The Escorial; Art and Power in the Renaissance

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  • Format: Trade Book
  • Copyright: 2010-07-13
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
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Few buildings have played so central a role in Spain's history as the monastery-palace of San Lorenzo del Escorial. Colossal in size and imposingeven forbiddingin appearance, the Escorial has invited and defied description for four centuries. Part palace, part monastery, part mausoleum, it has also served as a shrine, a school, a repository for thousands of relics, and one of the greatest libraries of its time. Constructed over the course of more than twenty years, the Escorial challenged and provoked, becoming for some a symbol of superstition and oppression, for others a "wonder of the world." Now a World Heritage Site, it is visited by thousands of travelers every year. In this intriguing study, Henry Kamen looks at the circumstances that brought the young Philip II to commission construction of the Escorial in 1563. He explores Philip's motivation, the influence of his travels, the meaning of the design, and its place in Spanish culture. It represents a highly engaging narrative of the high point of Spanish imperial dominance, in which contemporary preoccupations with art, religion, and power are analyzed in the context of this remarkable building.

Author Biography

Henry Kamen has been a professor at universities in the United Kingdom, the United States and Spain, and was until recently a professor of the Higher Council for Scientific Research, Barcelona. Among his many books are Philip of Spain (1997), The Spanish Inquisition (1999), The Duke of Alba (2004) and Imagining Spain (2008), all published by Yale University Press.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrationsp. viii
Chronologyp. x
Prefacep. xii
Genesisp. 1
The Battlep. 29
Foundationp. 46
The Magic Temple of Wisdomp. 86
The Prisoner of the Escorialp. 117
A Brace of Eagles: Images of Power and Monarchyp. 142
The Hall of Battlesp. 176
Powerhouse of Faithp. 200
Inventing the Escorialp. 226
Abbreviationsp. 247
Notesp. 248
Select Bibliographyp. 282
Indexp. 286
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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