Tag Archives: Spain

Spanish Theatre – 17th Century

Spanish Theatre – 17th Century

A Century of Greatness – 17th Century

17th century spanish theaterAlthough Spain suffered military and economic setbacks in the later sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, this same period was one of brilliance in the arts and literature in the country. By 1600, the cities of Spain had already developed a vigorous theater that was in many ways even more vital than that of London. The origins of Spanish theater can be traced to the late medieval dramas that were performed on solemn religious occasions. Like England the Feast of Corpus Christi in late spring was an important occasion that was often celebrated with the staging of imposing religious dramas. Unlike many parts of Europe where Protestantism gradually restricted religious drama, such productions remained a vital part of urban piety in the seventeenth century, inspiring a new genre of auto sacramentals, or sacramental plays, that aimed to teach the Spanish the tenets of Counter Reformation Catholicism.

In particular, these sacramental plays focused on the theology of the Eucharist, and their series of scenes often demonstrated the biblical events that had produced the sacrifice of Jesus Christ as well as the rise of Christianity. Even as such religious theater remained a growing tradition in Spain’s Golden Age, popular secular drama was undergoing a dramatic expansion, although its roots also lay in the religious institutions of the country. In the second half of the sixteenth century religious confraternities brotherhoods of lay and clerical members began to stage performances of secular dramas and comedies for paying audiences. Many of these brotherhoods cared for the sick and dying, and the profits of their dramatic performances were used to underwrite their charitable efforts.

The typical Spanish theater of the time was known as a corral, a word that referred to the walled in courtyards in which plays were performed. At one end of these corrals a raised stage provided the setting on which the dramas were performed. Usually these stages were two stories high, with an upper gallery that was decorated to suggest towers, houses, and other elements of urban architecture. The first two of these theaters the Corral de la Cruz and the Corraldel Principe were constructed as makeshift affairs in the newly named Spanish capital of Madrid. Others developed there and at Seville, and by 1600, these two cities were home to the most vigorous theater life in Spain, although other theatrical troupes thrived elsewhere in the country. Read the rest of this entry

Antoni Gaudí

Antoni Gaudí

gaudi Antoni

Architect
(1852 – 1926)

Antoni Gaudí i Cornet  (Riudoms or Reus, 25 June 1852 – Barcelona, 10 June 1926) was a Spanish Catalan architect and the best known representative of Catalan Modernism. Gaudí’s works are marked by a highly individual style and the vast majority of them are situated in the Catalan capital of Barcelona, including his magnum opus, the Sagrada Família.

Much of Gaudí’s work was marked by the four passions of his life: architecture, nature, religion and his love for Catalonia. Gaudí meticulously studied every detail of his creations, integrating into his architecture a series of crafts, in which he himself was skilled, such as ceramics, stained glass, wrought ironwork forging and carpentry. He also introduced new techniques in the treatment of the materials, such as his famous trencadís, made of waste ceramic pieces.

After a few years under the influence of neo-Gothic art, and certain oriental tendencies, Antoni Gaudí became part of the Catalan Modernista movement which was then at its peak, towards the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th. Gaudí’s work, however, transcended mainstream Modernisme, culminating in an organic style that was inspired by nature without losing the influence of the experiences gained earlier in his career. Rarely did Gaudí draw detailed plans of his works and instead preferred to create them as three-dimensional scale models, moulding all details as he was conceiving them in his mind.

casa-batlloGaudí’s work has widespread international appeal, and there are innumerable studies devoted to his way of understanding architecture. Today he is admired by both professionals and the general public: his masterpiece, the Sagrada Família, is one of the most visited monuments in Spain. Between 1984 and 2005 seven of his works were declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. He awakened to his Roman Catholic faith during his life and many religious images can be seen in his works, a fact which has led to his being nicknamed “God’s Architect” and calls for him to bebeatified.

Gaudí’s first projects were the lampposts he designed for the Plaça Reial in Barcelona, the unfinished Girossi newsstands and the Cooperativa Obrera Mataronense (Workers’ Cooperative of Mataró). He became well known through his first important commission, the Casa Vicens, and subsequently received increasingly more significant requests. At the Paris World Fair in 1878 Gaudí displayed a showcase he had produced for the glove manufacturer Comella. Its modernista design, which was at the same time functional and aesthetic, impressed the Catalan industrialist Eusebi Güell, who later on contacted the architect to request him to carry out various projects he had in mind. This was the starting point of a long friendship and a patronage which bore fruit with some of the most distinguished of Gaudí’s works: the Güell wine cellars, the Güell pavilions, the Palau Güell (Güell palace), the Parc Güell (Güell park) and the crypt of the church of the Colònia Güell. He also became a friend of the marquis of Comillas, the father-in-law of count Güell, for whom he designed “El Capricho” in Comillas.

la Sagrada FamíliaIn 1883 Gaudí accepted responsibility for the recently-initiated works of the Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família (Basilica and Expiatory Church of the Holy Family, more commonly referred to in English as the Sagrada Família). Antoni Gaudí changed the original project completely, making this his world famous and much-admired masterpiece. From 1915 until his death he devoted himself entirely to this project. Given the number of commissions he began receiving, he had to rely on a professional team to be able to work on various projects simultaneously. His team consisted of professionals from all fields of construction. Several of the architects who worked under him made their own name in the field later on, such as Josep Maria Jujol, Joan Rubió, Cèsar Martinell, Francesc Folguera and Josep Francesc Ràfols. In 1885, Gaudí moved to rural Sant Feliu de Codines to escape thecholera epidemic that was ravaging Barcelona. He lived in Francesc Ullar’s house, for whom he designed a dinner table as a sign of his gratitude

During the Paris exposition in May 1910, Antoni Gaudí spent a holiday in Vic, where he designed two lampposts made of basalt and wrought iron for the Plaça Major of Vic, for Jaume Balmes’s centenary. The following year he was obliged to spend some time in Puigcerdà due to tuberculosis; during this time he conceived the idea for the façade of the Passion of the Sagrada Família. Due to his state of health, on 9 June he made his will at the office of the notary Ramon Cantó i Figueres; but luckily he recovered completely. Read the rest of this entry

Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes

Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes

Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes (30 March 1746 – 16 April 1828) was a Spanish romantic painter and printmaker regarded both as the last of the Old Masters and as the first of the moderns. Goya was a court painter to the Spanish Crown, and through his works was both a commentator on and chronicler of his era. The subversive and imaginative element in his art, as well as his bold handling of paint, provided a model for the work of later generations of artists, notably Manet and Picasso.

Goya was born in Fuendetodos, Aragón, Spain, in 1746 to José Benito de Goya y Franque and Gracia de Lucientes y Salvador. He spent his childhood in Fuendetodos, where his family lived in a house bearing the family crest of his mother. His father earned his living as a gilder. About 1749, the family bought a house in the city of Zaragoza and some years later moved into it. Goya may have attended school at Escuelas Pias, where he formed a close friendship with Martin Zapater. Their correspondence from the 1770s to the 1790s is a valuable source for understanding Goya’s early career at the court of Madrid.

At age 14, he entered apprenticeship with the painter José Luzán. He later moved to Madrid where he studied with Anton Raphael Mengs, a painter who was popular with Spanish royalty. He clashed with his master, and his examinations were unsatisfactory. Goya submitted entries for the Royal Academy of Fine Art in 1763 and 1766, but was denied entrance.

He then journeyed to Rome, where in 1771 he won second prize in a painting competition organized by the City of Parma. Later that year, he returned to Zaragoza and painted parts of the cupolas of the Basilica of the Pillar (including Adoration of the Name of God), a cycle of frescoes in the monastic church of the Charterhouse of Aula Dei, and the frescoes of the Sobradiel Palace. He studied with Francisco Bayeu y Subías and his painting began to show signs of the delicate tonalities for which he became famous.

Disease and deafness

At some time between late 1792 and early 1793, a serious illness, whose exact nature is not known, left Goya deaf, and he became withdrawn and introspective. During his recuperation, he undertook a series of experimental paintings. His experimental art—that would encompass paintings, drawings as well as a bitter series of aquatinted etchings, published in 1799 under the titleCaprichos — was done in parallel to his more official commissions of portraits and religious paintings. In 1798, he painted luminous and airy scenes for the pendentives and cupula of the Real Ermita (Chapel) of San Antonio de la Florida in Madrid. Many place miracles of Saint Anthony of Padua in the midst of contemporary Madrid.

Darker realms

In a period of convalescence during 1793–1794, Goya completed a set of eleven small pictures Read the rest of this entry