TRIBUTE - Spain's Royal Neoclassical Architecture & Monuments


In this class we will explore and analyze the Royal neoclassical architecture and monuments that continue to make their statements in the capital and around the country. The most iconic buildings and sightseeing attractions come from this era.


INTRODUCTION by Karla Darocas, Hons. B. A.

King Carlos III came to the crown after spending much of his adult life in Italy and hence strongly influenced by the Enlightenment. He undertook a series of urban reforms in Madrid that included works from public lighting to paving streets. These reforms of the capital also acquire an aesthetic relevance. His objective was to place the capital of Spain, Madrid, at the aesthetic level of other European cities such as Paris or Saint Petersburg. 

Spain’s neoclassical currents ran parallel with the rest of Europe with its deep analysis of Greek and Roman classicism, evolving interest in archeology, the study of treatises, the criticism of tradition and the rejection from the late Baroque & Rococo. 

Although the development of Neoclassicism took off earlier in other parts of Europe, the first manifestations of the Neoclassical genre developed during the reign of Fernando VI (1746-1759), and then flourished under Carlos III (1759-1788) and Carlos IV (1788- 1808) and for obvious reasons, took a break during the The Peninsular War (1807–1814), but returned with Fernando VII (1808-1833). By this time however, it had to share the limelight with other more novel current trends.

In the second half of the 18th century and into the 19th century, the Enlightenment movement, especially in architecture, included ideological, political and artistic renewal, prioritizing Neoclassicism as a revision of the canons of Greek and Roman mythology.