The Royal Monastery of St. Jerome is a Hieronymite monastery in Granada. Architecturally, it is in the Renaissance style. The church, famous for its architecture, was the first in the world consecrated to the Immaculate Conception of Mary.
The monastery was founded by the Catholic Monarchs Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon in Santa Fe outside the city of Granada, during the siege of the latter city, the last stage of the Reconquista. The construction of the current buildings in Granada properly began in 1504, and the monastery relocated at that time. The principal architect and sculptor was Diego de Siloé; others involved as architects or sculptors included Jacopo Torni (from Florence), Juan de Aragón, Juan Bautista Vázquez the Younger (Vázquez el Mozo), Pedro de Orea, and Pablo de Rojas, the last three associated with the Granadan school of sculpture.
The Hieronymites are an Augustinian order. The monastery church follows the usual plan for churches of this order, a Latin Cross with an elevated choir at the foot and the altar behind a wide staircase. The mannerist altarpiece of the main chapel is considered the point of departure of Andalusian sculpture as such; it is mainly the work of Pablo de Rojas. The richly decorated Renaissance interior features coffering, scalloping and sculptures, and is a late work of Renaissance humanism. The iconographic program highlights the military and the heroic grandeur of the Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba, known as the Gran Capitán ('Great Captain'), who is buried in the crossing with his wife, Doña Maria de Manrique.
As of 1513, the church was under construction under the leadership of Jacopo Torni 1513. Upon his death in 1526, the task devolved to Diego de Siloé. The main chapel was completed in 1522 and the bodies of the Great Captain and his wife were moved from the Casa Grande of the Convent of Saint Francis.
Although occupied again today by the same order of monks as at the time of its founding, the monastery has undergone many vicissitudes, including invasion by the French in the Napoleonic era during the Peninsular War. The Hieronymites were expelled and the monastery eventually became a near-ruin. The State undertook a restoration of the building in 1916–1920, hiring the architect Fernando Wihelmi for the job. The slender tower of the church had been demolished by the French, who used its stones to build the bridge known as the Puente Verde, which crosses the River Genil, linking the Paseo de la Bomba to the Avenida de Cervantes. Only in the 1980s was the tower re-erected; the project was completed in 1989.
The monastery has two cloisters, each built around a garden. The older of the two has more genuinely Renaissance decoration: seven arcosolia in the style of chapels, richly adorned in classical style, configure a funerary space that was originally intended to receive the Great Captain's remains into the monastery. The second cloister, now the enclosure of the monastery's community of monks, was the residence of the Empress Isabella of Portugal on her wedding voyage after her marriage to Charles I of Spain (Holy Roman Emperor Charles V).
The gateway that separates the grounds of the monastery from the Calle Rector López Argueta is, indeed, original to the monastery, but had disappeared in the 19th century and was only returned to its position in the 1960s after being found abandoned in a courtyard of in the Vega de Granada. The sculpture of the Virgin of Sorrows on the gate is not original.References:
Royal Palace of Naples was one of the four residences near Naples used by the Bourbon Kings during their rule of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies (1734-1860): the others were the palaces of Caserta, Capodimonte overlooking Naples, and the third Portici, on the slopes of Vesuvius.
Construction on the present building was begun in the 17th century by the architect Domenico Fontana. Intended to house the King Philip III of Spain on a visit never fulfilled to this part of his kingdom, instead it initially housed the Viceroy Fernando Ruiz de Castro, count of Lemos. By 1616, the facade had been completed, and by 1620, the interior was frescoed by Battistello Caracciolo, Giovanni Balducci, and Belisario Corenzio. The decoration of the Royal Chapel of Assumption was not completed until 1644 by Antonio Picchiatti.
In 1734, with the arrival of Charles III of Spain to Naples, the palace became the royal residence of the Bourbons. On the occasion of his marriage to Maria Amalia of Saxony in 1738, Francesco De Mura and Domenico Antonio Vaccaro helped remodel the interior. Further modernization took place under Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies. In 1768, on the occasion of his marriage to Maria Carolina of Austria, under the direction of Ferdinando Fuga, the great hall was rebuilt and the court theater added. During the second half of the 18th century, a 'new wing' was added, which in 1927 became the Vittorio Emanuele III National Library. By the 18th century, the royal residence was moved to Reggia of Caserta, as that inland town was more defensible from naval assault, as well as more distant from the often-rebellious populace of Naples.
During the Napoleonic occupation the palace was enriched by Joachim Murat and his wife, Caroline Bonaparte, with Neoclassic decorations and furnishings. However, a fire in 1837 damaged many rooms, and required restoration from 1838 to 1858 under the direction of Gaetano Genovese. Further additions of a Party Wing and a Belvedere were made in this period. At the corner of the palace with San Carlo Theatre, a new facade was created that obscured the viceroyal palace of Pedro de Toledo.
In 1922, it was decided to transfer here the contents of the National Library. The transfer of library collections was made by 1925.
The library suffered from bombing during World War II and the subsequent military occupation of the building caused serious damage. Today, the palace and adjacent grounds house the famous Teatro San Carlo, the smaller Teatrino di Corte (recently restored), the Biblioteca Nazionale Vittorio Emanuele III, a museum, and offices, including those of the regional tourist board.