BOITAC, Diogo
(b. ca. 1460, d. ca. 1528, Batalha)

Biography

Portuguese architect. In fact the nationality of Diogo Boitac (Boytac or Boitaca) is unknown. He was an influential architect and engineer of some of the most important Portuguese buildings, working in Portugal in the first half of the 16th century.

His family name occurs for the first time in 1498 in a document of king Manuel I, who granted him an annual allowance for his work at the Monastery of Jesus of Setúbal. His signature occurs on a document of 1514. His name is mentioned in 12 documents, kept in the Monastery of Batalha and written between 1515 and 1521. While working at the Monastery of Batalha, he married in 1512 Isabel Henriques, daughter of Mateus Fernandes, architect at the same monastery. He settled in Batalha in 1516, where he died in 1528, He was buried in the Monastery of Batalha, close to the tomb of Mateus Fernandes.

In 1490 King John II commissioned Diogo Boitac to build the church of the Monastery of Jesus in Setúbal. This church is the first construction associated with the Manueline style. His next assignment was at the planning of the Hieronymites Monastery in Belém, near Lisbon. This would become his best known work, one of the most important buildings in Portugal and certainly the most successful achievement of the Manueline style. He worked on this project between 1502 and 1516, with the columns and the outlying walls finished when he was called on other projects. He was succeeded by his collaborator João de Castilho, who gradually moved from the Manueline style to the Plataresque style.

While working on the Hieronymites Monastery, Diogo Boitac, as the royal architect, was simultaneously put at work on several other projects. However, it is difficult to determine his specific role in all these projects. He worked in Coimbra (from 1507), in Sintra (1507), in Batalha (from 1509), and in Morocco (1514).