Just like last week, today we will look at further interpretations of Gothic Architecture. As you hopefully remember from our introduction, the geographic location is an important factor in the development of regional architectural styles. In this post we will feature the so called Spanish Gothic with all its nuances as well as the Manueline Style. These are only two of many styles associated with Gothic and we will have a few more in next week’s post!
Spanish Gothic started to develop in the 13th century, when France had already entered the so called High Gothic Period. The style gradually infiltrated the country through the well-known Camino de Santiago, the Way of Saint James. What is unique to Spanish Gothic is how the style developed independently in the country’s regions. Art historians today often speak of Valencian, Balearic or Catalan Gothic. Nevertheless, the most important sub-styles are the Mudéjar Style, Isabelline Style and Plateresque.
The Mudéjar Style can be identified through its distinct Moorish elements, generally expressed in the shape of Arabic geometrical patterns. The style is clear evidence of the Islamic conquest of the Iberian Peninsula and the subsequent Spanish Reconquista.
The Isabelline Style developed later, in the end of the 15th century. After the successful Reconquista, Spanish monarchs sought to express their undying wealth and power through architecture. The Isabelline style is not a pure style in that but few of the buildings created during the decades that it encompasses (c. 1480–c. 1521) represent a true architectural synthesis. It combines several European Gothic elements and even incorporates elements more commonly found in Romanesque structures.
Plateresque was the last main Gothic style to develop in Spain and is considered by many rather as an early Renaissance Style. Similar to the Isabelline Style, it blends several elements into one style, including Mudéjar, Flamboyant and Lombard components. It is characterised by its profuse embellishments, using a wide array of plant motifs. Many examples of this style can also be found in the Spanish Colonies, in particular modern Mexico.
Also called Portuguese Late Gothic, Manueline developed in Portugal in the early 16th century. It is closely related to the Spanish Plateresque Style and marks the transition into the Renaissance Period. Portugal at the time had just begun to establish itself as a sea-faring colonial power and the Manueline style incorporates a wide array of maritime elements. The country’s lavish constructions were also financed by the new wealth originating from the spice trade with Africa and India. Equally, East Indian motifs influenced the short-lived style. Interestingly, semi-circular arches are often found in this period, opposed to the general Gothic development of the pointed arch. Often they appear in the shape of ogee arches, a reminder of Flamboyant Gothic.
Now, what do you think? Is there anything we have missed? Have you already learnt anything from this guide? Which is your favourite architectural style? Share your thoughts and pictures with us. Let’s stay in touch!