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Palace of Charles V

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Palace of Charles V
The Palace of Charles V, in Granada, Spain, is a Renacentist construction, located on the top of the hill of the Assabica, inside the Nasrid fortification of the Alhambra. It was commanded by Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, in order to establish his residence close to the Alhambra palaces. The Catholic Monarchs had already reformed some rooms after the conquest of the city in 1492, but Charles V intended to construct a stable residence befitting an emperor. The project was commanded to Pedro Machuca, an inscrutable figure whose biography and influences are not already clear. At his time, Spain was inmersed in Plateresque style, still with traces of Gothic origin. Machuca built a palace corresponding to the Mannerism, a still beginning style in Italy. Even if we accept the versions that place Machuca in the atelier of Michelangelo, at the time of the construction of the palace (1527) the Tuscan architect hadn't designed the majority of his architectural works.

The plan of the building is generated by a 63-meters-long square, with a circular patio in it. this structure, the main Mannerist characteristic of the palace, has no precedents in the Renaissance architecture, and places the building in the avant-garde of its time. The building has two floors: The lower is of a padded tuscan order. The upper floor is of ionic order, alternating pilasters and pedimented windows. both of the two main façades boast portals made of stone from the Sierra Elvira.

The circular patio has also two levels: the lower is formed by a doric colonnade made of conglomerate stone, with an orthodoxally classic entablature, formed by triglyphs and metopes. The upper floor is formed by a stylized ionic colonnade. Its entablature has no decoration. This organisation of the patio shows clearly a deep knowledge of the architecture of the Roman Empire, and it would be framed in the purest Renaissance but for its curve shape. This curve puzzles the espectator when coming from its main façades. The interior spaces and the staircases are also determined by the general idea of the square and the circle. This kind of aesthetical resorts will be developed in the following decades under the classification of Mannerism.


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