The convent of San Leandro

The convent of San Leandro de Sevilla was founded after the reconquest of the city by Fernando III el Santo. There is no documentation to prove it but it is believed that the Augustinians were its first inhabitants. The church dates from the 16th century and was renovated in the 18th century.

The temple was architectural work of Juan de Oviedo with a rectangular shape with a single nave covered with a barrel vault with lunettes. The cover that is accessed directly from the street are classicist style with classic pilasters worth the redundancy. The high and low Choir are created with a barrel vault with 16th century plasterwork decoration.

Among his most outstanding works without Martínez Montañés, the “San Juan Bautista (1621)” and “San Juan Evangelista (1632), presided over with a great relief

Special mention should be made of the figures of “Santiago el Mayor”, “Santiago el Menor” and a relief work with the “Martyrdom of Saint John the Evangelist”, all works by Francisco de Ocampo.

Comment the access to the temple that is made through a 1729 gate, as well as a small baroque altarpiece dedicated to “Santa Rita” work of the second quarter of the eighteenth century.

The Augustinian nuns were probably responsible for asking Murillo for four works on the life of John the Baptist. Works that would be part of the main altarpiece and that for logistical reasons were removed from their original place. In the nineteenth century they were sold and passed to different collectors who located the works in different places.

This series, of which we know three paintings, would be completed with a fourth that is missing and possibly narrated the decapitation of San Juan Bautista.
Saint John the Baptist showing Jesus (reproduction of the original)

Here both characters appear standing facing the viewer. Christ, is designated by the Baptist as the Messiah. Both characters are shown as static only broken by the red hue of the Baptist’s mantle reinforcing the image of the arrival of Christ. By contrast, Christ is more austere than the waiting time before his public life shows.

The Baptism of Christ (reproduction of the original)

The scene is typical of the Baroque period showing Christ at the time of Baptism, while the dove of the Holy Spirit overflies them. It shows an expression of emotion in San Juan, and of humble recollection in Christ, in both cases showing the spiritual moment.
The Baptist’s red cape has the same function of contrast with the soft forms of the redeemer, as the previous painting.

Saint John and the Pharisees (reproduction of the original)

Here it shows the scene of the Pharisees arrived in Jerusalem who confronted the Baptist asking him if he was the Messiah; in his case, he indicated that it was only the voice of someone who had yet to arrive.
At the top of the work, on the left, An angel is identified as the evangelist Saint Matthew as tetramorph and, on the right, the Saint Mark’s tetramorph shown as a lion some bands mentioning the saint. Here Murillo has the characters standing out against each other in contrast to the usual frontality.