The history of the convent of Santa Inés, begins with a lady named María Coronel, wife of a gentleman in grace at the time of the XIV century, in the reign of Alfonso XI and his son Pedro I. However the husband falls into disgrace under the reign of the latter and dies imprisoned. The widow suffers harassment for the love of the king called the Cruel and to avoid this persecution, is thrown into the face boiling oil being disfigured. By this act, the king, full of remorse of conscience, favored his right to enter a convent and helped to found it in an old palace belonging to his family.
It is accessed through Dona Maria Coronel Street, and access to the church’s entrance.
When you go through the main door, the first thing you find is a small vestibule and, you come to the courtyard of the workshop, with a double arcade, to which the kitchen, the workshop, the oven, warehouses, etc. are opened. The space dedicated to the closing is organized around several cloisters and patios.
There is a courtyard known as the Camarilla in the shape of a rectangle, with a stack of white marble and a high quality bowl. Its design is formed by a double gallery of arches in the form of a peralta in the lower area, where the kitchens and the prayer room are located, and arches on the top floor, where the closure cells were located.
The main cloister or remains of original Gothic-Mudejar design, trapezoid shaped and supported by slender columns with acanthus. The four sides are crossed by a series of columns and the center of the patio is topped by a fountain covered with basin-type tiles.
The high gallery looks like a museum because it contains interesting Italian-style paintings, such as frescoes, from the 16th century. These paintings represent 32 scenes of the Old Testament alternated with numerous saints and saints the Order of Santa Clara, framed in simulated niches and supports of feigned corbels, decorated with 38 grotesques and crowned with the Franciscan shield of the five bleeding wounds. All these scenes culminate with one on the Creation of Man and the allegories on the Immaculate Conception.
But these are not the only paintings of the site, since the so-called cloister of the novitiate can enjoy more mural works of unknown author. There are also remains of paint in the area of the arches and in the valance of the zócalo from around 1545 in the Renaissance style of the Sevillian school.
Here the refectory opens, with a wooden coffered ceiling. You can enjoy a painting that shows the Last Supper, a copy of Leonardo da Vinci’s, and an unknown author. The rest is decorated with copies of Murillo’s works and basin-type tiles.
The prayer room, whose function is the chapter house, has a square shape, and a bench can be seen along its walls, also covered with 16th century Cuenca tiles. Presiding over the room, an altarpiece appears that presents the Sagrada Familia, whose authorship is thought to be that of the painter Domingo Martínez, from the 18th century, where a couple of angels are shown carrying signs with the words “Gloria in Etelsis Deo et in Terra Paz Himinibus Bone Voluntatis “, above appears the figure of the Holy Spirit carried by two angels. We can also see the shields of the Franciscan and Dominican order, and representations of the archangels San Miguel, San Rafael and San Gabriel, and the Guardian Angel. It also shows a painting without authorship on different moments of the life of San Juan Bautista.
In its walls there are some showcases where the baroque images of a crucified one, of the assumption of the Virgin, of San Francisco and of Santa Clara are shown. Sculpture probably more important is an image of the Holder of the convent, Santa Inés, whose authorship is due to Pedro Millán.
The room of Profundis is square shaped like a vat, of Islamic origin, possibly part of a small mosque, probably built before the reconquest of the Almohad or Taifa city, and which is covered by a vault of seventeen cloths on trunks in the angles This room is used as a cemetery for the nuns in a silent area.
The Mudejar footprint is evident at the entrance with a series of fine plasterwork, exactly the same as the arch of the Cathedral’s Door of Forgiveness, and the entrance doors are decorated with representations of Santa Clara, San Francisco de Assisi and heraldic representations of the sixteenth century.
There are several images but the most important is that of the “Ecce Homo” who, according to tradition, one day in March 1685 sweat blood.
In the High Nursing area, we can see the triptych of the Immaculate. The novitiate area is opened by a lintel doorway with a straight fronton and split with an attic and slender pyramids in its Mannerist style finial, belonging to the 17th century. The church has a basilical plan, with three naves separated by cruciform pillars. Its central nave is wider than the lateral and longer, both by the feet and by the presbytery, which is topped with polygonal head, which opens with a vault of brick warhead supported with spine ribs.
In 1630 the church went through a process of restoration by Herrera the Elder, and from this moment are the plasterwork and the paintings of the choir. Of Herrera the Elder are for example the heads of cherubs represented at the height of the two angels who hold the pillars of the presbytery. Of the same period are the tiles that surround it.
The main altarpiece of the church is a structure designed by José Fernández and Francisco José de Medinilla, between 1719 and 1748, in the Baroque style with the image of the titular saint, Santa Inés, made by Francisco de Ocampo around 1630. The image of Santa Inés comes from the old disappeared main altarpiece, as well as the indicated San Juan Bautista, San Antonio de Padua, San Juan Evangelista and San Pascual Bailón, all Baroque of the XVII century.
At the head of the right nave is the altarpiece of the Virgen del Rosario, flamenco style, whose titular image is the eighteenth century and where we can see other saints such as San Pedro, San Blas, San Sebastian, the decapitation of San Juan Bautista and the Mass of San Gregorio. Continuing through the same area there is a small niche that closes a Gothic grille, with relics of the saints martyrs of Cologne.
We can also see an image dedicated to San Blas with Mannerist influence, made by Juan de Mesa in 1617 and later restored.
Following the path we find the front of the church and on the other side an altarpiece built with architectural elements of the sixteenth century as the tables referring to San Juan Bautista and San Jerónimo and the seventeenth century are the images of San Antonio de Padua and the archangel San Miguel.
In the choir area decorated with flowers is the incorrupt body of Dona Maria Coronel who wears the feminine habit of the Franciscan Order of Santa Clara to which she belonged.
The sacristy has its location on the right side of the presbytery decorated with a magnificent coffered ceiling of Renaissance-style coffered ceilings and the walls covered by basin-like tiles from the 17th century. But the most outstanding is the work of Calvary, a mural painting in Mannerist style, in which we see Saint Francis of Assisi on the left and Saint Anthony of Padua on the right.
The low choir located at the foot of the central nave is formed by three sections covered with a ribbed vault. The seating has a Renaissance style with plateresque motifs.