Escorial or Escurial, monastery and palace, in New Castile, central Spain, near Madrid. One of the finest edifices in Europe, it was built (1563-84) as the monastery of San Lorenzo del Escorial by Philip II to commemorate the Spanish victory over the French at Saint-Quentin (1557). The somber and massive pile of granite buildings, including monastery, church, royal palace, mausoleum, college, and library, form a quadrangle with towers rising from the corners. The Escorial was begun by the architect Juan Bautista de Toledo and finished by his pupil Juan de Herrera; it was decorated by Claudio Coello, Luca Giordano, and other noted artists. The Escorial has an art collection that includes paintings by Velázquez, Ribera, El Greco, and Tintoretto.