Monastery and Patio de los Evangelistas (Court of the Evangelists):
This is a large cloister which formed the centre of monastery life. It was built by Juan Bautista de Toledo under Philip II, and is Renaissance in style, with Doric and Ionic columns. Juan de Herrera added fountains in the centre and there is a temple with figures of the four Evangelists by Monegro. The lower walk of the cloisters has some fine frescos of scenes from the New Testament by Tibaldi.
Salas Capitulares (chapter rooms):
These are where the monks used to meet. The Pompeian-style ceiling was painted by imber of artists including Granello, Coello and Urbino. The rooms contain biblical scenes by a number of artists including Navarrete, Ribera (the Nativity of Christ), Zuccaro, Carducho and Laca Giordano. The Escalera Principal (main staircase) is by Bergamasco, and on the vault is the Battle of St.Quentin by Gior dano. There are expressive portraits of the architects Juan Bautista de foledo, Juan de Herrera and Fray Antonio de Villacastin, and of the kings from Charles I to Charles II.
One of the largest rooms houses the library, it has frescos by Peregrino, Bartolomeo Carducci, Tibaldi and Granello, and portraits include ing ‘Philip II’ by Pantoja de la Cruz, Charles II’ by Carreño, and ‘Herrera’ and “Pater Sigüenza’ (the first librarian) by
Coello. The simple lines of the wooden bookshelves are by Herrera. There are valuable collections of 10-11C manuscripts, such as ‘Songs of Alfonso X, the Wise, missals which belonged to Charles V and his wife Isabella, Philip II, Philip III and a very old manuscript of the Bible in Hebrew. There are also a number of old Moorish manuscripts.
Palacio Real (Royal Palace of El Escorial):
This palace (you will note that near Madrid, and besides the Royal palace in Madrid) the kings built other palaces, including this one at El Escorial, but also La Granja and Aranjuez. This palace was commissioned by the Bourbons Charles III and IV towards the end of the 18C. It opens with the highly decorated rococo Bourbon Room’, with fine tapestries and paintings by artists such as Francisco and Ramón Bayeu, Maella, Castillo, Velázquez and Goya (in case you may not have visited el Prado and if you enjoy your visit to El Escorial you will for sure decide to add the Prado Museum to your list). The staircase by Villanueva is especially worthy of attention. The Hall of Battles has fine frescos of battles by Granello and Fabricio Castello, e.g. the Battle of Pavia, the Siege of St.Quentin and the naval battle of Lepanto in 1571. A steeply angled staircase leads up to the Palilip II, which is furnished with as and has paintings by Titian and DAA he Throne Room has various paintings and relics.
The museum of El Escorial
The museum is housed in Philip II’s summer rooms and, since 1963, has contained a large collection of paintings. Works from the Flemish and German schools include paintings by Roger van der Weyden, Patinir, Hieronymus Bosch, Darer and David; the Italians include Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese, Bassano and Reni; and the Spanish artists include Velánquez, Ribera, Valdés Leal, Mazo, Carrefio and El Greco.
Casita del Principe, El Escorial (Prince’s Pavilion):
This is a small, two-store-yed shaped building situated in the middle of the park. It was built by Villanueva in classical style in 1772 by order of Charles III for his son and heir Charles IV. The ceilings are painted by Duque, Gómez, Gerroni, Maella, Lopez and others, and the interior contains some 19 rooms with paintings by Caravaggio, Luca Giordano, Ribera and Domenichino, and panels by Altdorfer, Dürer and Goya. There is an interesting Buen Retiro porcelain collection.
Silla of Philip II: The Chair
This chair,some 3 km. away from the palace, is carved out of a cliff and was the vantage point from which the king supervised the building.