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Moderna architecture of Barcelona

The architecture of Barcelona has had an evolution parallel to that of the rest of Catalan architecture, and has followed in a diverse way the multiple tendencies that have taken place in the context of the history of Western art. Throughout its history, Barcelona has welcomed various cultures and civilizations, which have contributed their concept of art and have left their legacy for posterity, from the first Iberian settlers, through the Roman settlers, Visigoths and A brief Islamic period, until the emergence in the Middle Ages of Catalan art, language and culture, with a first period of splendor for Catalan art, where Romanesque and Gothic periods were very fruitful for to the artistic development of the region.

During the modern age, when the city was linked to the Hispanic Monarchy, the main styles were Renaissance and Baroque, developed from the proposals from the diffusing countries of these styles, mainly Italy and France. These styles were applied with several local variants, and although some authors affirm that it was not a particularly splendid period in the artistic event of the city, the quality of the works was in agreement with that of the whole of the city. Been, whereas in amount it was a quite productive period, although the greater part of the accomplishments has not arrived at the present time.

Moderna age
In this period, Barcelona became part of the new Kingdom of Spain that emerged from the union of the Crowns of Castile and Aragon. It was a time of rotation between periods of prosperity and economic crisis, especially for plague epidemics in the 16th century and by social and war conflicts such as the War of the Harvesters and the War of Succession between the 17th and 18th centuries, although in the last century, the economy grew due to the opening of trade with America and the beginning of the textile industry. The city was still lined on its walls – the only extension was to the beach, in the Barceloneta neighborhood -, although at the end of the period it had almost 100,000 inhabitants. Artistically, it was the Renaissance and the Baroque period, styles in which numerous palaces and churches were built.

Artistically, although some authors speak of a certain decline, it was a fairly productive era, although there was no truly indigenous creation, since both forms and artistic styles, and often the artists themselves, came from outside. In any case, the innovations of the Italian Renaissance arrived late, towards the end of the 16th century, and meanwhile the Gothic forms survived. Renaissance architecture emphasized the return to classical forms, with the use of midpoint arches, classical command columns, canon vaults with cassette and midrange orange domes. The plant used to be central, with open spaces and harmonic forms based on strict mathematical proportions.

The survival of the Gothic style is illustrated in examples such as the façade of the church of Sant Miquel (1519) – currently adjoining a side wall of the Basilica de la Mercè -, by the works teachers Gabriel Pellicer and Pau Mateu and the sculptor French René Ducloux, with a gothic portal with lateral corinthian pilasters and niches of Gothic tracery. At this time, numerous reforms and additions were also made to the church of the Dominican convent of Santa Caterina: in the Gothic building, the chapel of the Nativity was added in 1529; In 1534, the chapel of the barber’s brotherhood; in 1545 the high choir and a tabernacle; in 1567 the chapel of the Roser; and in 1602 the chapel of Sant Raimon de Penyafort, work of Pere Blai, already in a totally Renaissance classicism. Between 1540 and 1587 the church of Santa Maria de Vallvidrera was rebuilt on an old Romanesque building from the 10th century; Of gothic survival, it has a single nave with a polygonal headboard and a quadrangular bell tower.

Renaissance innovations were slowly penetrating, resulting in hybrid buildings between Gothic and Renaissance, such as the Convent of the Angels and the Pie de la Cruz (1562-1566), by Bartomeu Roig: the church was of a ship with three aboveted rooms and polygonal apse; At the moment it is home to the Foment de les Decoratives Arts institution. In 1566, it was built on the lower part of the house of Mateu Roig, on Carrer Sant Pere més Alt, the chapel of Sant Cristòfol, which combines the Gothic windows with a classicist portal with a rectangular shape, framed by Ionian columns and a pediment triangular crowned by acroteris with stone spheres.

In the civil field, during the 16th century numerous works were carried out at the Hospital de la Santa Cruz: between 1509 and 1512, the Santa Magdalena Hall was built in the east wing, and between 1511 and 1518 work was carried out in the wing of the west, where the new access portal, designed by Antoni Cuberta and Antoni Papiol, was housed as a Gothic-Renaissance hybrid; Between 1568 and 1575, the monumental stairs that connected the upper floors with the patio were built, by Joan Safont. Another civil court building was that of the University of Barcelona (1536-1592), located at the Portal de Santa Anna, at the top of La Rambla, by Tomàs Barsa, who was converted into a barracks military man in 1720 and overthrown in 1843. In 1546, Pia Almoina was built – currently the Diocesan Museum of Barcelona – a beneficial charity for the poor, located next to the cathedral. The building was resting on the remains of the Roman wall, and the original building preserves the body with a cover in two waters, which highlights the corridor gallery on the upper floor, and the midpoint portal. Between 1549 and 1557 the Palace of the Lieutenant – current Archive of the Crown of Aragon – was built, by Antoni Carbonell. It has a Gothic facade with a pointed tower and mixed windows, aligned horizontally and vertically. The building is quadrangular, with an equally square patio, with carpanel arches, and a top gallery with half-point arches on Tuscan columns. In this century culminated the renovation of the Royal Palace with the construction of the Mirador de Martí l’Humà (1555), a rectangular tower of five floors with galleries of half-point arches that stand out from the body of the The building, on the Saló del Tinell.

One of the first constructions of a fully Renaissance spirit was the Hall of Trentenary of the House of the City (1559), which featured a gallery with classicist porch, which was added in 1580 a door of serial influence, composed of A semi-circular arch framed by back-to-back pilasters and a frieze with triplets and metopes, decorated with shields and trophies. The Trentenary was destroyed in 1830 during the construction of the new Neoclassical façade, and partially reconstructed in 1929. During this period, the Barcelona Town Hall building was also expanded with the chapel, the writing desks and the interior courtyard with gallery high (1577).

The main exponent of the new style was the new façade of the Palau de la Generalitat (1596-1619), by Pere Blai, inspired by Roman models taken by Antonio da Sangallo and Miquel Àngel. The palace was expanded between 1526 and 1600 with several adjacent buildings, to occupy the entire island. The Golden House (1526), the Patio de los Naranjos (1532, Antoni Carbonell and Pau Mateu), the Poni’s Market (1536-1544), the Levante Market (1547) and the Nou Consistory (1570-1577), Pere Ferrer). Between 1596 and 1619 Blai built the new façade of the Plaça de Sant Jaume and reformed the chapel of Sant Jordi – current Saló de Sant Jordi -, with three naves of the same height – in the hallenkirche style or “living room floor »-, with quadricular pillars of the Doric-Tuscan order, arched vaults and an elliptical dome on the cruise. By its severe lines it denotes the herrerian influence. The façade has three bodies, the central one wider than the sides, framed by two corinthian pilasters, and with four levels: a padded basement, another with entablature and windows with alternating curved and triangular pedestals, another with a cornice and small windows – some blind -, and another with entablature and balustrade. The portal is Doric with a semicircular arch, with entablature and a niche with the shield of the Generalitat; In the nineteenth century, a sculpture by Sant Jordi by Andreu Aleu was added to him. The facade is covered with a dome with a flashlight, covered with green and yellow tiles.

As for private palaces, they present a typology based on an interior patio with stairs, entrance hall and upper gallery, decorated with grutescs and Gothic traceries. The house Bassols, currently in the Pignatelli palace and the seat of the Royal Artistic Circle, are the exponents of this; the Centelles palace (1514); and the house Gralla (1506) by Mateu Capdevila, demolished in 1856. It is also worth remembering the houses of the boards of boilers and shoemakers, who were transferred from their former locations, from where they were to be demolished, to the square of Sant Felip Neri, creating in this place a group of Renaissance-style houses. Other exponents are: the Clariana-Padellàs house (1497-1515), now the headquarters of the History Museum of Barcelona, which was transferred from Mercaders Street to Plaça del Rei during the opening of the Via Laietana; and the house of Ardiaca (1490-1514), which previously housed the archdeacon of the cathedral and is now the seat of the Municipal Institute of History and the Historical Archive of the City, after joining this building with the next house of the Dean in the nineteenth century, at which time the interior cloister was created for which access to the building is nowadays.

In the 16th century the farmhouses continued to be made preferably in Gothic style, although little by little the new style was introduced, mainly in parts of the facade such as doors, windows, galleries and arcades, which incorporated sculptural decoration, Generally grutescs. Between the 16th and 17th centuries many of them were fortified, due to piracy and banditry. On the other hand, the enrichment of the owners thanks to the sentence of Guadalupe that ended the War of remences led to the embellishment of numerous farmhouses. Some exponents are: Can Mestres, in Vallvidrera -represented in the 18th century-; Ca la Armera, in Sant Andreu; Can Valent, also in Sant Andreu; and Can Planas, in Sant Martí.

As for town planning, the wall of the Sea was expanded in the first half of the 16th century, where the bastions of Llevant, Torre Nova, Sant Ramon and Migdia were built. On the other hand, the main urban reform was around the cathedral, where the Plaza de la Seu was opened, in front of the main portal of the cathedral (1546), as well as the Plaza de San Iu, with a space cut in the Palau Reial Major. The same palace dismantled a part – the courtyard and the north and east wings – which was transferred by the Crown to serve as the headquarters of the Inquisition – current Frederic Marès Museum – while the rest was converted into Royal Hearing in 1542.

On the other hand, during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries an artificial port was built that finally covered the needs of the important commercial center that was Barcelona: paradoxically, during the splendor of the Catalan commerce for the Mediterranean, Barcelona It did not have a port prepared for the port volume that was usual in the city. The old port at the foot of Montjuïc had been abandoned, and the city had only the beach to receive passengers and merchandise. The boats of great draft had to be unloaded by means of boats and ropes. Finally, in 1438, a royal permit was obtained to build a port: first, a stone laden ship sank to serve as a base on the wall that linked the beach with the island of Maians; Reinforced the wall in 1477, it extended in the form of a breakwater in 1484. In the mid 16th century the port was expanded before the campaign initiated by Charles I against Tunisia. At the end of the century, the wharf had a length of 180 m by 12 wide. New works of improvement in the 17th century gave an end to a port in conditions for the city.

17th Century
As in the Renaissance, the art of the time followed the currents from outside. As with Renaissance innovations, the Baroque in Catalonia gradually penetrated, with the survival of the previous types and a new stylistic mix in the execution of the works. Even so, Catalan Baroque is simpler, simple structures, not as recharged as in the Italian Baroque, and it is more evident in the decoration than in the lines, which follow the classical line. Practically until 1660, Renaissance Classicism survived, which was replaced by a Baroque «salomon decorativista» until 1705, when the architecture became more academic until it led to neoclassicism.

Baroque architecture assumed more dynamic forms, with an exuberant decoration and a scenographic sense of forms and volumes. The modulation of space was considered important, with preference for concave and convex curves, paying special attention to optical games (trompe-l’œil) and the viewer’s point of view. In coexistence with the counter-reformist ideology, the art became propagandistic and it was put at the service of the ostentation of the power, political as well as religious.

The first works of the century were still in a Renaissance classicism, as would be the case of the convent of San Francisco de Paula (1597-1644), with a single nave church with side chapels, rectangular bell tower and two-story cloister with Doric columns to the lower and Ionic to the superior. He followed the convent of La Mercè (1637-1651), where he emphasized the cloister – currently incorporated into the building of the General Captaincy of the Fourth Military Region – by Jeroni Santacana, with four half-point arcades with Tuscan columns, upper gallery with double arches lower, with Ionic columns, and a level of balconies.

Other exponents are: the convent of the Holy Trinity (1619), the Trinitarians, a reform of the Gothic church – currently the parish of Sant Jaume -, in which the jesuitite plant was added, with a cruise, presbytery and intercommunal side chapels; the Augustinian convent of Santa Mònica (1626-1636), whose church – reformed in 1887 by Joan Martorell and destroyed in 1936 – followed the same scheme as the previous one, whereas the cloister – only part that is conserved, present art center – has two floors with arcades on pillars; the convent of the Bonsuccés (1626-1635), now the headquarters of the Ciutat Vella district; and the church of Sant Genís dels Agudells (1671), which replaced one of the 10th century, with a ship with a crucifix and a square pyramidal bell tower with a rectory and a cemetery.

The incorporation of Baroque forms was more successful in ornamentation than in the architectural language proper, as can be seen in the generalization of the use of Solomonic columns. Good examples are the Casa de Convalescencia of the Hospital de la Santa Creu (1629-1680) and the church of Bethlehem (1681-1732). The first one, the work of Pere Pau Ferrer, has a claustral scheme, with two levels, half-point arches, Doric-Tuscan pilasters, arched vaults and balustrades on the second level. The Jesuit church of the Mother of God of Bethlehem, the work of Josep Juli, has a congregational plant – in the style of the Gesù -, a longitudinal nave with a barrel vault, an entrance narthex under the choir and intercommunal chapels, each with an elliptical dome with a flashlight. The façade has a rhomboid padding, a square door, a rose window and an altarpiece with columns of Salomon and a classical opening but baroque, with starters and intertwined, flanked by two statues of St. Ignatius of Loyola and St. Francis of Borja, Andreu Sala. The model of Bethlehem was followed by the church of Sant Sever (1698-1705), the work of Jaume Arnaudies, which corresponds to the original layout and Jeroni Escarabatxeres to the conclusion of the facade and the interior decoration. It is of small proportions (23 x 12 m), divided into three vertical bodies for large pillars, with a central body of greater height that houses a niche with the image of the saint.

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In this period, Fr. Josep de la Concepció worked, called the Tracista, a barefoot Carmelite who developed a classical Baroque style, with some vitruvian influence. Between 1668 and 1688 he built the Virrei Palace, in the Pla de Palau, the reform of an old warehouse of goods known as Hala dels Draps, with a quadrangular plant with a central courtyard, three levels with balconies and facade with gothic elements. In 1675 he adapted the chapter room of the Cathedral of Barcelona as a chapel of Sant Oleguer, in Gothic style so as not to break through the temple line, and a baroque sepulcher for the saint, with a statue of Pere Sanglada. In 1687, he performed the barefoot Carmelite church of Our Lady of Grace and Saint Joseph, nestled by Josepets, in the square of Lesseps, with a single nave, intercommunicated chapels, vault of cannon with lunettes, false transept and dome without drum The facade has three arches of entrance, fronton, entablature and a belfry belfry perpendicular to the façade.

From this time there are also several palaces: the Dalmases Palace – current building of Òmnium Cultural – in Montcada Street, a gothic tradition for its distribution around a central courtyard with stairs and two floors, presents a façade with broken molded windows and gargoyles, and a patio with salomonic columns and ramparts; Marimon Palace or the Marquis de Caldes de Montbui stands out for its central courtyard with a reduced-angle gallery of Tuscan style; Maldà Palace has a curved facade for its adaptation to the street, made of small ashlars, and a multi-story hall with Rococo decoration; The house of the Gremi de Revenedors (1685) stands out for the sgraffiti on the facade.

During this period, the farmhouses progressively abandoned the Gothic lines, with the introduction of new elements such as sloping doors, geminated windows, brackets and chambers. Some exponents are: Can Masdeu, in Horta; Can Trilla, in Gràcia; Can Carabassa, in Horta; and Can Mariner, also in Horta.

In the urban area, in the seventeenth century, the city wall was again expanded with the construction of five new doors (Sant Sever, Talleres, Sant Antoni, Sant Pau and Santa Madrona – the latter a reconstruction of the 14th-), streets were paved, sewers were installed, potable water sources were built and improvement works were carried out at the port. Also a bridge was constructed that united the two towers of the decumana door of the Roman wall, next to the Episcopal Palace (1614), formed by two reduced arches, the inferior with a footbridge with balustrade and the upper with a body with five balconies with half-pointed arch balconies framed by Doric pilasters; He was demolished in 1823.

Century XVIII
In this century Baroque forms continued, but more temperate, not so lush as in the previous century. The architectural language became more classicistic, with a more baroque component (Sant Miquel del Port) or more academic (church of La Mercè), until it culminated in neoclassicism that was developed between the end of the century and beginnings of the XIX.

The arrival of the Bourbons generated in architecture a series of military engineering works, such as the castles of Montjuïc and Ciutadella, or even churches such as that of Sant Miquel del Port in Barceloneta (1753). Montjuïc Castle, a small 17th century fortress built by the Reapers’ War, was expanded and refurbished by Juan Martín Cermeño between 1751 and 1779, with a pentagonal shape and large graves and bastions, with Vaubanian influence; In 1960, it was converted into a Military Museum, with a reform of Joaquim de Ros and Ramis.

For the construction of the Ciutadella, 1,200 houses were destroyed in the Ribera district – reaching 4 500 people without a house and without compensation – as well as the convents of San Agustín and Santa Clara, and the Rec Comtal was turned aside. Works by Joris Prosper Van Verboom, had a pentagonal shape, also with vaubanian influence. Its main feature is the arsenal building, the current headquarters of the Parliament of Catalonia; the governor’s palace, the current Verdaguer Institute; and the chapel, now a military parish. This chapel, designed by Alexandre de Rez in 1727, features a classicist portal with a semicircular print, in the style of the church of the Visitation of Paris.

The first churches were of baroque survival: between 1705 and 1716, the church of Sant Sever and Sant Carles Borromeu was built – currently of Sant Pere Nolasc – in Plaça de Castella, in the order of the towns. It has a single nave, with semispheric dome and dome, and a Tuscan cloister with arched vaults. Between 1721 and 1752 the church of Sant Felip Neri was built, in the homonymous plaza, by Pere Bertran and Salvador Ausich. It has a single nave, cruise, intercommunicated chapels, rectangular apse and mixtiline layout facade, with the beginning of semicircular engagement and finishing. Pere Bertran is also the church of Sant Agustí Nou (1728), a congregational ship with intercommunicated chapels, a dome with a flashlight, a vault of cannon and a semicircular apse. The façade is by Pere Costa (1735), with narrate of five half-point arches, with a mixtiline fronton and elliptical dome, made only at the bottom, while the upper one is still unfinished. In 1735 the church of Santa Marta was raised, on the Riera de Sant Joan, annexed to a hospital of pilgrims of the same name; affected by the opening of the Via Laietana, was demolished in 1911, although the façade was preserved and moved to the building of the convent of the Hospital de la Santa Cruz and San Pablo, where it remains.

Between 1736 and 1743, the Casa de la Caritat (the current Center of Contemporary Culture of Barcelona) was built, located on a former medieval monastery of the Augustinian monks bombed in 1651, which housed a complex of several dependencies arranged around a large square-shaped patio and double-height cloister with Tuscan arcades, now known as Manning patio. In the nineteenth century, the neo-Gothic church of Santa Maria de Montalegre was incorporated, as well as another called patio of Women.

The church of San Miguel del Puerto (1753), by Pedro Martín Cermeño, has an Italian influence, especially Maderno and Della Porta, and has a tripartite façade with a central body elevated with a triangular pediment -which denotes the influence of the Gesù-, and a sculpture by Sant Miquel de Pere Costa; The plant was square, with a central dome on four pillars, but was reformed by Elies Rogent in 1863, the date it expanded the space of the church and distributed it into three naves, with a new dome over a fake cruise ship.

One of the best exponents of the religious baroque was the church of La Mercè (1765-1775), by Josep Mas i Dordal, which replaced another gothic order of the mercedaris. It has a single nave with intercommunicated side chapels, following the scheme of Catalan counter-reformist churches, a dome-shaped cruise and a camel on the presbytery. The façade denotes the influence of Sant Andreu del Quirinal de Bernini, with curved side walls, with a semicircular pediment, rosette and triangular upper pediment. On the dome, the image of Our Lady of Mercy stands out, an original work by Maximí Sala destroyed in 1936 and replaced by a copy of the Oslé brothers (Miquel and Llucià).

From this time there are also two parochial churches in the neighboring municipalities of the city, nowadays incorporated as neighborhoods: Sant Vicenç de Sarrià, by Josep Mas i Dordal, built between 1778 and 1816 on the remains of an earlier Gothic church from 1379 – built in turn on another Romanesque consecrated in 1147 -, it has three ships intercommunicated by half-point arches, with a flat headboard and transept with a dome, as well as side chapels; and the sanctuary of Santa Eulàlia de Vilapicina (1782), the reform of a 10th century church, has a vaulted vault and a two-seater deck, and a neoclassical façade decorated with graffiti and crowned by a small bell tower.

The civil architecture, carried out mainly by academic architects, was gradually approaching Neoclassicism, as is seen in the College of Surgery of Barcelona (1762-1764), by Ventura Rodríguez, with a rectangular plant divided into two areas clearly Differentiated: a circular amphitheater that served as an anatomy classroom and an area of administrative and service units. In 1771 the new facade of the palace of the Viceroy was built, projected by the Count of Roncali, fully neoclassical; Reformed again in 1846 on the occasion of a visit by Isabel II, the date it happened to be the Royal Palace, it was destroyed by a fire in 1875. Between 1774 and 1802, the palace of La Llotja, with a project by Joan Soler i Faneca. From the gothic building it was only the contracting room, around which a new classicist building was erected that denotes a certain palladian influence. Another building tied to commerce was the Customs, built between 1790 and 1792 by the Count of Roncali, which features classicist features, although it still denotes the survival of Baroque decorativism; It has a façade with three openings, at the ends with a triangular pediment and center with a circular, and a stucco decoration imitating the marble.

The palaces of the time usually have a quadrangular floor plan, with a central courtyard accessed by a main hall, which usually stands out for a wide scale of honor. Some exponents are: the Virreina Palace (1772-1778), the construction of Josep Ausich on a project by Manuel d’Amat and Junyent, viceroy of Peru; the Sessa-Larrard palace (1772-1778), by Josep Ribas i Margarit; the Moja palace (1774-1789), by Josep Mas i Dordal; the palace Marc de Reus (1775), by Joan Soler i Faneca; and the Savassona Palace (1796), now the headquarters of the Ateneu Barcelonès. Between 1782 and 1784 the Episcopal palace was also expanded, with a new facade building in Plaça Nova, by Josep Mas i Dordal. It is also worth mentioning the Casa dels Gremi dels Velers or “casa de la Seda” (1758-1763), by Joan Garrido, a three level building that stands out for its decoration of sgraffiti, a good example of baroque decorativism.

The farmhouses continued with the lines outlined in the previous century, with some distinctive elements such as sgraffito decoration or two-tiled roofs with crowning mixtiline. The construction with a Catalan vault was also introduced at this time. Some examples are: Can Travi Nou, in Horta; Can Planas, in Les Corts, currently the famous Masia del Futbol Club Barcelona; Can Tusquets, in Gràcia; Can Fargas, in Horta; Can Raspall, in Sarrià; Can Rosés at Les Corts; Can Canet de la Riera, in Sarrià; Can Móra, in Horta; Can Sert, in Gràcia; Florida villa, in Sant Gervasi; and Can Querol, in Horta.

In the urban area, it is worth highlighting the construction in 1753 of the neighborhood of La Barceloneta, promoted by the Marquis de la Mina, which also repaired and expanded the port and encouraged the installation of the first public lighting system. Between 1776 and 1778 the urbanization of La Rambla was carried out, and the strolls of San Juan and de Gràcia were projected, although they were not carried out until the turn of the first century and from 1820 to 1827 the second. New street Carrer de la Rambla was also drawn up, on the initiative of the Count of the Assault (1778-1789). In 1797 the Paseo Nuevo or de la Explanada, located next to the military Citadel, was created, an ample avenue full of poplars and holms and decorated with ornamental fountains – of which the source of the ” Hercules -; For a time it was the main green space of the city, but it disappeared in the urbanization works of the Ciutadella Park.

Source From Wikipedia