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A History of Spain by Charles E. Chapman

Aside from azulejos proper other tiles of many colors


noteworthy style was that of

the second of this period, called variously "Greco-Roman," "second Renaissance," and "Herreran" (after Juan de Herrera, its principal exponent), and employed most largely in the second half of the sixteenth and the first part of the seventeenth century. The edifices of this group were noteworthy for the attempt made in them to imitate the Roman architecture of the later empire through the suppression of adornment and the multiplication of flat surfaces and straight lines, achieving expression through great size and massiveness of structure, together with the use of rich materials. In the matter of embellishment the classical orders were superimposed, Doric being used in the lower story, Ionic in the next, and finally Corinthian. The pyramid capped with a ball was the favorite style of finial, while gigantic statues were also placed in niches high up in the fa?ade. The whole effect was sombrely religious, often depressingly so. The greatest example of this type of art is the Escorial, the famous palace of Philip II, built by Juan de Herrera, possibly the most noteworthy single edifice of Christian Spanish architecture in existence, and certainly the most widely known. In the reign of Philip IV there was a pronounced reaction against the sobriety of the Herreran style, and the pendulum swung to the other extreme. Adornment and movement of line returned, but were expressed in a most extravagant way, as exemplified by the excessive employment of foliage effects and by the use of broken
or twisted lines which were not structurally necessary and were not in harmony with the rest of the edifice. Variety and richness of materials were also a leading characteristic. This style, usually called "baroque," also "churrigueresque" (from Churriguera, its leading architect), has numerous examples, of which the fa?ade of the palace of San Telmo in Seville may be taken as a type.

[Sidenote: Vigorous development of sculpture and the lesser arts.]

Sculpture developed into a vigorous art, though still employed mainly as auxiliary to architecture or in religious statuary. Gothic sculpture in both the pure and the plateresque form struggled against Italian influences until the middle of the sixteenth century, when the latter triumphed. Berruguete, Monta??s, and Alonso Cano, the first-named largely responsible for the just-mentioned Italian victory and the two latter flourishing in the time of Philip IV, were the leading names of the era. A peculiarity of the Spanish sculptors was that they worked in wood, being especially noteworthy for the images (many crucifixions among them) which they made. The realism of the image-makers saved Spanish sculpture from the contamination of baroque art, which took root in other countries. The decline came, however, with the introduction later in the seventeenth century of the practice of dressing the images, so that only the head, hands, and feet were in fact sculptured. From this the sculptors went on to attach false hair and other false features, going even to the extreme of affixing human skin and finger nails. Other factors combined with this lack of taste to bring on the decay of the art. The excellent work in this period of the _artesonados_, or ceilings of carved woodwork, should not pass unnoticed. Meanwhile, work in gold, silver, iron, and bronze was cultivated assiduously, of which the principal manifestations of a national character were the shrines and gratings. In general, the Renaissance influences triumphed in these arts, as also in the various allied arts, such as the making of tapestry. The gold workers enjoyed an expansion of output springing naturally from the surplus wealth in secular hands, and a similar lot fell to the workers in silks and embroideries; both industries produced materials of a high artistic quality. In ceramic art Arabic tradition had one noteworthy survival in the azulejos, or varnished bricks painted by hand in blue and white and used as tiles. Renaissance factors at length appeared to change the geometric designs, reminiscent of the Moslem past, to the more prevalent classic forms. Aside from azulejos proper other tiles of many colors, often gilded, were employed.


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