With its sober appearance, the San Antonio de la Florida Chapel is a contrast to the grandiose pictorial ensemble that Goya painted at end of the 18th Century. In creating this masterpiece of Spanish art, the artist from Aragón knew that he was decorating one of the most popular temples of Madrid, famous for its celebration each June 13th.
The original chapel was built in front of the Abanico fountain at the request of Carlos IV. It was created by Francisco de Fontana (1792 - 1798), and it has a Greek cross ground plan, short arms, and a semicircular apse from the top of which originates a central space dominated by a big dome and illuminated by a lantern. The chapel is confined to areas attached to the exterior, forming a rectangle. Standing out from this are the supports, which showcase the main façade, built according to the Baroque canon.
As a result of the special concern that has always existed to ensure its conservation, in 1905 it was declared National Monument, and in 1928 an identical temple was built next to it in order to move the services there, and thus preserve the original as a museum dedicated to Goya. Despite the building itself being one of the best examples of Madrid’s Neo-Classic style, Goya’s frescos are what make the Chapel of San Antonio an obligatory stop in Madrid. Goya decorated the dome with frescos representing the Saint’s trance before the people of Lisbon. The altarpieces were later painted by Jacinto Gómez Pastor.