Located in San Lorenzo de El Escorial, the monastery is situated right at the foothills of beautiful Sierra de Guadarrama.
It was founded by King Philip II, and was built between 1563 and 1584. The purposes of the monastery were a burial place for Holy Roman emperor Charles V, a Hieronymite monastery, and a palace.
Philip II commissioned Juan Bautista de Toleda, once a student of Michelangelo, to build this architecture. After Toledo's death, Juan de Herrera overtook the project.
The monastery, a quadrangle building complex, consists of the church, the monastery, royal palace and college, and the library.
The interior design reflects a homogenous façade. It was decorated by many notable artists from the 16th and 17th century, such as Pellegrino Tibaldi, Federico Zuccaro, El Greco, Luca Giordana, and Claudio Coello. Philip's II wish and order was to keep the decoration aligned to the architecture, creating a unified artistic effect.
All in all, the interior design followed the sober guideline of classicism.
Illustration 2 El Escorial library by bob | flickr
Next to the beautiful architecture, the monastery has a huge library, which is considered as one of the best libraries from the renaissance era. It collects up to 45.000 books and 5.000 manuscripts.
Illustration 3 El Escorial library by Jose Maria Cuellar | flickr
With the following rulers, a few minor changes and modification came, but the monastery's united appearance is still preserved to this day,
Nowadays, El Escorial is a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, and one of Spain's landmarks.
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