The Art and Architecture of El Escorial Descriptive Essay by Jay Writtings LLC

The Art and Architecture of El Escorial
A description of El Escorial, a monastery complex in Madrid, Spain.
# 120227 | 3,098 words | 3 sources | MLA | 2010 | US

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This paper gives an in-depth description and history of El Escorial, an extensive sixteenth century monastery complex in Madrid, Spain. The paper describes the role and motivation of King Philip II of Spain in undertaking such a project. These include the religious ideals that the exterior of the building and interior art works represented. Next, the paper analyzes a document in which Philip ordered the complex to be built. Also examined is the role of music Philip intended El Escorial to embody. The paper ends with a long discussion of the architecture of the churches in the complex, and the art work within those churches. It also touches upon the beautiful manuscripts that were held in El Escorial's library. The paper concludes by stating that El Escorial is a monument of the power of Philip II alongside the Catholic Church in Spain during the Sixteenth century. T

The Document and Reason Behind the Building
The Musical Nature of El Escorial
The Necessary Complexity of the Churches of El Escorial
The Art of El Escorial

From the Paper:

"The overall project and establishment would eventually comprise a monastery, basilica, dynastic mausoleum, library, seminary, college, and a royal palace. By 1586 elaborate preparations had been undertaken for the dedication of a newly completed basilica, intended by Philip II to be the actual and symbolic centerpiece of a minutely planned Counter-Reformation strategy. This strategy as will be exhibited was exercised through extensive consideration of the superficial appearance and statement made by the architecture itself, and also of the activities within the complex. The liturgical music was also considered by Philip II, as it was done within the constructs that espoused a similar ideology, as will be discussed. It is unquestioned that Philip had considerable political and symbolic importance in all aspects of the architecture of El Escorial and its liturgy, assuring Philip II's status as 'the leading international music patron of his age' as well as an accomplished philosophical architectural director (Noone 221)"

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Wilkinson, Catherine. "Planning a Style for the Escorial: An Architectural Treatise for Philip of Spain." The Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians. 44.1, pp. 37-47. 1985.
  • Mulcahy, Rosemarie. "The Escorial Exhibitions. Madrid." The Burlington Magazine. 129.1006, pp. 51-52. 1987.
  • Noone, Michael. "A Census of Monk Musicians at El Escorial during the Reigns of Philip II and Philip III." Early Music. 22.2, pp. 221-236. 1994.

Cite this Descriptive Essay:

APA Format

The Art and Architecture of El Escorial (2010, June 07) Retrieved March 29, 2023, from

MLA Format

"The Art and Architecture of El Escorial" 07 June 2010. Web. 29 March. 2023. <>