Casitas del Principe y del Infante, Juan de Villanueva

Casitas del Principe y del Infante, Juan de Villanueva
Casitas del Principe y del Infante, Juan de Villanueva

The Little Houses of the Prince and the Infante, both located in the Royal Site of the Monastery of El Escorial,are the work of one of the most outstanding architects of the Spanish neoclassical style, Juan de Villanueva. In these constructions, the artist expresses his classicist conception of architecture at the service of the Spanish monarchy, creating two recreational places for young members of the monarchy so that they could have their own space.


Juan de Villanueva (1739 – 1811) is the best representative of neoclassicist architecture in Spain. Born into a family of artists, his father and his younger brother were also architects, Juan de Villanueva trained at the San Fernando School of Fine Arts in Madrid. Thanks to his excellent attitudes, he obtained a full board scholarship to spend five years in Rome, where the artist was able to carefully study the classicist forms and soak up the rationalist style that he so admired. Upon his return to Spain, Villanueva established himself as one of the great architects, carrying out important commissions for the monarchs of the time such as Carlos III or Carlos IV.

Almost at the same time, throughout the 1970s, the artist erected the Casita del Príncipe or Casita de Abajo and the Casita del Infante or Casita de Arriba. Both works are two pleasure palaces where the members of the familycould withdraw to get away from the formalities and rectitudes that governed the Escorial Monastery.

The Prince's House was built for the future monarch Charles IV, when he was still a prince. Originally it was a rectangular block building with two floors, to which two new wings were later added in the 1980s. As for the interior of the palace, we must point out that although it was originally decorated according to the taste of the time, the building was razed to the ground by Napoleonic troops and later redecorated by the monarch Ferdinand VII. Around the construction, the multiple gardens stand out, both on the front and rear façades, which are connected through a Tuscan-style colonnaded portico.


For its part known as Casita del Infante, is a small palace very close to the previous one destined for the Infante Gabriel de Borbón, one of the sons of Carlos III. It is said that the infant was a great fan of music and that his father had the mansion built so that his son could enjoy his hobby, the months in which the family retired to the Escorial, without disrupt monastic life. This explains why the construction has excellent acoustics that allow you to listen to the music inside from the palace gardens, for this the architect designed a second floor of the building completely destined for the celebration of concerts with small openings and windows that open to theExterior. The Italian-style gardens with terraces and descending embankments which start from an arcaded gallery that opens the palace to the outside.

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