Alongside Ventura Rodríguez, Villanueva is the best known architect of the Spanish Neoclassicism. His father was the sculptor Juan de Villanueva and his brother, Diego de Villanueva was not only his protector but also his teacher. He entered into the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando as a pupil when he was eleven years old. In 1758 he travelled to Rome to become a grant holder of the Academy to complete his studies. In 1765 he returned to Spain.
He settled in Madrid, where he was appointed Academic of the Academy of San Fernando. In 1777, Charles III appointed him Architect of the Prince and the Infants. From then to the end of his life he would work almost exclusively for the Royal House. He was a prolific architect and he displayed the majority of his work in Madrid With his personal style and with his strong local influences, he was the architect who best brought the theorical basis of European Neoclassicism to Spain.
Academy of History, Madrid
Astronomical Observatory, Madrid
Casita de los Infantes, Aranjuez
Casita de arriba, El Escorial
Casita de abajo, El Escorial
Casita del Príncipe, El Pardo
Casa de los Oficios, El Escorial
General Cemetery of the North, Madrid
Major House of Madrid: Columned façade to the Calle Mayor, Madrid
Oratory of Caballero de Gracia, Madrid
Prado Museum, Madrid
Príncipe Teater, Madrid
Reconstruction of the Plaza Mayor, Madrid
Royal Botanical Garden, Madrid