The work of Sabatini in Madrid: The Royal Palace

Although the influence of Sabatini in Madrid’s architecture during the 18th century is quite obvious when visiting Madrid, what is also true is that his involvement in some projects, although outstanding, was sometimes only partial. This was the case of the Royal Botanical Gardens (as seen in a previous article) in which he did the initial layout and partial enclosure of the gardens. This was also the case of the Royal Palace in which he intervened during the last phase of the building’s construction.

 

The construction of the Royal Palace in Madrid began in 1738 under the reign of Philip V, the first Bourbon king. It concluded in 1764 during the monarchy of Charles III, the king who brought Sabatini to Spain. As I mentioned previously, Sabatini’s intervention on the palace was in its latter phases. The initial phases were supervised by another Italian architect, Filippo Juvara. Upon his death, his student, Juan Bautista Sachetti (also Italian) took over. Ventura Rodriguez, another famous architect of the time, also participated in its construction. When Sabatini took over, he was placed in charge of not only finishing off the construction of the palace, but also undertook the task of renovating, expanding and designing the building’s interior. His most famous legacy within the palace was probably the main staircase which he designed in 1760. During the early years of Charles IV reign, it was moved from its original position to where it stands nowadays. Sabatini also built the royal stables which were adjacent to the Royal Palace. When the 2nd Spanish Republic came into power in the 1930’s they were expropriated by the government from the royal household and converted into gardens which are now known as the Gardens of Sabatini.

 

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