It has been said that San Juan de los Reyes is the first monument of Toledo that does not take the slightest sign of Arab or Moorish art, wanting to defend why his style belongs to the great Westerner current invaded Castile in midcentury XV. If this view has been advocated to highlight the innovation that the Gothic-Flemish art means not only to Toledo but for all Spanish culture at the time of the Catholic Kings, it is no less true that the intersection of art Gothic-Flemish with Islamic and medieval tradition in Spain will make San Juan de los Reyes a very peculiar monument. Indeed, the European forms, due to its insertion into appropriately nuanced mudéjares- indigenous forms – make him get the most representative work of a new and original art, art that will be called Hispano-Flemish, also known by Elizabethan art.

Two major historical currents, political and religious hue will serve for the foundation of San Juan de los Reyes. Isabella of Castile who was ordered to build this monument and memorial votive church at a time of victory on March 1, 1476 in the fields of Toro (Zamora), defeating the armies of Ferdinand of Aragon to the opposing faction favoring Juanas henchmen Beltraneja, alleged daughter of Henry IV, supported by the Castilian claims to the throne of Alfonso V, king of Portugal. It was this victory that Isabel opened the doors of his glorious kingdom and wanted to leave Toledo historical memory, while sacred place where to bury his remains and those of her husband. This motif would condition the whole architecture of the building, but later circumstances would discourage such initial efforts. The devotion of the Transtamare home to the Apostle St. John the Evangelist (John was called parents and grandparents) found in Isabel another reason to devote the saint of his personal devotion, as was coherent in the coat of arms with the haloed eagle disciple of Christ.

Resolved war of succession to the throne of Castile, a new ground would interfere, this time for the dedication of the monastery to the memory of St. Francis of Assisi and residence of his immortal in Toledo.

Construction of the monastery began around 1477, appearing as lead architect Juan Guas (1433-1496). In 1484 he was appointed surveyor of the works of the Toledo Cathedral, combining his activity between Segovia and self-San Juan de los Reyes. Next in importance Simon of Cologne (1450-1511), called the death of John Guas “to inform and traces for termination of San Juan de los Reyes.” Among the major sculptors and decorators include Anton and Enrique Egas Cueman children. The work was carried out in several stages: church-dome (1486), decorated cruise (1490), building low Cloister (1495) and final building of the monastery, concluding to the 1525 to 1526 (thanks to the interest you paid Carlos V after the death of Queen Elizabeth, her maternal grandmother).

Forpurposes of the War of Independence (1808) and the subsequent secularization and secularization (1836), both the monastery and the church and cloisters were unfortunately damaged in dilapidated part, so in 1883 the restoration work began to by architect Arturo Melida. The Academy of Fine Arts and later, after the Civil War, the Directorate General of Devastated Regions, got their termination, with its latest driver Moreno Torres. The monument to the Franciscan Order was delivered in 1954 and the church was opened for worship in 1967.

Fr Eduardo Bustamante, OFM