Title: The magnificent building
Keywords: representation, impression, structure
Andrés Ximénez describes in the book the palace and monastery complex “Real Monasterio de San Lorenzo del Escorial”. The structure was built on the initiative of King Philip II. of Spain and includes a monastery, the royal palace, a school, a library and a church. The book is written in Latin, so the exact content is difficult to understand. Individual illustrations in the book partly show elements of the construction, views as well as the floor plan.
The building discussed in the book, which was built between 1563 and 1548, is of great importance and has an important representative role. It is a royal residence and therefore should radiate a power and order. That is why I am mainly concerned with the concept of representation, impression and structure.
A palace is a magnificent building. It should represent the power of the king. The citizen should get an impression of the power and dominance of the king of Spain. The building should produce a high architectural quality. However, when looking at the palace, one notices that the facades were not richly decorated. Rather the opposite can be observed. Distracting, decorative elements were deliberately avoided. Rather, the focus is on a clear structure. This clear structure is also evident in the floor plan added to the book by Andrés Ximénez. The floor plan has the form of a grid. Seen from the outside, this floor plan can already be surmised. As an observer, one perceives a rectangular building with 4 corner towers and a dome located in the center of the building. The windows are arranged very regularly. This clear pattern is further evident in the sequence of rooms and the rectangular courtyard with garden. The whole complex follows this strict grid structure.
In the center of the complex is the monastery church. There is an eight-sided cupola building, a well-known element of Renaissance architecture of high importance. Numerous kings are buried in this part of the building.
The impression one must have as a viewer when looking at the building must be tremendous. The building has a length of more than 200 meters and a width of about 160 meters, making it one of the largest Renaissance buildings in the world.
The fact that Andrés Ximénez has described this magnificent building in detail in his book only shows what a tremendous impression the building must have had and still has on the citizens. The illustrations in the book show again and again the clear structure in the ground plan as well as the representative role, which the building claims.