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Escorial (ĕskôrˈēəl, Span. āskōrēälˈ) [key] or Escurial ĕskyŏrˈēəl, monastery and palace, in New Castile, central Spain, near Madrid. One of the finest edifices in Europe, it was built (1563–84) as the monastery of San Lorenzo del Escorial by Philip II to commemorate the Spanish victory over the French at Saint-Quentin (1557). The somber and massive pile of blue-grey granite buildings, including monastery, church, royal palace, college, library, and royal Spanish tomb, form a quadrangle with towers rising from the corners. The Escorial was begun by the architect Juan Bautista de Toledo and finished by his pupil Juan de Herrera; it was decorated by Claudio Coello, Luca Giordano, and other noted artists. The Escorial has an art collection that includes paintings by Velázquez, Ribera, El Greco, and Tintoretto.

See study by H. Kamen (2010).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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