Spanish Art and Architecture

Spanish Art and Architecture
  • Spanish artists
  • Prehistoric Art
  • Mozarabic and Romanesque Art
  • Gothic Art
  • Renaissance Art
  • Baroque, Rococo & Neoclassic Art
  • 19th and 20th Century Art

The Renaissance

The Renaissance motifs from Italy and France were blended in Spain with Gothic and Mudéjar elements, creating the Plateresque style, the Spanish variation of Renaissance style. Derived from the word "plata", meaning silver, this style was much richer in ornamentation than the original Italian Renaissance style.

Excellent representations of this style include the facade of the University of Salamanca and of the Convent of San Marcos located in León. Sculptor and architect Diego de Siloé, who had studied in Italy worked with this style a great deal, with his Golden Staircase (Escalera Dorada) in Burgos Cathedral being one of the most faithful representations the Plateresque style.

Other well known architects from this time include Pedro Machuca, Juan Bautista de Toledo and Juan de Herrera. Phillip II was the reigning monarch at the time and his passionate love of art was key in fostering its development. Until this time, art in Spain had focused almost exclusively on a religious subject matter. However Phillip brought many foreign painters to Spain on commissions and among these was the Dutch portraitist Anthonis Mor, who began the practice of portraying members of the court. For the first time secular themes were represented.

The most prominent sculptor of these times was Alonso Berruguete and in painting, El Greco is regarded as a genius of Spanish art, particularly of the Mannerism style, brought over to Spain by young Italian artists.