Genoa 1450? - Valladolid 1506
He was born to a family dedicated to textile crafts with commercial interests. From an early age the sea appealed to him, as he relates in his biography, with the comment that he was a "lover of the sea". His initial contacts with the sea were from 1473, when he began to take active participation in Genoese trade, sailing in the Mediterranean and when he took part in several naval campaigns, according to different theories on him.
In 1476 Columbus arrived in Portugal where he lived until 1485. During this time he acquired considerable marine knowledge and took part in expeditions to England and Scotland, as well as to northwest Africa. His marriage in 1480 to Felipa Monis de Perestrello brought him significantly influential relationships and access to relevant documentation.
His objective to embark on a new route to the Indies was denied by the panel of wise men of the Portuguese Court, as a result of which Columbus decided to put forward his plan to the Catholic Monarchs. Christopher Columbus maintained a strong relationship with the Kingdom of Granada and took part in the siege of the town of Baza in 1489, as is depicted in an anonymous ballad: «Over the Christian heights a squadron appears / and falls on the unfaithful / like an overwhelming whirlwind. / Columbus is at their forefront / on a chestnut horse from Cordoba... / Columbus and his knights / crush everything before them...». With his collaboration, Columbus gained merits for his proposal from the kings. After various interviews with the Monarchs, both in Alcala de Henares and in the Alhambra, he finally succeeded in achieving the consent of Queen Isabel to finance his project in 1492, after the Conquest of Granada. Thanks to this he embarked on his first voyage and sighted land on 12th October, 1492.
He made three further voyages and explored the Lesser Antilles, Puerto Rico and Jamaica on his second trip; Venezuela on the third trip, and on the final one he sailed along the coasts of Central America. Christopher Columbus believed up until his death that he had reached Asia. He died without realizing that he had discovered the new continent of America.
Emperor Charles V
Ghent 1500 - Yuste (Caceres) 1558
Emperor Charles V
Charles of Austria or of Hapsburg was of Spanish descent through his mother, Joanna I of Castile, and through his maternal grandparents, the Catholic Monarchs: Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile; he had ancestry from Burgundy through his father, Philip I, The Beautiful, and through his paternal grandmother, Maria of Burgundy; his Germanic origin was due to his paternal grandfather, the Emperor Maximilian I.
In 1516 he was designated as Charles I, King of Spain, and he became the first king to unite the crowns of Castile, Aragon and Navarre. From 1520 until his death in 1558 he ruled as Charles V, the "emperor" who governed the destiny of the Holy Roman Germanic Empire.
After his marriage in Seville to Isabel of Portugal in 1526, he arrived in Granada, where he spent six months together with his Court, installed in the Alhambra in the Emperor's Rooms and the Golden Hall, as they are now called. These chambers had been renovated by the Catholic Monarchs. His aim to convert Granada in an imperial city led to significant changes in the urban pattern and the beginning of the construction of new representative buildings. This included the Charles V Palace, as well as the adaptation to more classical tastes in buildings that had been set up by the Catholic Monarchs, with particular reference to the Cathedral.
Charles V was assisted by the Count of Tendilla, Luis Hurtado de Mendoza and by the architect Pedro Machuca in the design of an extensive building and propaganda programme in the Alhambra. The Palace of Charles V must be highlighted as the masterpiece of the Renaissance in Spain, together with the adaptation of the Peinador de la Reina as a type of cabinet or studiolo, the Charles V Pillar and the Gate of the Pomegranates. The most outstanding architectural interventions in the city are in the Royal Chancery, the Cathedral and the Royal Chapel.
Toledo 1490 - Toledo 1550
Machuca was a painter and architect of the Italian school; he lived there until 1517, and this was decisive in the style of his work. His artistic work is related to the studio of Rafael, as we can appreciate in his style in The Virgin and the souls in Purgatory, and in paintings he did in the Vatican rooms. He was also linked to the name of Petro Spagnolo when he was working in Rome with Miguel Angel on the execution of ephemeral architecture.
He returned to Spain in 1520 and took up residence in Granada, where he carried out his most significant work. In 1521 he worked in conjunction with Jacopo Torni "El Florentino" in painting altarpieces for the Royal Chapel. However, the most emblematic masterpiece of Machuca is the Palace of Charles V in the Alhambra, his unique and famous architectural work. The fact that he was the squire of the Governor of the Alhambra at that time, Luis Hurtado de Mendoza, contributed to his assignment as master builder, and on his death that work was then continued by his son Luis Machuca. In fact the conclusion of the palace was not effected until the 20th century.
Pedro Machuca carried out other building projects within the Nasrid precincts, namely the Charles V Pillar and the Gate of the Pomegranates. Although he was more well-known for his work as an architect than as a painter, he accomplished extensive activity in the latter field, with Mannerist style religious paintings.
Pedro de Granada Venegas
Taha de Marchena, Almeria between 1432-1440 - Laujar de Andarax, Almeria 1506
Pedro de Granada Venegas
Prior to his conversion to Christianity he was named Cidi Hiaya el-Nayyar; he was a politician, an aristocrat and a professional soldier as well as being a key figure in the fall of the Nasrid Kingdom of Granada. He is the first of the influential Moorish family, the Granada Venegas, and in 1480 he inherited from his father Abul Celin Aben Abrahen Alnayar the post of the Mayor of Almeria and third lord of the towns of Campotejar and Jayena. After the Christian conquest of the Alhambra in 1492, the Catholic Monarchs granted a governor to the Generalife for its custody and promotion. As from1631, and after his marriage to Maria Rengifo, daughter of the first Governor of the Generalife, this post of governor became a permanent one for his family. This ceased after a long lawsuit that began in the 19th century, and the estate became State property in 1921.
Casatico (Mantua) 1478 - Toledo 1529
He was a politician and a humanist from a noble family who received a distinguished education and took active part in Italian politics of his time. He was under the protection of the Montefeltro, the Dukes of Urbino, and resided in the Duke's court where he was held in high esteem. He was appointed ambassador in Rome to the court of Pope Leon X, where he became a friend of Rafael Sanzio. In1520 he was ordained after the death of his wife, and was appointed Apostolic Nuncio in 1524, when he was transferred to Spain, where he was highly respected.
In 1526, on the occasion of Charles V's stay in Granada, many European diplomats met up in the city, and Baltasar Castiglione coincided with the ambassadors of England, Poland and Venice. The latter, Andrea Navaggero, a writer and politician, met his friend Juan Boscan in the gardens of the Generalife, and invited him to write «...in the Castilian language sonnets and other ballads used by the good writers of Italy...», an event that marked a turning point in Hispanic writing,
He is well-known in literary terms as the author of Il Cortegiano, written in 1528 in four parts, and dealing with the model of the Renaissance man. It was translated into Spanish by Juan Boscan at the request of Garcilaso de la Vega.