Juan Bautista de Toledo

By Cara Campbell


Born in Madrid, Spain around the early 16th century, (his exact date of birth is unknown), Juan Bautista de Toledo was an architect that did most of his work in Spain. Not much is known about his early life and/or his lifestyle. Before he worked in Spain, he spent time in Italy observing and educating himself on the Italian Renaissance architecture. He brought the ideas from Italy to Spain, and built Italian-inspired buildings. He also worked on many alterations, expansions, and renovations of various buildings, one being the Alcázar in Madrid. Additionally, he is said to have helped in the construction of St. Peter's Basilica, and the most famous piece of architecture he is associated with is El Escorial in Spain. His main patron was King Philip II, but he also renovated a monastery for Joanna of Austria.

El Escorial

El Escorial was a royal palace that Juan Bautista de Toledo designed and supervised the construction of. His first plans were created in 1561, and construction started a couple of years later. It is located in Spain, northwest of Madrid, and is the most important building in Spain. It is so important because King Philip II had it built to honor Charles V, the previous king and first king of Spain, and it was also the most important architectural work King Philip II initiated. Additionally, it was built to express and resemble Spanish architecture, although Toledo was Italian trained. El Escorial is a huge building consisting of a mausoleum for Charles V, a church, a monastery, and a palace for King Philip II's court.

It is most closely linked to secularism because it was built to honor a person instead of a god. Although it included a church and a monastery, those were not the building's main purpose.

I found this piece interesting because it honored Charles V. I had not known that he was the first king, and assumed that Spain had had kings long before the 16th century.



"Juan Bautista de Toledo." International Dictionary of Architects and Architecture. Gale,

1993. Biography in Context. Web. 18 Nov. 2013.


Back View of El Escorial. N.d. Photograph. Madrid. Artstor. Web. 19 Nov. 2013.

El Escorial. N.d. San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain. Artstor. Web. 19 Nov. 2013.

Front View of El Escorial. N.d. Photograph. Madrid. Artstor. Web. 19 Nov. 2013.

Juan de Toledo . N.d. Museo del Prado. Wikipedia. Web. 18 Nov. 2013.

St. Peter's Basilica. N.d. Photograph. Vatican City. Artstor. Web. 19 Nov. 2013.