Palace of Charles V

Pedro and Luis Machuca

South front of the square palace

The elder Machuca (Pedro), who had been trained in Italy by Michelangelo, died in 1550, when his son took over the building of the palace. It was left unfinished, however, and was never a place of residence for the Emperor Carlos the Fifth who commissioned it. It is situated along side the earlier Muslim Nasrid palaces of the Alhambra; perhaps the symbolism of a palace in the heart of a Muslim stronghold was irresistible to the Christian warrior Emperor. Certainly, a dramatic clash of styles is obvious. The Moorish palaces are decorated on the interiors with intricate designs whereas this Renaissance palace, inspired by classical architecture, presents a bold facade with the use of simple and clear classical elements.

Rigid symmetries and massive rustication

Like many Renaissance palaces, this has a clear horizontal divisions. Bays are repeated across the front with a strong focus on the central bay. Like the Farnese Palace in Rome, the piano nobile has massive windows (aedicules) with alternating pediments.

The west facade

Although the building is square, the central entrance bays are different. The reliefs here represent the Emperor (battle scenes) and Empress.

The circular courtyard set inside a square

The loggia on the first floor features the Doric order while the superimposed loggia has the Ionic order. See Bramante's Tempietto for a similar use of classical elements (although of course the circular loggia is reversed.

The first floor loggia


The first floor loggia


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© 2005 Mary Ann Sullivan. I have photographed (on site), scanned, and manipulated all the images on these pages. Please feel free to use them for personal or educational purposes. They are not available for commercial purposes.

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