axis, it is surprising the many kilometers traveled in a relatively short time taking into account the means of transport, on horseback.

This fact is linked to his enormous capacity for work, which he held in a high regard. In his testament he emphasizes with pride and sense of justice the separation between the assets contributed by his wife to the marriage and those that he contributed, one hundred thousand maravedíes that I had won, and then specifies that the farms and the fruits that he kept in the chambers of His house in Vicarrillo was won and acquired by my industry and work after the death of the said Luisa de Luna, my w ...


The work of Andrés de Vandelvira

Andrés de Vandelvira's work is characterized, in a few words, by its constructive solidity and constant experimentation with architectural language. 

The constructive solidity is given to him by his mastery of the stereotomy or technique of cutting the stone, the fundamental material with which he works. Such knowledge, although inherited from the rich medieval tradition and shared by most of the master builders in Spain, nevertheless in the hands of Vandelvira he will know an extraordinary conversion or adaptation to the Roman or ancient language, which was the language of the Renaissance. This means cutting each one of the stone pieces or voussoirs, which make up the entire spatial ensemble built, with the precise shape so that they fit together with each other, they support themselves. The difficulty will be that of enclosing the space with curved surfaces and gaps, given the systematic use of the semicircular arch that dominates in ancient or Roman archite ...