The arrival of the Court in Madrid in 1561 did not engender enthusiasm in the high Castilian nobility, who looked at the unexpectedly new conditions of a discrete village with certain contempt.

Although the Crown or the Town Council elaborated plans of orderliness and embellishment of the city, the nobility refused to invest the major expenditures required for the construction of new and dignified palaces.

Main facade of the Bakery House in Mayor Square, iluminated at night.

Without a doubt there should have been, and we know of the existences of palaces or suburban estates in the outskirts, like the House of Seven Chimneys or the house of Antonio Pérez, on the road of Atocha.

The church established itself soon in this Court, and different from the aristocratic remiss, it supported the new capital, perhaps desiring that the Court not return to Toledo. From the first years of its position in the Court, the church established numerous religious orders in Madrid.

It is possible, that the appearance of the architectural era believed to be in the reign of Phillip II is given more to the disappearance of almost everything, and not necessarily advancement in architecture.

Nevertheless, it is also sure that during the first decades of the Court, the architectural and building investments of the religious declaration, were humble and somewhat temporary accommodations. Some writers in the 17th century have alluded to this.

The radical change came when the Court returned from Valladolid in 1606, and it was confirmed that this would be the definitive capital. It was then, and in the ensuing years, that many palaces and the earlier convents initiated ambitious works of renovation and reconstruction, in addition to producing new religious orders.

Along with palatial architecture, which is very scarce today, as well as religious, which follow some forms, expressions, and decorative repertoire that we can define as post-escorialism, mannerism, and classicism.

The temples adapted the shape of the Latin cross, with floors liberally inspired by the Jesuit Gesu, even though they also used the elliptical floor, as in San Antonio of the Portuguese's or in the College of Doña María de Aragón, - today The Senate.

The architecture of the first third of the 17th century has reached us in a very paltry manner and some churches of this era were reformed or finished later, varying or altering the original style.

But this period, of monumental architecture, timidly dynamic, of undeveloped surfaces and expressive sobriety we can truly see in the temple of the Incarnation, El Carmen, Las Alarconas, or Las Carboneras.

The only great palace of that moment that was conserved in its magnificence is that of the Duque de Uceda, today Capitanía General, designed by Francisco de Mora, even though the work was directed by Alonso Turrillo, from 1608 to 1613.

A transcendent accomplishment was the temple of the convent of The Incarnation, a royal institution, which was built between 1611 and 1616. Its facade, designed by Gómez de Mora, would be the example most repeated, but not the only one, between the convents in the entire central region and part of Castile during the 17th century and a good part of the 18th century.

The Incarnation's organization had a total success, and consisted of a great vertical rectangle, limited by giant pilasters and crowned by a pediment.

Below, is included an efficient portico or porch, upon which mounted the Hispanic Choir at the foot, illuminated by the large windows which open on the facade. Its decoration is restricted to the Coat of Arms of the founders, patrons or of the order, and a sculpture or relief in stone, hinting at the devotion or the name of the temple.

Without citing examples of the region, we will say that in Madrid, of the temples that remain today, they adopted this type of the facade, with or without a portico, such as Las Comendadoras, Las Alarconas, Los Jesuitas, San Cayetano, or San José.

The late mannerism that was practiced at the start of the 17th century revolutionized, and even though being the most frequent the floor of the Latin Cross, with one nave, a transept and dome, they varied, they energized, and the embellishment, architectural expression, and the area was more complex.

¡A magnificent display of early baroque sensibility appears in the decoration of the wall and the double rhythmic rising and furrows of San Isidro, of the Jesuits, in Toledo Street, the work of Francisco Bautista, that started the construction in 1630 and was finished in the decade of 1660.

This baroquism, tempered, subdued, and elegant was developed during the reign of Philip IV, and took form in the works of two outstanding figures.

Francisco Bautista, the designer in addition to San Isidro, a extremely beautiful chapel, that fused the bright composition and structure of the Madrid Baroque and with a decoration and fantasy in solutions and ideas of advanced baroque sensibility, is the Chapel of Cristo de los Dolores, of the V.O.T. from 1660 to 1664.

The other Fray Lorenzo de San Nicolás, writer, theologian, and skilled worker, architect of San Placido, a magnificent composite of architecture-decoration-pictorical-sculpture-alterpiece in the decade of 1650 to 1660, and Las Calatravas, from 1660 to 1670, of rich and imaginative decoration and superb cupola, a short church almost centralized.

At the end of the century, the architects maintained the same structures, although they reduced the forms and introduced variations. The ornamental repertoire, now baroque, is rich and opulent, with fruits and products of Castile, which are dazzling over totally plain backgrounds.

The Segovia Bridge
To the left, the Shrine of the Virgen del Puerto and, at the botton, The Royal Palace.

The brothers, José and Manuel del Olmo are prefect representatives of this last third of the 17th century, with two churches famous for their beauty. The convent temples of Las Gongoras, from 1663 to 1675, and Las Comendadoras de Santiago, from 1667 to 1697, with a handsome and open floor of the Greek cross, illuminated by a complete cupola.

Of the civil architecture during this third of the century, there are very interesting examples revealing as to how Madrid Baroque influenced the city. One is the façade of the Casa de la Panadería in the Plaza Mayor by Tomás Román and Jiménez Donoso of 1672. Others are the Puerta del Buen Retiro, of 1692, and the patio of the Colegio Imperial on Toledo Street of 1673, these last two works by Melchor de Bueras.

However, the pattern most widespread, repeated and representative of 17th century native Madrid architecture was constituted by the urban and public palaces, whose characteristics blend in such as homogenous form, created a typical and unmistakable image of the city.

The best known is "Palace of the Austria's," whose model admits variant, always be within a design that resulted in efficiency, highly representative, monumental, solemn and perfectly adapted to the urban use.

The starting point of this type of construction is undoubtedly the "Palacio de Uceda" from 1608 to 1613, the pattern being the Palacio Ducal, in Lerma (Burgos), of 1604, both the works of Francisco de Mora.

These are horizontal rectangles, with two systematic floors, mannerist fronts, slate roofs and attics, and cubical towers with pointed tops.

His nephew, Gómez de Mora, developed this design along the lines of these initial buildings, introducing succulent variants and a dynamic baroque, in addition to very intellectual arrangements, in the works such as the new facade of the Fortress, from 1611-19, the City Hall, from 1621-48, and the Court Prison, from 1629-35, now the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

This model created in Madrid a widespread soundness that was repeated in a multitude of houses and palaces of the nobility, in the Casa de la Panadería, and in the facades of the Palacio del Buen Retiro, from 1630-40, work of Alonso Carbonell.

His creation was an ideal and original adaptation for a city, suddenly transformed into the Court, that completely lacked an archetypical model, and was immediately recognized as the image of Madrid, with is own and personal architecture of the Madrid of the Austria's.

The pictures shows:

- Main facade of the Convent of The Incarnation.

- The Madrid City Council building, in Villa Square, is a typical Madrilenian Baroque building. Since its completion, this has been the City Hall. Its architecture, untouched except for the balcony overlooking Mayor Street, was constructed by architect Juan de Villanueva for the Queen and her attendants, to watch the Corpus Christi procession.

- The Segovia and Toledo Bridges are perhaps the oldest monuments in Madrid, for their rich architecture contrasts with the small size of the river Manzanares. This bridge was commissioned by king Philip II who, having established Madrid as the capital of Spain, wished to endow the city with fine monuments. In 1532, the royal architect Juan de Herrera designed a solid bridge of austere line, being the Renaissance rhythm of its arches and the typical Herrera balls on the parapets the only decoration.

- House of Seven Chimneys

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