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Monday, January 21, 2013 (read 917 times)

Baroque and Renaissance Architecture in Salamanca

by Lauren

Plateresque + Escurialense = Renaissance

Renaissance architecture was swept into Spain from Italy. Renaissance styles comprise columns, simple shapes and symmetry. However, the Spanish like decoration and so didn't regard Renaissance architecture as highly as other European countries. Consequently, Renaissance architecture in Spain is divided into two types: Plateresque and Escurialense. In the 15th century,agroup of artists agreed on a new artistic style distinguished by chandeliers and flower decorations and this became known as Plateresque. In sixteenth century Salamanca, La Casa de las Muertes was built – this Plateresquestyle construction was built using Villamayor stone. Villamayor stone is mined in the nearby town of Villamayor. It is a building material unique to the Salamanca city.  

El Convento De San Esteban & La Casa De Las Muertes

In days gone by, four skulls decorated the exterior of La Casa de las Muertes. Post-renovation, the skulls were made spherical to resemble balls; but the gloomy building name still exists. The Convent of San Esteban, like La Casa de las Muertes, exemplifies Plateresquedesign. Additionally, acombination of Baroque and Gothic styles can be detected in its construction. For example, Baroque styles can easily be identified in the decorated screen behind the altar; and Gothic styles are perceivable in the dome and the area reserved for the priest.


The extreme adornment of Plateresque was soon swept aside to make way for the extreme plainness of Escurialense which was prevalent during the second half of the Renaissance. Escurialense is named after the largest construction in Spain known as El Escorial. Built by architect Juan de Herrera, the building features clean forms, minimal decoration and proportionality.

Baroque Architecture

In contrast to the Renaissance, Spain adapted easily to the decorative style of Baroque. This architectural style was used to show off Christian-presence as well as power. It replaced the simple forms and straight lines of the Renaissance with twisting columns and ridiculously excessive decoration.

Keywords: salamanca, spanish art,renaissance architecture,spanish architecture,baroque architecture

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