Libro de los Reyes de Felipe II

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

Spain β€” 1594

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

  1. The Sala Real of the AlcΓ‘zar 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

  1. Description
  2. Detail Picture
  3. Single Page
  4. Facsimile Editions (1)
Libro de los Reyes de Felipe II

The Sala Real of the AlcΓ‘zar 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 AlcΓ‘zar 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, LeΓ³n 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: FernΓ‘n GonzΓ‘lez, Rodrigo DΓ­az de Vivar – known as El Cid, RamΓ³n de BorgoΓ±a 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!


Alternative Titles
Libro de Retratos de los Reyes de EspaΓ±a
El Libro de Retratos de los Reyes de AlcΓ‘zar de Segovia
El Libro de retratos, letrevos e insignias reales de los Reyes de Oviedo, León y Castilla
Buch der KΓΆnige von Philipp II.
Size / Format
64 pages / 33.7 Γ— 22.7 cm
Portraits and coats of arms of 52 kings and queens
Philip II, King of Spain (1527–1598)
Artist / School

Available facsimile editions:
Detail Picture

Libro de los Reyes de Felipe II

FernΓ‘n GonzΓ‘lez

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 LeΓ³n, he also became King of LeΓ³n, Castile, and Toledo, proclaiming himself β€œEmperor 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 AlcΓ‘zar 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.
You might also be interested in:
Liber Chronicarum by Hartmann Schedel – SiloΓ©, arte y bibliofilia – Monasterio de Santa Maria de la Vid (Burgos, Spain)
Liber Chronicarum by Hartmann Schedel
Nuremberg (Germany) – 1493

The world-famous chronicle with its more than 1,800 beautiful cityscapes: the largest and perhaps most important project of early book printing with stunning woodcuts by Michael Wolgemut and Wilhelm Pleydenwurff

Experience More
Bayeux Tapestry – The Folio Society – MusΓ©e de la Tapisserie de Bayeux (Bayeux, France)
Bayeux Tapestry
United Kingdom – Ca. 1070–1079

One of the best known and most important works of art of the entire Middle Ages: a 68 meter long embroidery depicting the invasion of England in 1066 by William the Conqueror

Experience More
Blog articles worth reading
Filter selection