Spain Arts and Architecture – From the Roman Age to the 15th Century

From the Roman age to the 9th century

According to Ask4beauty, numerous monuments of the Roman age are preserved, mainly public works, such as bridges, aqueducts, city walls, vestiges of forums, circuses, temples, as well as in Mérida, Tarragona and Segovia, cities particularly flourishing in the Augustan age, in Alcántara, in Salamanca etc. The major archaeological centers of the Spain are Ampurias, Numanzia and Tartesso. ● Among the rare Christian monuments (after the 4th century: baptistery under the cathedral of Barcelona etc.) which present characteristics of early Christian architecture and sculpture common to the whole Mediterranean area, the mausoleum stands out, with rich mosaic decoration, of Centcelles, near Tarragona. ● More complex and original is the art of the Spain Visigothic, with churches characterized by wall faces with large square blocks, rectangular apses and the use of the horseshoe arch: Spain Juan de Baños, near Palencia, basilica founded by Recesvindo (653-672); Spain Pedro de la Nave, near Zamorra (7th century), Spain Comba de Bande near Orense (7th century), Spain Maria de Quintanilla de las Viñas near Burgos (7th-8th century), which preserves the most important Visigothic sculptural complex.➔ Cordova ; Islam). ● Of the art of Asturias and the Asturian monarchy, which establishes its capital in Oviedo, important testimonies remain: the reign of Alfonso II dates back to Spain Julián de los Prados (Santullano; from 812-842, three-nave basilica, imposing transept and three rectangular apses), which retains a fresco decoration, with essentially architectural themes; of the reign of Ramiro I (842-850) are Spain Miguel de Lillo (remarkable sculptural decoration), the chapel of Spain Cristina de Lena and the Naranco palace, transformed into Spain Maria di Naranco (two floors, the lower barrel vaulted). A last phase of Asturian art is represented by churches, such as Spain Salvador de Valdediós (late 9th century), with three naves and three rectangular apses.

From the 10th to the 15th century

The Arab presence in Spain finds a particular expression in Mozarabic art (➔ Mozarabs), linked to Christian nuclei that exist in the territories subjected to Muslim rule: the only testimony of Mozarabic architecture in Islamic territory is the church of Bobastro near Malaga (899-917) but already from the beginning of the 9th century, with the disappearance of tolerance, migrations to the northern regions of Mozarabi begin, bringing typical architectural motifs, such as the horseshoe arch, in Asturias, León and Galicia (S. Miguel de Escalada, 913 ca.; Spain Miguel of Celanova, 936; Spain Baudel of Berlanga, 11th century). Mozarabic art is also manifested in the applied arts (goldsmithing, ivory sculpture, miniature).

● In the north-eastern territories the contacts with the artistic languages ​​developed beyond the Pyrenees are more intense (➔ Catalonia). In the 11th century. Lombard and French influences began to penetrate widely in Spain The most important Romanesque buildings (11th-12th century) are the cathedral of Palencia, which has close relations with Asturian architecture; the grandiose cathedral of Jaca; Spain Isidoro in León; Spain Martín of Frómista (Palencia); Spain Domingo de Silos and the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, the main monument of Spanish Romanesque architecture. In all of them the rich plastic decoration is of great importance. The series of Catalan frescoes is impressive (cathedral of Urgel; St. Clement of Tahull). With the reconquest of the Muslim-dominated territories, the Mudejar style began in the 12th century (➔ # 10132;), of which there are examples in Arévalo (Ávila), Cuellar, Sahagún, Toledo etc.

● Transitional works to Gothic, from the last decades of the 12th century, are: Pórtico de la Gloria in the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela; cathedral of Ávila; nave of the cathedral of Zamora. The monasteries of Poblet and Santas Creus in Catalonia were built by Cistercian monks, where the cathedral of Tarragona was also built in the transitional Gothic style. In Castile, the monastery of Huerta influences the cathedral of Sigüenza, which is connected to the cathedral of Cuenca and the monastery of Las Huelgas near Burgos. A military aspect distinguishes the cathedral of Tuy (Galicia).

● The great Gothic architecture was established at the beginning of the 13th century. (cathedrals of Burgos, Toledo and León) and lasted in the following centuries (cathedrals of Seville and Gerona, 15th century; Salamanca and Segovia, 16th century). Moorish are, among other things, the cloister of Guadalupe (Cáceres) and the castle of Coca. Closely dependent on France is the grandiose plastic decoration of the facades of the cathedrals of León and Burgos.

● Sculpture flourished in the 15th century, with contributions from French, Flemish, German and Italian artists, especially in the large carved altars (of Tarragona, of Spain Nicolás of Burgos, the colossal one of the Cathedral of Seville and that of Toledo from the beginning of the 16th century), and in the choir stalls (in the flowery Gothic style in Spain Tomás of Ávila, in the Carthusian monastery of Miraflores, etc.).

● Italian painting penetrates Spain already in the first half of the fourteenth century. Reminiscences of Florence and Siena can be found in F. Bassa and in the Serra brothers (14th century); Sienese elements together with those of the miniature from beyond the Pyrenees can be seen in the main altarpiece of the cathedral of León (master Nicola Francese). Flemish painting characterized the Spanish one of the 15th century. (L. Dalmau ; J. Baço).

● In the 14th century. the decorative splendor of Muslim art emerged: unparalleled examples are the wonders of Granada (Alhambra and Generalife). Its influence also penetrated into Castile. The production of majolica (➔ azulejo). Before the introduction of the Italian Renaissance, architecture followed in the first half of the 15th century. the ‘Isabella style’, which participates in the flowery Gothic and Moorish motifs (S. Giovanni de los Reyes, Toledo; Infantado palace, Guadalajara; Real de Manzanares castle, Madrid etc.). In painting the Flemish influence became almost exclusive (F. Gallegos). Various Flemish and Italian elements were fused R. Osona the Elder, active in Valencia, B. Bermejo, who painted in Aragon and Catalonia, A. Fernández, who worked mainly in Seville, and P. Berruguete, Castilian, also industrious in Italy, in Urbino. Catalan painting in the last decades of the 15th century. counts masters like J. Huguet and the Vergós.

Spain Arts and Architecture