The Vélez Blanco castle is a Spanish castle situated in
It is one of a series of fortresses built at the beginning of the 16th
century by Pedro Fajardo y Chacón, first Marqués de los Vélez and Governor of the kingdom of
The fortress has an elongated ground-plan and is crowned on the north front
by a keep.
Vélez Blanco History
According to an inscription in the courtyard, the castle was built between
1506 and 1515 after Fajardo received the lordship of the town from Ferdinand II and Isabella,
took up residence there and was given the title of Marqués (1507) by Ferdinand, who was then
regent. The heraldry of the principal areas of the castle, including the coat of arms of his
second wife, Mencía de la Cueva, belongs to this period.
The fortified areas of the castle, particularly the defences and the Late
Gothic east gallery of the courtyard, are examples of late 15th-century Spanish art.
Attempts have been made to link this building with the chapel of the Vélez
family in Murcia Cathedral (completed in 1507), which is also Gothic. By
contrast, the three other galleries of the courtyard have columns, arches and windows with
Italian Renaissance detailing and sculpture.
The Velez Blanco Castle was one of the first
buildings in Spain to present this style, which reflected the Italianate education of the
Marqués de los Vérez (a disciple of the humanist Pietro Martire d’Anghiera), who is portrayed
in a frieze as accompanying the Emperor Titus on his triumphal entry into Rome.
All of these elements were carved in local marble, and each of the three
decorated galleries has a different composition. The gallery at the south entrance, beside the
staircase which leads up two flights, has two levels of arcading.
The castle itself has been implausibly attributed to Lorenzo Vázquez de
Segovia on the grounds that both La Calahorra Castle and Vélez Blanco Castle derive from models
in the Codex Escurialensis, but Vázquez de Segovia’s use of Italianate elements in La Calahorra
differs considerably from Velez Blanco.
At La Calahorra the detailing of the windows and the incorrect mouldings and
curves of the arches indicate the presence of Italian craftsmen working under a Spanish
architect unused to the contemporary forms of architecture in Rome.
Like La Calahorra Castle, though less perfectly, Vélez
Blanco Castle is a good example of the early application of Italian stylistic elements
in Spain at the beginning of the 16th century. They are subordinated here to Spanish structural
traditions without really transforming them, at the instance of a member of the Spanish
nobility with humanist and antiquarian interests.
Address: C/ Corredera, 38, 04830
Vélez-Blanco, Spain. Get help with directions using the map provided
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