Palacio del buen retiro madrid

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Palacio del buen retiro madrid


It is the most characteristic building that survives today of the former Royal Site and Palace of Buen Retiro, built for Philip IV by his favourite the Count-Duke of Olivares from 1630, based on what was once the retirement room of HM in the Monastery of San Jeronimo, from whose original use it took its name. Respecting the existing buildings, which retained their function as the King’s private quarters, the expansion began with the addition of a courtyard and several outbuildings, a formal garden with a pond, the germ of the Retiro Park, and a menagerie and aviary, an element that then determined the popular name of henhouse for the whole complex.

El pardo royal palacebuilding in spain

However, the canvases that decorated it constituted one of the best pictorial collections ever assembled in a royal palace. Philip IV was an enthusiastic collector of canvases, both belonging to old masters and to painters of the Golden Age, with Velázquez (his court painter) and Zurbarán at the head, without forgetting the Flemish Rubens, who visited him in Madrid and for whose painting he would develop a true passion.

It all began on October 17, 1629, when Isabella of Bourbon gave Philip IV an heir. From that moment on, the Count-Duke began preparations for the ceremony in which the Infante would swear allegiance to the Cortes of Castile. It was to be held in the monastery of San Jerónimo, at the end of the city opposite the Alcázar.

There the Habsburgs had some rooms, known as the Cuarto Real, which the valide had enlarged for the occasion and equipped with a garden, a cage for wild beasts and an aviary. Olivares was a lover of birds, and that is why his enemies said that this work was nothing more than a huge henhouse…

Paseo del prado

El Palacio del Buen Retiro de Madrid fue un gran complejo palaciego diseñado por el arquitecto Alonso Carbonell (c. 1590-1660) y construido por orden de Felipe IV de España como residencia secundaria y lugar de recreo (de ahí su nombre). Se construyó en lo que entonces era el límite oriental de la ciudad de Madrid. Hoy, lo poco que queda de sus edificios y jardines forma el Parque del Retiro.

Felipe IV solía alojarse ocasionalmente en unas habitaciones anexas al monasterio de San Jerónimo el Real (cerca de la actual ubicación del Museo del Prado, que recibió el nombre de Cuartel Real. La razón de estas frecuentes visitas podría ser que el llamado Rey Planeta disfrutaba especialmente paseando por la finca anexa, propiedad del Conde-Duque de Olivares, su favorito real y ministro.

Olivares, con la intención de complacer al monarca, proyectó en 1629 e inició en 1630 la construcción de una serie de oficinas y pabellones como ampliación de los Cuarteles Reales, que acabaron formando el Palacio del Buen Retiro. La construcción del palacio no fue algo planificado desde el principio, sino que se produjo a lo largo de siete años (hasta 1640, durante los cuales se construyeron sucesivamente otras ampliaciones). Una vez terminado, el palacio constaba de más de 20 edificios y dos grandes plazas abiertas que se utilizaban para los entretenimientos de la corte y otros actos diversos. El complejo palaciego estaba rodeado de una gran extensión de jardines y estanques, lo que le daba un carácter lúdico.

Paseo del prado

Philip IV was in the habit of staying on occasion in some rooms annexed to the convent of San Jerónimo «el Real» (near the current Prado Museum) that received the name of Cuarto Real. The reason for this fact can be found in the fact that the so-called Planet King found it especially pleasurable to stroll around the adjoining estate, property of his favourite, the Count-Duke of Olivares.

The new king of the House of Bourbon, Philip V, arrived in Madrid in 1701 and settled in the old and solemn Royal Alcazar. However, he soon preferred to live in the Buen Retiro Palace, which with its less medieval appearance and its proximity to the gardens surely reminded him of the palaces of Versailles and Marly, where he had spent his childhood.

However, the palace was far from having the classicist French baroque architecture that the king liked. It was then decided to seek the advice of the famed Robert de Cotte, chief architect of Versailles after Mansart’s death. De Cotte planned to cover the old palace with new French facades, Philip V, for his part, considered that it would be better to build a building ex novo.