Javier Hermida

Arco del Postigo Avenida de la Constitución I Avenida de la Constitución II Calle del agua Callejón hasta Santa Marta Costurero de la reina Cruz del arquillo Dos victorias Entrada a los jardines de Cristina Entrada al Pabellón Real Esquina de la Catedral de Sevilla Estanque de Mercurio Glorieta de doña Sol Glorieta Rafael de León Guadalquivir rojo Isleta de los patos Ocaso en el Guadalquivir Pabellón de Alfonso XII Pabellón de Portugal Pabellón Mudéjar Paseo de las delicias Patio de los naranjos de El Salvador Plaza de América Plaza de la alianza Plaza de los capiteles Plaza de San Francisco Plaza de Santa Marta Plaza del Triunfo Plaza de Doña Elvira Puente de San Telmo Puente de Triana en contraluz Puente de Triana Puerta de Palos Tarde sobre la catedral


According to León Roch, Seville holds all the prestige of beauty and grace in its sunlit alleys, its sun-drenched squares, and its eternally blooming gardens. The city reflects all the charm of the land and the joy of its people’s character; it seems made for pleasure and celebration. This old-fashioned and ornate prose was used by the author in his new guide to Seville.

Later, the writer goes into detail about the countless reasons why every visitor is dazzled by Seville’s attractions. The people of Seville are well aware of this and proudly proclaim that their city is “the most beautiful in the world.” Phrases like “In Seville, you must die,” “Seville has something that only Seville has,” “Seville captures the world’s heart,” and “Seville is a whole different world” transcend song lyrics to become local clichés. One oft-repeated anecdote that best represents the idea of Seville as the emotional centre of the universe is the story of a bullfighter performing in a distant arena who, when he decided to return immediately to his city, was chided by his fans: “Maestro, how far is Seville?” To which the bullfighter replied, “No! Seville is exactly where it should be; it’s this place that is far away.” This brilliant response is most often attributed to Rafael Gómez Ortega, “El Gallo,” though it is also credited to Rafael Guerra Bejarano, “El Guerra,” and Ricardo Torres Reina, “Bombita.” The location of the incident could have been La Coruña, Barcelona, a French bullring, or the port of Palos upon his return from the Americas, depending on the version.

Today, Seville is a grand city, even a metropolis, but one that has not lost its homey and welcoming charm while brilliantly preserving all its grandeur. It is also described as the “seat of sacred and profane sciences,” as the aforementioned author put it, a fact clearly demonstrated in its quintessential celebration, Semana Santa (Holy Week), which represents the ultimate expression of both religious and pagan mysteries.

The setting and participation in these mysteries are unparalleled, and according to the Sevillian anthropologist Isidoro Moreno, they constitute a “total social fact.” This is the context in which Igor Stravinsky famously said: “I am hearing what I see, and I am seeing what I hear.” Igor Stravinsky was observing the passage of La Virgen del Refugio from the San Bernardo Brotherhood as it made its way through the Puerta de la Carne, while the Seville Municipal Band played Font de Anta’s “Soleá, dame la mano.” It was 1921, and he was accompanied by his friend Sergei Diaghilev, the renowned producer of his groundbreaking ballets. This detail is not trivial, considering their respective fields—one in music and the other in stage design and performance. This “total social fact” takes place every year, eternally the same yet always different, of course in the springtime, in the streets of Seville.

I am neither an ardent devotee nor a fervent member of a brotherhood, but I am a devoted admirer of Igor Stravinsky and of Seville’s picturesque glories. I deeply resonate with what he said, just as I have felt the need to depict Seville through my watercolours, revealing that sunlit Southern landscape, the greatest gift nature has bestowed upon such a beautiful city as Seville.