An Eye for Mudéjar Architecture

Apart from the Islamic buildings of Córdoba and Granada, Wilhelm Meyer was very interested in Mudéjar architecture, so prominently featured in Sevilla, as demonstrated by three pencil drawings made in January 1846 from the palace of Pedro I. The private palace’s centre, the Patio de las Doncellas, brings to mind Almohad patios with its arcades covered in sebka lacework (Figs 1-2). Meyer’s La cour de l’Alcazar is set apart from most of the contemporary views (Fig. 3). This image convinces with its stringent depiction and the precise rendering of the detailed stucco décor on walls and arcades. – FG

Ruiz Souza 2004. Cómez 2006. Tabales Rodríguez 2010. Almagro Gorbea 2013.

The Salón de Embajadores

The impressive Salón de Embajadores is situated at the Southern end of the Patio de las Doncellas (Fig. 4). Contrary to Girault de Prangey, Meyer chose a standing point outside of the hall, establishing interesting vistas (Fig. 5). Our gaze roams through the monumental hall towards the yard. The triple arcade depicted in the foreground documents the juxtaposition of Islamic and Christian decorative forms. Filigree vines populated with birds trail over a background of vegetal ornaments (ataurique). By comparison to a view by Wells, the mastery of the Zurich painter is noticed quite critically (Fig. 6). Minutely, he captures the geometric ceramic mosaic (alicatados) and the detailed stucco décor of the triple arcade, the hall behind it and the yard. Colour indications should help the painter later to convert the subject in the atelier. – FG

Griault de Prangey 1837-39. Wells 1846.

The Audience Hall of Pedro I

Meyer’s pencil drawing La Sale appelée de don Pedro el cruel à l’Alcazar à Séville offers a rare peek into the audience chamber of Pedro I in the upper storey (Fig. 7), from which he could turn to the crowd gathered in the Patio de la Montería. The multi-layer wall structure seems to have fascinated the Zurich painter especially. An all-around arcade of arches with stuccoed sebka decoration was laid over a richly ornamented back wall. This curtain wall finds its closest parallel in the Patio de los Leones of the Alhambra or the Patio de las Muñecas on the Sevillian palace’s ground floor (Figs 8-9). Whereas the architecture of the chamber is rendered precisely, Meyer chose a fictional outlook on the cathedral of Sevilla. – FG

Girault de Prangey 1837-39. Griault de Prangey 1842.
Fig.1 (en)

Fig. 1. View of the Patio de las Doncellas (Wells 1846, p. 331).

Fig.2 (en)

Fig. 2. Court arcade in the Patio de las Doncellas (Taylor 1832, Pl. 42).

Fig.3 (en)

Fig. 3. Wilhelm Meyer, "La cour de l’Alcazar à Séville" (The court of the Alcazar in Sevilla), pencil on paper, 40,5 x 60 cm, Sevilla, January 1846 (Kunsthaus Zürich, Collection of Prints and Drawings, L. 73, Fol. 21).