Churriguera, José Benito (hōsāˈ bānēˈtō chōr-rēgāˈrä) [key], 1665–1725, Spanish architect and sculptor. A native of Madrid, he won fame for his design (1689) of the great catafalque for Queen Maria Luisa and for his ornate retables, characterized by twisted columns and elaborate leafwork. After 1690 he served as architect of the Cathedral of Salamanca, although he returned to Madrid after 1699. There he built a private palace (now the Academia de San Fernando) for the banker Don Juan de Goyeneche and also designed for him the urban complex Nuevo Baztán. Associated with him were his brothers Joaquin and Alberto. The term Churrigueresque chûrˌēgərĕskˈ describes the architecture of the late 17th and early 18th cent. in Spain, marked by extravagance of design and capricious use of Renaissance motives; the architects of the period used architectural forms to produce free and theatrical contrasts of line and surface with extreme richness and exuberance. The facade of the cathedral at Murcia illustrates the style's full expression. The Churrigueresque manner was an important influence on the Spanish colonial work in the United States and in Mexico, where the mission buildings are frequently naive examples of that style, much modified by lack of trained workmen.
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