Image 1 of 1
The Royal Monastery of San Lorenzo del Escorial was begun in 1563 by Juan Bautista de Toledo, a Renaissance Spanish architect who had worked earlier in Italy, and was completed after his death in 1567 by Juan de Herrera, who finished the work in 1584. The massive walls of the interior, relieved only by Doric pilasters with no concession to decorative richness, produced a monument that was austere beyond anything the Italian Renaissance ever envisaged. On the exterior the gigantic scale of the monastery and the severe gray granite walls are forbidding. There Herrera established his fame and the Herreran style, which was to prevail in Spain for half a century. According to the desire of the king Philip II, most Spanish sovereigns, beginning with the emperor Charles V and Philip II himself, were buried at El Escorial.