Tavera Hospital

Tavera Hospital

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Located in Toledo (View map)

The Hospital of San Juan Bautista (St. John the Baptist), of Tavera, is the most important building of Renaissance Classicism in Toledo. It was conceived as a charity hospital and pantheon of its founder, the philanthropist Cardinal Juan Pardo de Tavera, who in 1541 started the construction of this magnificent building by hand with one of the most famous Renaissance architects, Alonso de Covarrubias. Since then it has remained in the hands of the Ducal House of Medinaceli.

After the Spanish Civil War the Dowager Duchess of Lerma, aunt of the current Duchess of Medinaceli, recovered and restored most of the old hospital rooms, assembling an impressive collection of paintings including works by Ribera, Zurbarán, Tintoretto, Sanchez Coello and Caravaggio. Among all of these, the most remarkable is the set of paintings by El Greco, who lived in a house nearby and was commissioned several works by the Hospital as the Baptism of Christ or The Tears of San Pedro. With all this Tavera meant the recovery of the real “Spanish style”. After visiting the hospital, photographer Cecil Beaton wrote: “Among the fine homes I have been privileged to see through my travels in Italy, France, Spain, India, China, Germany and America, none is nobler in taste“. (The Glass of Fashion, 1954).