High altar choir stalls

Work began on the construction of choir stalls and a new high altarpiece on the occasion of the renovation of the entire presbytery in 1805. The prestigious architect Justo Antonio de Olaguibel was contracted to design the entire refurbishment process. The lower choir was destined for the central body of the church in the initial project, but the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando advised that it should be placed in the presbytery. The architect Antonio Rubio, sculptor Mauricio de Valdivielso, painter José López de Torre, silversmith Anselmo Prior and turner Julián de Urrutia were responsible for executing the entire complex. It was completed on schedule, but not the payments, as these were delayed until 1810 and they had to resort to selling some silver jewellery in order to finalise the work. The stalls were apparently dismantled in the early 20th century and replaced by identical ones around 1940.

This piece of furniture is inspired by the Empire style or late phase of Neoclassicism. It has a U-shaped design with two levels and two rows of seats. The upper tier was reserved for dignitaries and canons, while the lower tier was for beneficiaries and cantors. The episcopal chair dominates in the middle of the upper tier, accompanied in its lower tier by the seat reserved for the prior of the chapter.


Ficha técnica

  • Author: Justo Antonio de Olaguibel (1805)
  • Date: 1805 et circa 1940
  • Technique: Assembled wood carving
  • Measurements:
  • Place: Saint Mary’s Cathedral (Vitoria-Gasteiz), Presbytery

Image gallery


TABAR ANITUA, Fernando. “Neoclásico”. En: GONZÁLEZ DE SAN ROMÁN, Miguel (Dir.). Vitoria-Gasteiz en el Arte, vol. II, Vitoria-Gasteiz: Gobierno Vasco, Diputación Foral de Álava, Ayuntamiento de Vitoria-Gasteiz, 1997, p. 512.

BARTOLOMÉ GARCÍA Fernando R. “Retrospectiva Histórico-artística del retablo mayor de la catedral de Santa María en Vitoria”. Akobe. Restauración y conservación de bienes culturales, N.º 8, 2007, pp. 8-17.