San Jerónimo el Real

Madrid, Spain

San Jerónimo el Real, which has undergone numerous remodelings and restorations over the centuries, is the remaining structure of the Hieronymite monastery that once stood beside the royal palace of Buen Retiro, of which a portion now serves as the Prado museum. Its proximity to the royal palace also underscores a connection to royalty, serving for centuries as the church used for the investiture of the Prince of Asturias.

The Hieronymus monastery had been built near the river Manzanares, during the reign of Henry IV of Castile in the neighborhood of the El Pardo palace. But suffering due to the marshiness of the site, during the reign of Isabella I, the Monastery of the Hieronymites was moved to a site next to an incipient royal palace. The new monastery was built in Isabelline Gothic style. The church was chosen for the investiture of the Princes of Asturias and future king Philip II on April 18, 1528.

King Philip II moved the Spanish court to Madrid in 1561, and had the retreat enlarged to become the Palacio del Buen Retiro. He established a royal bedroom against the presbytery, such that he could hear mass from his bedroom. The Palacio del Buen Retiro was largely destroyed in the Napoleonic French occupation of Madrid. In 1808 the monks were expelled from the monastery and French troops were quartered in the monastery, causing major damage to the building, and the church was almost left in ruins.

The first major restoration was performed during the reign of Isabel II of Spain, between 1848 and 1859, by the architect Narciso Pascual Colomer, in the Isabelline Gothic style, who added some new elements such as towers. The second restoration, 1879 to 1883, by Enrique María Repullés, created the building as a parish church. Only a few external features remain of its original structure. The exterior remodeling of the nineteenth century in a neo-Gothic style by Pontian Ponzano remains controversial.

The stairway that faces the street, was constructed in 1906 on the occasion of the wedding of King Alfonso XIII to provide more impressive access to the church. For many decades, the Baroque cloister, designed by Fray Lorenzo de San Nicolás, remained in disrepair. Finally, in 2007, an agreement between the church and the government led to the appropriation of the land for the cloister by the Prado Museum. The inner courtyard facade was dismantled, and then rebuilt as a cubic room, designed by Rafael Moneo in an expansion of the museum.

The church contains sculptures by Benlliure, Juan Pascual de Mena’s 18th-century Cristo de la Buena Muerte, and paintings by Vincenzo Carducci and José Méndez, neo-Gothic lamps and stained-glass windows.

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Address

Calle Moreto 4, Madrid, Spain
See all sites in Madrid

Details

Founded: 1503-1505
Category: Religious sites in Spain

More Information

en.wikipedia.org

Rating

4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

joby akkara (13 months ago)
Church placed beautiful location
Richard Miller (19 months ago)
Beautiful church and the church where my Mother and Father were married. My Mother grew up in the apartment building on the corner at the end of the street with The Royal Gardens across one street and El Prado across the other. Then, this beautiful House of God two blocks down the street. Me and my 3 siblings had a great upbringing spending many summer months at my grandmother's and walking the streets of Madrid by ourselves, mainly to rent row boats and pedal boats at the Parque del Retiro. Was happy to take my own family there and retrace the steps I took with my siblings decades earlier.
Federico Price (21 months ago)
Beautiful church, containing sculptures by Benlliure, the 18th-century Cristo de la Buena Muerte, and paintings by Carducci and Mendez. Lovely gothic features and delightful stained-glass windows, with acres of gold leaf. The church has Royal connections, chosen for the investiture of the Princes of Asturias and future Phillip on April 18, 1528, and more recently, the mass to celebrate the investiture of King Juan Carlos 1. Well worth a visit especially if you're anywhere near the Prado. Grand church in grand imposing style.
Marselle Delicata (2 years ago)
I literally bumped into this church while walking in central Madrid, ( well! You can't miss it ). I really don't mind the visit. Apart from the few minutes of peace and quiet I enjoyed, I could admire the stained glass, its cloister, the several works of art and so much more. I cannot leave out the architecture. Another gem in the beautiful city of Madrid. Really worth visiting.
J Rowe (2 years ago)
Breathtaking historic church better than some Cathedrals in Europe. Priceless masters on loans from El Prado (round the corner). Daily masses in chapel (12 & 8pm)
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