GONZÁLEZ VELÁZQUEZ, Isidro
(b. 1764, Madrid, d. 1840, Madrid)
Casa del Labrador, Aranjuez
The Bourbons expanded the extensive gardens and palace complex in Aranjuez on numerous occasions, adapting them to the needs of the court. In the eastern part of the park Charles IV had a pleasure palace built at a place where, in 1792, he had come across a modest farmhouse while out hunting. The building, the Casa del Labrador, is among the most beautiful works of Neoclassicism in Spain. In the hands of Isidro González Velázquez, who transformed designs prepared by Juan de Villanueva, the resulting structure was anything but a simple hut, becoming instead a Roman villa built to the most exacting standards.
The main transverse section is formed from a plinth, main floor and attic, and is adjoined by similarly designed wings, which enclose a small courtyard. The contrast of light-coloured stonework and red brick animates the façades, but the real charm of the building is provided by its mock antique décor and antiquarian furnishings. Niches for sculptures are built into the façades, while busts of Roman emperors decorate the balustrades and fences.