HERRERA, Juan de
(b. 1530, Mobellán, d. 1597, Madrid)

Exterior view

Basilica, Monasterio de San Lorenzo, El Escorial

Herrera's architectural apprenticeship probably began in 1563, when the King appointed him assistant to his architect Juan Bautista de Toledo. It was in this capacity that Herrera became involved with the plans for the monastery of San Lorenzo el Real del Escorial (1563-84), although he could have done very little actual designing before de Toledo's death in 1567. While Juan Bautista de Toledo should be credited with the general plan and overall conception of the complex, by 1570 Herrera had emerged as an independent designer, a favourite of the King and the architect in charge of designing the Escorial. He redesigned the main staircase as an open-well imperial stair in 1573 and prepared the working drawings of the basilica in 1574-75, using the earlier project of Juan Bautista de Toledo and that drawn up in 1562 by Francesco Paciotto. The façades of the basilica and the library on the Patio de los Reyes are considered to be Herrera's work.

The foundations of the basilica church were laid (1569-74). Two models were constructed in 1570 by Diego de Alcántara (1538-1587) and in 1573-74 by Martín de Aciaga. The first stone of the church was laid in 1574; it was completed in 1584 and consecrated on 30 August 1586.

The Basilica, with its superimposed orders and temple front, reflects the influence of Italian Renaissance architecture, particularly Palladio.

The photo shows the façade of the Basilica.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.