The Catholic Church in Spain, and particularly the Jesuits, were the driving force of Spanish Baroque architecture. The first major work in this style was the San Isidro Chapel in Madrid, begun in 1643 by Pedro de la Torre. It contrasted an extreme richness of ornament on the exterior with simplicity in the interior, divided into multiple spaces and using effects of light to create a sense of mystery. The Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela was modernized with a series of Baroque additions beginning at the end of the 17th century, starting with a highly ornate bell tower (1680), then flanked by two even taller and more ornate towers, called the Obradorio, added between 1738 and 1750 by Fernando de Casas Novoa. Another landmark of the Spanish Baroque is the chapel tower of the Palace of San Telmo in Seville by Leonardo de Figueroa.
Granada had only been liberated from the Moors in the 15th century, and had its own distinct variety of Baroque. The painter, sculptor and architect Alonso Cano designed the Baroque interior of Granada Cathedral between 1652 and his death in 1657. It features dramatic contrasts of the massive white columns and gold decor.
The most ornamental and lavishly decorated architecture of the Spanish Baroque is called Churrigueresque style, named after the brothers Churriguera, who worked primarily in Salamanca and Madrid. Their works include the buildings on the city's main square, the Plaza Mayor of Salamanca (1729). This highly ornamental Baroque style was very influential in many churches and cathedrals built by the Spanish in the Americas.
Other notable Spanish baroque architects of the late Baroque include Pedro de Ribera, a pupil of Churriguera, who designed the Royal Hospice of San Fernando in Madrid, and Narciso Tom, who designed the celebrated El Transparente altarpiece at Toledo Cathedral (172932) which gives the illusion, in certain light, of floating upwards.
The architects of the Spanish Baroque had an effect far beyond Spain; their work was highly influential in the churches built in the Spanish colonies in Latin America and the Philippines. The Church built by the Jesuits for a college in Tepotzotln, with its ornate Baroque facade and tower, is a good example.
- The baroque and rococo culture
- Webmuseum Paris
- barocke in Val di Noto Sizilien
- Baroque in the "History of Art"
- The Baroque style and Luis XIV influence
- Melvyn Bragg's BBC Radio 4 program In Our Time: The Baroque
- "Baroque Style Guide". British Galleries. Victoria and Albert Museum. Archived from the original on 19 August 2007. Retrieved 16 July 2007.