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A History of Spain by Charles E. Chapman

Sidenote Plateresque architecture


somewhat opposed types of subject-matter,

religious and erotic; in the latter there was a vigorous school which often went to the extreme of license. The romances of love and chivalry gained even greater favor than in the preceding period. The _Amad?s de Gaula_ (Amadis of Gaul) of Vasco de Lobeira was translated from the Portuguese by Garc? Ord??ez de Montalvo, and many other novels on the same model were written. One of these was _Las sergas de Esplandi?n_ (The deeds of Esplandi?n) by Ord??ez de Montalvo himself, references in which to an "island California" as a land of fabulous wealth were to result in the naming of the present-day California, once believed to be just such an island. Much superior to the amatory or chivalric novels was a remarkable book which stood alone in its time, the _Tragicomedia de Calixto y Melibea_ (The tragi-comedy of Calixtus and Melibea), better known as _La Celestina_ (1499), from the name of one of the characters, believed to have been the work of Fernando de Rojas. In eloquent Spanish and with intense realism _La Celestina_ dealt with people in what might be called "the under-world." This was the first of the picaresque novels (so-called because they dealt with the life of _p?caros_, or rogues), out of which was to develop the true Spanish novel. History, too, had a notable growth. The outstanding name was that of Hernando del Pulgar. His _Cr?nica_ (Chronicle) and his _Claros varones de Espa?a_ (Illustrious men of Spain), besides being well written, noteworthy for their characterizations
of individuals, and influenced by classical Latin authors, showed a distinct historical sense. The already mentioned _De orbe novo_ of Peter Martyr and the letters of Columbus were the chief contributions to the history of the new world. As to the theatre, while the religious mysteries continued to be played, popular representations in dialogue, some of them religious and others profane in subject-matter, began to be written and staged. The most notable writer was Juan del Enzina (1468-1534), who has been called the "father of Spanish comedy." His compositions were not represented publicly in a theatre, but only in private houses or on the occasions of royal or aristocratic feasts.

[Sidenote: Plateresque architecture.]

[Sidenote: Sculpture and the lesser arts.]

The transitional character of the age was nowhere more clear than in the various forms of art. The principal architectural style was a combination of late Gothic with early Renaissance features, which, because of its exuberantly decorative character, was called plateresque, for many of its forms resembled the work of _plateros_, or makers of plate. Structurally there was a mingling of the two above-named elements, with a superimposition of adornment marked by great profusion and richness,--such, for example, as in the fa?ade of the convent of San Pablo of Valladolid. At the same time, edifices were still built which were more properly to be called Gothic, and there were yet others predominantly representative of the Renaissance, characterized by the restoration of the later classical structural and decorative elements, such as the slightly pointed arch, intersecting vaults, columns, entablatures, pediments, and lavish ornamentation. Sculpture displayed the same manifestations, and became in a measure independent of architecture. Noteworthy survivals are the richly carved sepulchres of the era. Gold and silver work had an extraordinary development not only in articles of luxury but also in those for popular use, and as regards luxury the same was true of work in rich embroideries and textures.


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