The Hospital of San Lázaro is located outside the city walls, away from it, on the royal road that connected the city with Córdoba, in the vicinity of the Guadalquivir River, between the Hospital of the Five Wounds located in the vicinity of the Door of the Macarena and the Monastery of San Jerónimo de Buena Vista, in some gardens called Big and Little de San Lázaro, and adjacent to the San Fernando Cemetery that was built in the middle of the 19th century. Its location turned out to be the most ideal place to be away from the city and well connected.
The Hospital was founded by Alfonso X the Wise in the second half of the thirteenth century, enlarged later by his son Alfonso XI. The hospital was conceived to house leprosy patients, hence the dedication of San Lázaro.
Following the architectural forms of the building it can be concluded that in its construction there were two phases: a first one, from the end of the 15th century to the beginning of the 16th, church, bays, courtyard, etc.; another second, carried out in the second half of the sixteenth century, in terms of the main facade, church tower, other dependencies, etc., possibly around 1564, works that are directly related to Hernán Ruiz II.
Because the hospital has been in operation from its foundation to the present, the building has been subjected to successive reforms, subsidence and transformations, some of them carried out in the second half of the 18th century, others throughout the 19th century, reaching to be in ruin in 1854, restored in 1864, when it was handed over to the Sisters of Charity, who continue to lead it today. The church was deeply restored in 1833.
The origin of the Hospital dates back to the thirteenth century, when the city created a hospital for leprosy patients under the dedication of San Lazaro in the vicinity of the tower of the Gausines.
The building set consists of two well differentiated nuclei, on the one hand the hospital proper, with all its dependencies that includes patios, remains of a Mudéjar cloister and the defensive Tower called of the Gausines and on the other the church with its tower.
The hospital can be inscribed within the type of palatial hospital, characterized by being a square or rectangular set around a courtyard, at the back of which or on one side is located the church. In this type of buildings in which the typical forms of the Gothic and the Renaissance converge, the religious functions of the hospitals are separated.
Due to having three buildings of different chronology, you can visually appreciate the overlapping of volumes, highlighting the Renaissance hospital bays that you have horizontally, while in the vertical stand the plinth of the Gausines tower, masked in the access door to the enclosure, and the church with its tower.
To the works undertaken in the 15th century, such as the cloister and the main bays of the building, the construction of the main façade was added in the middle of the 16th century. This is located on the left, on the Gospel side of the church.
The main facade has a marked mannerist character, inspired by Serlio's books. It starts from the core of the tower of the Gausines, at whose base the main portal was opened. It is divided into two articulated bodies by three different modules, which are repeated up to eight times. The lower body is structured by semicolumns of Tuscan order that alternate with arches of half a point, all built in exposed brick that simulate ashlars, on which runs along the entire length of the façade a frieze containing metopes and triglyphs. The upper body, the vain rides on the lower massif, being flanked by columns of Ionic order on which rests a smooth entablature and straight pediment. For some researchers the language of the façade is directly related to Hernán Ruiz II.
The cover is formed by a flat vain flanked by columns on which is placed a smooth entablature that gives way to a curved and broken pediment, leaving the composition crowned by a balcony, topped by a ceramic tile. The material used was the brick arranged in a way that simulates ashlars.
The hospital has remains of a mudéjar tradition courtyard made of brick, located between the main portal and the church's Gospel wall. There are a series of arches that make up two bays of the aforementioned patio or cloister. It consists of a basement run on which are placed octagoned pillars on which rest semicircular arches framed by alfiz.
Due to the successive transformations, demolitions and internal extensions to which the building has been subjected over the years, it is very difficult to locate the different dependencies of the Renaissance hospital.
The church is located in an oblique position with respect to the horizontal line of the main facade of the building, with East-West orientation. The temple has a rectangular plan of 24 by 16 meters, with a basilical distribution of three naves, with the central one being wider, of 5.50 meters, than the lateral ones. The naves are separated by pointed arches that hover over cruciform pillars, highlighting the polygonal head supported externally by four robust buttresses, presenting on its front bifurcated windows hollowed spears.
The elevation responds to the characteristics of the Gothic-Mudejar Sevillian churches, with a modern wooden roof that replaced an older one, in the form of a trough in the largest and a hanging in the sides. The apse is covered with a gothic vault of tercelets whose ribs rest on corbels decorated with phytomorphic themes. The main altarpiece contains paintings by Villegas and Marmolejo.
On the body of the church rises the roof to two waters, being between this one and the cover a crunch of facade corresponding to an extension realized in second half of century XVIII. Due to this extension the cover was transferred to its new location although it continues at the foot of the central nave. The main façade, made of agramilad brick, consists of a semicircular arch framed by an alfiz, whose layout and moldings coincide with others made under the reign of the Catholic Monarchs. On the cover is a ceramic tile of San Lázaro. This due to successive reforms and elevations of the land, perhaps fleeing the flooding of the Guadalquivir River, is recessed in its lower third and blinded, so that the church is accessed from inside the hospital itself.
Fuente: bdi del Patrimonio Inmueble de Andalucía (Junta de Andalucía)