In the Catholic Monarchs era, Spanish flourished. Some of the most important Spanish humanists were Luis Vives, Beatriz Galindo and Antonio de Nebrija who elaborated the first Spanish grammar.

Antonio de Nebrija

The Golden Age extends in the 16th and 17th centuries. Education was in hands of the Universities of Salamanca, Alcalá de Henares and Valladolid as well as colleges founded by the Jesuits after the Counter – Reformation. The main disciplines were Law and Philosphy.

Literature was influenced by Italian Renaissance. Poetry by Garcilaso de la Vega and Boscan was inspired by Dante´s sonets. On the other hand, new genders appeared as the picaresque novel and mystical and ascetic poetry were pm trend.

Garcilaso de la Vega


Three styles predominated in the Spanish Renaissance:

  • Plateresque extended from 1500 to 1530. It used the gothic style in the interiors while the façade decorations had Renaissance motifs such as medallions shields and grotesques presented in great detail. The name is related to the fact that decorations remind the works by silversmiths. The façade of the University of Salamanca and San Marcos in León
  • Classicism got all the elements of Renaissance architecture (1530-1560) with simple forms and profuse ornamentation. The palace of Charles V in Granada, Monterrey palace in Salamanca and the façade of the University of Alcalá de Henares are examples of this style.
  • Herrerian style flourished between 1560 and 1600. Juan de Herrera created this styles characterized by the simple forms, slate roofs and sparse decoration. El Escorial is the best example of this style.


Spanish Renaissance sculpture is characterized by realism, religious subjects and polychromed wooden carvings. Dramatic scenes were the most portrayed because sculptors could display a wider variety of expressions and poses.

Wood carvings were used in altarpieces, choir stalls and images in religious processions. Stone was used for tombs.

The most important sculptors were:

  • Alonso Berruguete whose more reputed works were The Sacrifice of Isaac, the choir stalls in the Cathedral of Toledo and the Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian.

  • Juan de Juni carved the Burial of Christ-


The most representative paintings were Pedro Berruguete, Vicente Masip, Juan de Juanes, Luis de Morales and El Greco


El Greco´s paintings most relevant characteristic is the elongated figures presented in complicated postures. His works present elaborated compositions with deep contrast between vivid colors and blue, purple and grey tones.

The subjects were mainly religious and portraits. El Greco represented well the spirit of the Counter-Reformation with his saints series, the Virgin and scenes from Christ passion. The most famous works were: The Disrobing of Christ, the Martyrdom of Saint Maurice, The Burial of the Count of Orgaz and the Noblemen with his hand on his chest.







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