Iglesia de San Jerónimo el Real

The Prado before the Prado

The current parish church of San Jerónimo el Real and the adjoining cloister are the only remains of the monastery of Hieronymite monks, which is no longer in existence, and was erected on the sunny side of the Fuente Castellana stream in 1505. The temple, built in a late Gothic style, is formed of a single nave and transept, side chapels and high choir, all covered with ribbed vaults. It was completed with the extensive monastic outbuildings, among which the two cloisters stood out, and the Royal Room, erected on the wishes of Felipe II to serve as a place of retreat following the death of Isabel de Valois, his third wife. The convent and Royal Room were the hub on which the Palacio del Buen Retiro and its royal site were built under the auspices of the Count-Duke of Olivares, the favourite of Felipe IV.

Today, the appearance of the church of San Jerónimo is very different to that of its origin. It was restored in 1851 by the architect Narciso Pascual y Colomer, the mastermind behind the two towers that flank its chevet. Today, the current cloister, erected in 1671, forms part of the installations of the Prado Museum since the renovation undertaken in 2005 by the architect Rafael Moneo.

Iglesia de San Jerónimo el Real photograph, taken by Vicente Tofiño

© Vicente Tofiño