CASTILHO, João de
(b. ca. 1490, Santander, d. 1552)

Biography

Portuguese architect of Spanish origin, active in Portugal. He is considered one of the premier architects in Portuguese history, responsible for several important buildings.

He began working on the Cathedral in Bruges, before advancing to the Cathedral of Seville in his early career. From Seville he was summoned in 1509 by the Archbishop of Braga to work on the chapel of the Sé Cathedral.

Following this period, he worked on the parochial Church of São João Baptista in Vila do Conde, where he lived for a while. (The city was thriving at the time economically due to imports-exports from its port).

From Vila do Conde, João de Castilho began on working in the Convent of Christ in Tomar. There he executed the celebrated gate and portico to the church, responding to the beautiful Manueline window produced by Diogo de Arruda. His efforts were rewarded, when he was given the task of managing the public works at the Convent, which he maintained until his death.

In 1517, he succeeded Diogo Boitac as director of the public works at the Monastery of the Jerónimos, where he designed the extraordinary southern portico (along with Gil Vicente, author of the Custódia of Belém).

He worked also on the Batalha Monastery and the Alcobaça Monastery.