CARDINAL RODRIGO DE CASTRO
Portrait of Cardinal Rodrigo de Castro, founder of this College of Nª Sª de la Antigua. It is an oil on canvas, life-size and an unknown author, executed for this school in the 17th century, according to a drawing by Francisco Pacheco, Velázquez’s father-in-law.
(Valladolid, March 5, 1523-Seville 1600) was cardinal, bishop of Zamora, (1574-1578) and of the diocese of Cuenca, (1578-1581), Archbishop of Seville, (1581 – 1600), member of the Council of State of Spain and of the Supreme Council of the Spanish Inquisition during the reign of Felipe II. Great-uncle of Pedro Fernández de Castro y Andrade, seventh Count of Lemos; closely linked to the Galician city of Monforte de Lemos, he was the founder of the Colegio de Nuestra Señora de La Antigua.
Popularly known as «Cardinal Rodrigo de Castro», a true Renaissance man, considered by many authors as the last great ecclesiastical prince; his place of birth is disputed, since the birth certificate could not be found: however, some authors maintain that he was born in Valladolid in 1523, because his mother, Beatriz de Castro «A fermosa» (1480 – 1570 ), III Countess of Lemos, whose beauty motivated the popular verse:
«Of the meats, the ram,
of the fish, the grouper,
of the birds, the partridge,
of the women, the Beatriz «
He studied canon law in Salamanca, where his brother Pedro de Castro Lemos was Bishop (February 20, 1545 – June 5, 1553), who would later become Bishop of Cuenca, (1553-1561). Archbishop of Seville since 1581, where he employed as an Architect the Milanese Vermondo Resta, (Milan, Italy, circa 1555 – Seville, 1625), author of numerous Mannerist churches in the Archdiocese and at the death of the Cardinal, of reforms of gardens and fountains in the Reales Alcázares de Sevilla, a World Heritage Site since 1987, is named Cardinal on December 15, 1583, by «The Pope of the New Catholic Calendar», Gregory XIII.
His restless spirit leads him to travel: Flanders, Portugal, France, Italy, Germany; trips in which he takes on an important artistic heritage, most of which he treasures in the city of Monforte de Lemos, to which he was joined by a strong predilection. (Farinelli indicates that in the National Library of Spain, there is the Diary of the cardinal’s last voyage, made in 1598, two years before his death, by order of Philip III, to receive Archduchess Margaret of Austria, future queen of Spain. It is a folio manuscript, collection of Jesuits, registered by Alenda nº 365: «The day that Cardinal my lord made from Seville to Madrid and what happened until he left for Valencia, Year 1598»)
Portrait of Cardinal Rodrigo de Castro Diocese of Seville