Feature: Jaén's Renaissance Master Builder

Most of the finest architecture that you see in Úbeda, Baeza and Jaén is the work of one man: Andrés de Vandelvira (1509–75), born in Alcaraz, Castilla-La Mancha, 150km northeast of Úbeda. Thanks largely to the patronage of Úbeda's Cobos and Molina families and the Benavides of Baeza, Vandelvira was able to endow Jaén province with some of Spain's finest Renaissance buildings. His work spanned all three main phases of Spanish Renaissance architecture – the ornamental early phase known as plateresque, as seen in Úbeda's Sacra Capilla de El Salvador; the purer line and classical proportions which emerged in the later Palacio de Vázquez de Molina; and the austere late-Renaissance style (called Herreresque) of his last building, the Hospital de Santiago. Relatively little is known about Vandelvira’s life, but his legacy is a jewel of Spanish culture.