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Royal Library, El Escorial (1584)*

Artist/Designer: Juan de Herrera

Project Location: Madrid, Spain

Figure 1: Royal Library. Source: Carlos Garcia de la Noceda , El Escorial Library Madrid. 2010, Digital Image. ( Source | Accessed : March 14, 2014 )
Figure 2: Royal Library. Source: Marten Kuilman, Library of the Escorial (1592). 2014, Digital Image. ( Source | Accessed : March 14, 2014 )
Figure 3: Royal Library. Source: Carlos Vermeersch Santana , Library of El Escorial. 2012, Digital Image. ( Source | Accessed : March 14, 2014 )
Figure 4: Royal Library. Source: denhamgreen, Library in El Escorial. 2004, Digital Image. ( Source | Accessed : March 14, 2014 )
Figure 5: Royal Library. Source: David, Library, El Escorial. 2006, Digital Image. ( Source | Accessed : March 14, 2014 )
Figure 6: Royal Library. Source: John Keogh, The Library at El Escorial. 2010, Digital Image. ( Source | Accessed : March 14, 2014 )


Primary Material(s):
Stone, Wood


Related Website(s):

Significant Date(s):
16th Century

Additional Information:
Started with a donation of Phillip II's personal collection of documents, the Royal Library is part of El Escorial, which is the historical palace of the Spanish crown. Like the rest of El Escorial, the library was planned and designed by Juan de Herrera. The ceiling vault, by Pellegrino Tibaldi, is decorated with frescoes depicting allegorical themes from a program attributed to Arias Montano and Herrera of the seven liberal arts: Rhetoric Dialectic, Music, Grammar, Arithmetic, Geometry and Astronomy. These disciplines are personified and painted di sotto in sù and surrounded by giants. The lunettes houses representations of individuals who had cultivated these disciplines from antiquity to the contemporary age. During the reign of Phillip II the shelves where filled with ancient manuscripts in Greek, Latin, Arabic and Hebrew.

Publications/Texts in Print-

Checa, Carmen Garcia-Frias and Jose Luis Sancho. Real Monasterio de San Lorenzo de El Escorial. Madrid: Patrimonio Nacional, 1999.
Griffin, Julia Ortiz and William D. Griffin. Spain and Portugal: A Reference Guide from the Renaissance to the Present. New York: Facts on File, 2007.
Purtuono, Maria. "The Study of Nature, Philosophy, and the Royal Library of San Lorenzo of the Escorial." Renaissance Quarterly 63, No.4 (2010):1106-1150.
Sancho, Jose Luis and Laura Suffield. The Royal Monastery of San Lorenzo de el Escorial. Madrid: Patrimonio Nacional, 2002.

Additional Information

Building Address:
Av Juan de Borbón y Battemberg, s/n, 28200 San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Madrid, Spain

Supporting Designers
Juan Bautista de Toledo (c. 1515 – 19 May 1567) began construction

Significant Dates:
Construction began 1563
Completed in 1584

Spain, Spanish Renaissance, Renaissance, Libraries, Marble, Wood

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