Online Exhibition: Laura Fernandez-Gonzalez

Online Exhibition: Laura Fernandez-Gonzalez
Re-creating the ephemeral architecture:
from drafts to 3D

Online Exhibition: Laura Fernandez-Gonzalez
The triumphal arches erected on the entry of Philip II into Lisbon Reconstructed

Online Exhibition: Laura Fernandez-Gonzalez
Colour study: exploring possible colours on the Alemaes and Ribeira arches

Online Exhibition: Laura Fernandez-Gonzalez
Exploring Lisbon’s topography and housing on the entry of Philip II

Online Exhibition: Laura Fernandez-Gonzalez
The triumphal entry itinerary: Terreiro do Paço to Pezo

Online Exhibition: Laura Fernandez-Gonzalez
The triumphal entry itinerary: Pezo to the Se Cathedral

Online Exhibition: Laura Fernandez-Gonzalez
The triumphal entry itinerary:
Rua Nova

Online Exhibition: Laura Fernandez-Gonzalez
The triumphal entry itinerary: From Rua Nova to Armazem

Iberia Triumphant: the reconstruction of Lisbon on the triumphal entry of Philip II of Spain in 1581
.Exhibition abstract:

On the 29th of June of 1581, Philip II of Castile and I of Portugal was received in the city of Lisbon. The regal entry is one the most magnificent of its kind; the studied itinerary of the procession and the combination of religious events with popular celebrations resumes the dialogue between the two kingdoms; the ruler and the ruled, etc. Fifteen triumphal arches and other artefacts were erected, to celebrate the union of the most extensive colonial empires ever known. The academic community has paid very little attention to this entry. The current research analyses the events described in the chronicles and archival material spread in diverse repositories (El Escorial Library, Simancas Archive and Arquivo de Torre do Tombo in Portugal, etc). The study also compares the different sources of information about the fête from writers ‘appointed’ by the crown, i.e. Guerreiro or Velazques, and ‘independent’ versions, i.e. Roiz Soares, against the foreigner sovereign. Ultimately, the study reconstructs this multimedia event and the ephemeral structures described in the sources.

The analysis of the descriptions and the consequent reconstruction of the ephemeral architecture displayed in the Lisbon entry of 1581 portrayed many iconographical, mythological and religious themes in the form of statues, paintings etc. The architectural and urban reconstruction is producing an increasing knowledge of the entry in relation to the city and the new kingdom. The Portuguese campaign was one of Philip II’s major achievements; it gave him even further hegemony over Europe. During the years prior to the victory, achieved by a brief incursion commanded by the Duke of Alba, the paraphernalia of the empire inspired in the classical tradition reached the utmost grandiloquence in the Castilian court. The entry into Lisbon represents visually how the idea of ‘Empire’ affected the way the Castilian monarch saw himself as ‘emperor’ of an ‘imperial kingdom’. In the Lisbon entry, Philip II embodied the universal monarch, recasting the Erasmian tradition of the ‘Institutio Principis Christiani’ (1516) where the Universal monarchy is led by a Christian prince embracing both classical tradition and the Catholic faith. In conclusion, the study seeks to shed new light onto the symbolism behind the art display and the interaction of elements involved in the entry: power, rendition, privileges, nobility, popular traditions and a new order imposed by a newly-crowned king.

This is the first time that a scholar has compiled the findings from the different sources and ‘reconstructed’ the ephemeral architecture of the festival; the triumphal arches erected for the occasion have been depicted according to the descriptions. The ephemeral architecture has then been located on a scaled plan of the city in which topography and housing have been re-created as accurately as possible. The sources used for this re-creation are festival booklets and archival material as well as the topographic plan of the city dated 1647. Sources for the residential and religious buildings include diverse views of the city.

The exhibition is divided into five principal sections: a section devoted to the evolution of the arches’ depictions, from sketches to 3D models; this is considered an important element for the understanding of the architectural object and therefore the festival. The second section displays the 3D models and arches scaled, plans and elevations, including the known colours they had, and when unknown a neutral grey colour has been used. The third section explores diverse possibilities in the arches’ colouring: colours mixed with shiny gold and silver to give an idea of the brightly colourful magnificence of the ephemeral display in which nothing was understated. The next section explores the city: topography and housing mostly.

Finally the videos through the itinerary, divided into the four most important sections. The dimensions of the arches and their scales have been very carefully studied, with very positive results when placed on the scaled plan of the city.

.Music credits: Tomas de Vitoria: Ave María-Gaude Maria Virgo-Laudate Dominum De Caelis and Trahe Me, Post by Jordi Savall thanks to the generosity of Jordi Savall and Aliavox (

The view of the city with the triumphal arches is still a mere approximation to what the triumphal entry was, i.e. the display presented has no statues, paintings, people, king, decorations on the balconies, music, etc. Nevertheless, the project has produced much information that without this drawing process would have been impossible to achieve. In future, with further funding an enhanced product can be developed.

.This introductory text is a mere summary of the investigation to contextualise the following videos and image sequences. For further information please follow future publications by the author or contact here: Laura Fernandez-Gonzalez: laura.fernandezgonzalez (at)


The copyright of all images, text and videos belongs to Laura Fernandez-Gonzalez. 
Do not use any of them without prior consent.

 (c) Laura Fernandez-Gonzalez, 2010


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