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Palace-monastery northwest of Madrid, built in 1563–67 for Philip II. It is the burial place of Spanish sovereigns and one of the largest religious establishments in the world. It was conceived by Juan Bautista de Toledo (1530–1597) and completed by Juan de Herrera (c. 1530–1597), who is considered responsible for its architectural style. Its plan is a giant rectangle, with a domed church at the center flanked by the palace, monastery, college, library, cloisters, and courts. The massive granite walls, relieved only by a series of unadorned windows and Doric pilasters, with no concession to decorative richness, produced an austerity beyond anything the Italian Renaissance ever envisaged.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on El Escorial, visit Britannica.com.
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