The Decoration of the Royal Basilica of El Escorial examines one of the most important creative endeavours of late sixteenth-century Spain, and indeed, Europe as a whole. Conceived as a mausoleum for the Spanish Habsburgs, designed as both monastery and palace, the Escorial was closely supervised by King Philip II, who wished it to exemplify the spirit of the Counter-Reformation through observance of new decrees relating to church ritual and religious imagery. The basilica itself was the spiritual centre of this royal foundation and the body of art works commissioned by Philip II for it was unique in volume, scale and coherence. On the basis of the extensive documentation related to this unusual structure, Rosemarie Mulcahy provides the first thorough reconstruction of the king's grand design of the basilica, whose altarpieces, murals and sculptures form a seamless iconographic programme. Among the artists whose works are found in the basilica are such Italians as Cambiaso, Zuccaro and Pellegrino Tibaldi; and the Spaniards Navarrete 'el Mudo', Alonso Sánchez Coello and Diego de Urbina. Challenging some of the current views that argue for a definable Counter-Reformation style, The Decoration of The Royal Basilica of El Escorial also raises important questions regarding Philip II's patronage practices, particularly his requirements for religious art and the extent to which they were met by artists.