Libro de los Reyes de Felipe II

Libro de los Reyes de Felipe II – Edilan – Museo Nacional del Prado (Madrid, Spain)

Spain — 1594

The Spanish monarchs and outstanding personalities of national history: the impressive portraits from the Royal Hall of Alcázar gathered in a magnificent codex for King Philip II

  1. The Sala Real of the Alcázar of Segovia was decorated with a splendid image cycle of the kings of Spain

  2. This manuscript dated 1594 records the decoration of this great hall and assembles all 52 portraits

  3. Monarchs are depicted with their regalia in addition to some other significant figures like El Cid (ca. 1043–1099)

Libro de los Reyes de Felipe II

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  1. Description
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Description
Libro de los Reyes de Felipe II

The Sala Real of the Alcázar of Segovia was decorated for a longtime with a magnificent image cycle depicting the kings of Spain. At the end of his rule, it was the desire of King Philip II that this decoration in the King’s Hall be updated and expanded. His court painter Hernando de Ávila was entrusted with this task, and as a preview of his visions, de Ávila made a book with the planned depictions: 52 kings and queens of Spain, from its origins to the 16th century.

Libro de los Reyes de Felipe II

Philip II (1527–1598), King of Spain, commissioned his court painter Hernando de Ávila (1538–1595) with a chronicle of the Spanish monarchy up to his century. The decoration of Segovia’s Sala Real, the King’s Hall, from the time of Alfonso X was redesigned in 1591. The impressive manuscript, which accompanies the project in the Alcázar of Segovia, documents this now-lost decoration and is stored today in the Museo Nacional in Madrid.

A Royal Genealogy

Hernando de Ávila made a manuscript together with the scribe and historian Esteban de Garibay, who had a measurable impact on the work, which is known as the Libro de los Reyes de Felipe II. Dated to the year 1594, it assembles 52 Spanish kings and queens on 64 pages measuring 33 x 22 cm. The Book of Kings is reminiscent of a genealogical list and as such contains a family tree.

The Spanish Monarchs in Portrait

The respective rulers are primarily depicted with their regalia, e.g. with sword and globe, crown and ermine lined cloak. 52 kings and queens from Asturia, León and Castile, and Spain are presented from Don Pelayo – founder of the Kingdom of Asturia – to Juana la Loca. Additionally, four additional historically important people from Spain are found here in the series: Fernán González, Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar – known as El Cid, Ramón de Borgoña and Enrique de Lorena. They are juxtaposed by their respective coat-of-arms and a short text with an account of their life: The splendid watercolors are additionally accented with gold and silver and are presented as an outstanding testimonial to Spanish Renaissance painting!

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Libro de Retratos de los Reyes de España
El Libro de Retratos de los Reyes de Alcázar de Segovia
El Libro de retratos, letrevos e insignias reales de los Reyes de Oviedo, León y Castilla
Buch der Könige von Philipp II.
Size / Format
64 pages / 33.7 × 22.7 cm
Origin
Spain
Date
1594
Language
Illustrations
Portraits and coats of arms of 52 kings and queens
Patron
Philip II, King of Spain (1527–1598)
Artist / School

Available facsimile editions:
Detail Picture

Libro de los Reyes de Felipe II

Fernán González

The first autonomous count of Castile is depicted holding a triple-towered castle, the heraldic symbol of what would eventually become the Kingdom of Castile. He is bearded and looks down at this castle as though pondering the future of the realm that he has founded. This colorful, legendary 10th century warrior is dressed in a stylish suit of full plate armor and carries a Bec de corbin – a polearm with a war hammer attached to the end that was popular in the Late Middle Ages.

Libro de los Reyes de Felipe II – Edilan – Museo Nacional del Prado (Madrid, Spain)
Single Page

Libro de los Reyes de Felipe II

King Alfonso I of Aragon

Called Alfonso the Battler because he was one of the greatest warriors of the early–12th century, King Alfonso I is best remembered for the conquest of Zaragoza, which doubled the size of his kingdom. Through his marriage to Queen Urraca I of León, he also became King of León, Castile, and Toledo, proclaiming himself “Emperor of All Spain”.

This is an imagined portrait and shows Alfonso as an idealized warrior king with a sword in one hand and a globe in the other. He is richly dressed in brocade: his green tunic has a tendril pattern and is lined with cloth of gold while the blue cloak fastened around his shoulder is lined with bright red. There are many fine details in the portrait from the King’s facial features to the shadow he casts.

Libro de los Reyes de Felipe II – Edilan – Museo Nacional del Prado (Madrid, Spain)
Facsimile Editions

#1 El Libro de Retratos de los Reyes del Alcázar de Segovia

Edilan – Madrid, 1985

Publisher: Edilan – Madrid, 1985
Binding: Leather
Commentary: 1 volume
1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size) Reproduction of the entire original document as detailed as possible (scope, format, colors). The binding may not correspond to the original or current document binding.
Facsimile Copy Available!
Price Category: €€€
(3,000€ - 7,000€)
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