CASTILHO, João de
(b. ca. 1490, Santander, d. 1552)
Monastery of the Knights of Christ, Tomar
The fortress-like central church of the Templars in the monastery of the Knights of Christ, dating from the second half of the 12th century, was given an annex at the beginning of the 16th century. The architects were João de Castilho (c. 1470-1552) and Diogo de Arruda (1490-1531). The annex was to serve as a high choir and chapter house. It is not the architecture of the two-story interior that is of interest, being vaulted with the usual net vaulting. In its subtle combination of elaborate decoration it is, like Belém and Batalha, a major achievement of the Manueline style.
The opulent decoration of the exterior contrasts with the spare but impressive design of the interior. The whole repertoire of Manueline decorative forms is displayed on the portal, the window framing, the massive, repeatedly stepped buttresses, and the frieze.
The picture shows the main doorway of the church.