plateresque (plătərĕskˈ) [key] [Span., = silversmith], earliest phase of Spanish Renaissance architecture and decoration, in the early 16th cent. Its richness of effect was primarily based upon the work of the Italian Renaissance, mingled, however, with surviving Moorish and late Gothic design. In characteristic Spanish decorative spirit, structure received little emphasis, while doorways and other details displayed clusters of ornament against a foil of bare wall space. Columns in candelabrum form were among the favorite motifs, as were pilasters enriched with arabesque reliefs and topped with free Corinthianesque capitals, columns with bracketed capitals, heraldic escutcheons, and fancifully twisted scrolls. It was in the plateresque period that Spanish workers in wrought iron reached an unlimited technical skill, translating Renaissance motifs into terms of metalwork to form the superb rejas of the churches (see rejería). Among the great plateresque buildings are the town hall at Seville, the university at Alcalá de Henares, and the cathedral at Granada by Diego de Siloe. From the latter half of the 16th cent. a much more classical and restrained form of Renaissance design supplanted the plateresque.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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