Tuesday, May 6, 2014

An Exploration of El Escorial

El Escorial, http://www.el-escorial.com/El-Escorial-Architecture.html

The Escorial is located in San Lorenzo de El Escorial, near Madrid. Commissioned by King Philip II, the complex houses a burial place for Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, a Hieronymite monastery, and a palace.  Construction of El Escorial began in 1563 and ended in 1584.

Architect Juan Bautista de Toledo "designed the ground plan on a gridiron scheme, recalling the grill on which San Lorenzo, the patron of the building, was martyred" (http://www.el-escorial.com/). Juan de Herrera began work on the project after de Toledo's death. The complex is uniquely Spanish, although it has Moorish and Italian influences (http://www.el-escorial.com/).

One magnificent feature of the complex is the library. The "collection consists of more than 40,000 volumes, located in a great hall fifty-four meters in length, nine meters wide and ten meters tall with marble floors and beautifully carved wood shelves" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/El_Escorial#Art_Gallery). The vast library contains numerous illuminated manuscripts, including the Ottonian Golden Gospels of Henry III (pictures and links below).

El Escorial Library, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/El_Escorial#Art_Gallery

Folio 3 from the Ottonian Golden Gospels of Henry III, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Heinrich_III_ und_Agnes_Speyer.jpg

Link to more information on  the Ottonian Golden Gospels of Henry III: http://en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/Golden_Gospels_of_Henry_III. 

The fact that the Spanish King had such a vast collection of significant writings points to the wealth and power that he had at his disposal. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vgKy1jMFDpY is a link to a virtual tour of the Escorial Palace, in which this wealth and power are made even more evident.

Summary of Helpful Links:

http://en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/Golden_Gospels_of_Henry_III


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