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The Palace of El
Facts about the palace…
• The Escorial is located in San Lorenzo de El Escorial, near
Madrid, in central Spain.
• The building is the most important architectural monument of
the Spanish Renaissance.
• Construction of El Escorial began in 1563 and ended in 1584.
• The project was conceived by King Philip II, who wanted a building
to serve the multiple purposes of a burial place for his father, Holy
Roman emperor Charles V
• Two architects involved:
• Juan Bautista de Toledo
• Juan de Herrera.
• Other masters who painted works for the Escorial were:
• El Greco
• Luca Giordano
• Claudio Coello.
Decoration and Aesthetic
• The decoration of El Escorial was carefully coordinated
with the architecture to create a unified artistic effect.
• The statue of San Lorenzo on the main façade and the six
statues of Old Testament kings on the façade of the
basilica prepare the way for a splendid display of saints
and kings inside the basilica.
The plan of El Escorial
Statue of San Lorenzo
• Emperor Charles V left a final codicil(request) in his will
for the establishment of a religious foundation in which
he was to be buried beside his wife, Isabella of Portugal.
Charles V’s son, Philip II, undertook the task after his
return from Flanders in 1559 and appointed Juan
Bautista de Toledo as the royal architect.
• In 1560 a site was chosen in a farming area at the foot of
the Guadarrama Mountains, 2 km from the town of El
Escorial, and entrusted to the Hieronymite Order in the
• The new monastery, which received its foundation
charter in 1567, was named San Lorenzo el Real del
Escorial, after St Lawrence of Rome, a martyr of
supposed Hispanic origin, and was intended to serve as
the royal pantheon.