Monterrey Palace

Monterrey Palace
Monterrey Palace

It often happens throughout the history of art and especially architecture, that the designs of some buildings are as important as the building itself, even though it has never actually been finished. In this context, we can point out that many architectural constructions have marked a before and after in the world of architecture, even when originally they should be even more spectacular than they really are. In architecture there are many examples of works that were not finished according to the initial project, most of the time this happened due to insufficient financing that delayed the construction too much or a change in the artistic parameters of the moment that ended up leading to the work. in other directions.

palace monterrey salamanca

The work we are analyzing here is one of those cases in which, despite being an architecture that was not carried out according to the initial project, its design was so powerful that it ended up becoming one of the architectural references for later times. In this way we can point out how the Monterrey Palace located in the historic center of the city of Salamanca is a strong influence for the historicist architecture that will take place throughout the nineteenth century in Spain.

The work was commissioned in the first half of the 16th century –work began around 1539- by the III count of Monterrey Don Alfonso deZúñiga and Acevedo Fonseca,and his wife María Pimentel. The palace was intended to be a display of the power of the House of Monterrey and so it was designed. Under the military style, with high towers that flanked the corners of the palace, Monterrey was, without a doubt, the most imposing civil building of its time.

In the midst of the Spanish Renaissance, the work maintains the Plateresque aesthetic in its construction whose design was carried out by the well-known architect Rodrigo Gil de Hontañón and executed by Pedro Ibarra, clearly the son of the also architect Juan de Álava.

The building consists of a marked horizontal character with three overlapping floors divided into bands by marked fascia lines. On the lower floors the open openings in the walls are rectangular, however, on the top floor the openings open as if they were a loggia with semicircular windows between columns with highly carved capitals.

However, what really draws attention in the Monterrey Palace in Salamanca is the cresting that crowns the complex and runs along it like a balcony, it is openworked with elements decorative elements that allude to animal, plant and human forms. Despite being an imposing building, the Monterrey design was much larger, with no less than eight courtyards and towers flanking the corners of the palace, a design that was never completed.

Currently, the Palace belongs to the Casa de los Alba and the building was declared an Asset of Cultural Interest in 1929.

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