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View of the Monastery of El Escorial
Agüero, Benito Manuel de
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Agüero, Benito Manuel de

Madrid (Spain), 1626 - Madrid (Spain), 1668

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View of the Monastery of El Escorial

Third quarter of the XVII century. Oil on canvas. On display elsewhere

Between the vegetation of La Herrería and a sky that silhouettes the mountains, the southern façade of the Royal Seat of San Lorenzo, perhaps the most balanced of the entire edifice, stands out in the light. The painter emphasizes the rows of windows to mark the wall´s horizontality, establishing a contrast with the vertical towers on the corners. The church´s central nave and transept are also visible, as is the dome where they intersect.

This monastery of Hieronymite friars stood at what were then the outskirts of El Escorial, in the midst of the Sierra del Guadarrama. Philip II ordered it built after a long period of preparation, and its Founding Charter, which dates from 1567, lists the reasons for its construction: to give thanks to God for his favors to the Spanish crown and to provide the Royal Family and its successors with a pantheon for their mortal remains. This grandiose building also commemorates the Spanish army´s triumph at the Battle of Saint Quentin, which occurred on Saint Laurence´s feast day in 1557.

The king appointed Juan Bautista de Toledo to direct construction of this monument which, in the Italian sense, is dominated by square and rectangular volumes both horizontally and vertically. Work continued after Bautista de Toledo´s death and was completed under the supervision of Juan de Herrera. The first stone was laid on April 23, 1563—for the very façade depicted here—and the last on September 13, 1584. The decoration and construction of the pantheon mentioned above required further work, however, and were not completed until 1654.

The La Herrería estate, which offered Agüero the panoramic view depicted here, was a rich forest and hunting ground and was soon taken over by the Monastery. Documents reveal the king´s interest in it as early as 1561, when it still belonged to Pedro Gómez de Porras. This canvas, as well as its companion (P00892), are from the Royal Collection. Their highly elongated format suggests they were intended to hang over doorways. When they arrived at the Museo del Prado, they were attributed to Mazo, but they are undoubtedly two of the thirty-three landscape paintings listed as originals by Agüero in the palace inventories.

Urrea, Jesús, Pintores del reinado de Felipe IV, Madrid, Museo del Prado-Caja de Ahorros de Navarra, 1994, p.86

Technical data

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Inventory number
Agüero, Benito Manuel de
View of the Monastery of El Escorial
Third quarter of the XVII century
Height: 55 cm.; Width: 196 cm.
Royal Collection (Aranjuez Palace, Madrid, the Prince's quarters-dining room, 1794, unnumbered; Aranjuez, third room in the Prince's quarters, 1818, unnumbered)

Bibliography +

Espinós, Adela; Orihuela, Mercedes y Royo Villanova, Mercedes, ''El Prado disperso''. Cuadros depositados en Madrid. IV. Patrimonio Nacional. Monasterio de San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Boletín del Museo del Prado, II, 1981, pp. 51.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado. Inventario general de pinturas (I) La Colección Real, Museo del Prado, Espasa Calpe, Madrid, 1990.

Urrea, Jesús, Pintores del reinado de Felipe IV, Museo del Prado-Caja de Ahorros de Navarra, Madrid, 1994, pp. 86.

Arias Montano y Su Tiempo, Editora Regional de Extremadura, Mérida, 1998.

El mundo de Carlos V : de la España medieval al siglo de Oro, Sociedad Estatal para la Conmemoración de los Cent, Madrid, 2000, pp. 103.

Kagan, R. Simpson, M.S, Dos vistas de jardines del siglo XVII procedentes del Palacio Real de Aranjuez, Boletín del Museo del Prado., XXXVI, 2020, pp. 61-74.

Other inventories +

Inv. Testamentaría Carlos III, Aranjuez, 1794. Núm. s.n..
Quarto del Principe N. S. [...] Pieza de Comer [...] [446] Cinco Quadros de 7 pies y dos dedos de largo dos pies de alto. Varias Vistas y Sitios Rs. dos de ellas del Escorial y el Campillo. Mazo ... 3000

Inv. Fernando VII, Aranjuez, 1814-1818. Núm. s. n..
QUARTO DEL PRINCIPE [...] Tercera pieza [...] {21021} 5 de 2 varas y media ancho 2 tercias alto el 1º pais con vistas del Campillo del Escorial los demas bosques Juan del Mazo

Inv. Real Museo, 1857. Núm. 236.
Mazo. / 236. Vista del monasterio de san Lorenzo del Escorial. / Alto 1 pie, 11 pulg, 6 lin; ancho 7 pies, 1 pulg.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1872-1907. Núm. 793.
793.-Vista del monasterio del Escorial. / Alto 0,55. Ancho 1,98.-Lienzo.-(Compañero de los anteriores.) / Está tomada la vista á gran distancia, desde la parte baja de la campiña, y sirviendo de fondo á la gran mole de piedra las montañas á cuya falda está erigida. / Véase la nota al núm. 791.



Exhibitions +

Carlos V entre dos mundos culturales. De las tres culturas de la España medieval al Siglo de Oro
México D.F.
03.11.2000 - 28.02.2001

Arias Montano y su tiempo
20.03.1998 - 17.05.1998

Pintores del reinado de Felipe IV
03.11.1995 - 03.12.1995

Pintores del reinado de Felipe IV
28.09.1995 - 29.10.1995

Pintores del reinado de Felipe IV
02.06.1995 - 02.07.1995

Pintores del reinado de Felipe IV
28.04.1995 - 28.05.1995

Pintores del reinado de Felipe IV
24.03.1995 - 23.04.1995

Pintores del reinado de Felipe IV
17.02.1995 - 19.03.1995

Pintores del reinado de Felipe IV
13.01.1995 - 12.02.1995

Pintores del reinado de Felipe IV
02.12.1994 - 08.01.1995

Pintores del reinado de Felipe IV
28.10.1994 - 27.11.1994

Pintores del reinado de Felipe IV
22.09.1994 - 23.10.1994

Location +

Aranjuez - Palacio Real de Aranjuez (Deposit)

Update date: 29-06-2021 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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