Spanish art and architecture

The Renaissance and Mannerism

In the 16th cent. Italian sculptors working in Spain, such as Jacopo Fiorentino, Domenico Fancelli, and Pietro Torrigiano, did much to popularize Renaissance motifs, which were combined with Gothic and Mudéjar in works of the plateresque style. An outstanding monument of the plateresque style is the cathedral of Granada by Diego Siloe. Its rotunda in particular, designed on the model of the Holy Sepulcher at Jerusalem, also reflects the humanistic aspirations of its architects, who were classically inclined. Typical of the more ornamental plateresque are the facade of the Univ. of Salamanca (c.1520–30) and that of the Convent of San Marcos (León). A more developed High Renaissance style appears in such works as the unfinished palace of Charles V (Granada), designed by Pedro Machuca, and the Escorial, designed by Juan Bautista de Toledo and finished by Juan de Herrera.

Outstanding native sculptors, such as Alonso Berruguete, Juan de Juni, and Gregorio Fernández, were strongly influenced by the more tortuous creations of Donatello and Michelangelo. Italianate painters, such as Luis de Vargas and Luis de Morales, and later Juan de Juanes, developed eclectic and mannerist styles. It was only toward the end of the century that a genius appeared who truly incarnated the dark, mystical Spanish idiom—El Greco. With roots in the Byzantine and Venetian traditions and in his very personal version of mannerism, El Greco translated aspects of Italian form in terms of his own highly spiritual, incandescent vision.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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