Rococo in Spain

In the 18th century, the Spanish Baroque moving towards a more ornate style. Sculpture, painting and carving blend with the architecture, sometimes to encourage classical architectural schemes that remain in force in floors and elevations. Facing the outside, usually austere, are creates vibrant interiors. This late-Baroque which employs profusely ornamental motifs as acanthus leaf, of Classical roots, begins to soak in the 1730s from the influence of French Rococo, exemplified mainly in the dissemination of a new decorative motif: the rocaille (the French rocaille), consisting of complicated sets of “C” and “S” that generate asymmetrical shapes and also remind marine forms. The rocaille became known in Spain through three main ways: dissemination through the pattern books, the importation of furniture and other decorative arts from Europe and its direct brought hand of foreign architects, case of the Portuguese Cayetano de Acosta.

Thus, for the Spanish case it is difficult to speak of the existence of a pure Rococo but, rather, a late-Baroque that borrows elements of the French Rococo. The generic name of Rococo for the Spanish art of the 18th century due to an outdated tendency to consider the Rococo as the logical evolution of the Baroque. Keep in mind that this style was born in France, where the art of the previous century, known as the Grand Siécle was substantially different to the Spanish case, for its character more classicist. Therefore, the style born as rather more like reaction than as an evolution of 17th century French. Moreover, the Rococo is an art eminently bourgeois and secular, difficult to reconcile with the religious art, the most abundant of the Spanish Baroque. This traditional terminological confusion has contributed to the presence in the 18th century Spanish XVIII of Italian architects and solutions brought of Italian Baroque (more moved in ground), but outside the Rococo but confused with it.

However, apart of the questionable footprint of the Rococo in the 18th century Spanish religious art, it is possible to trace some examples of Rococo in Spain, mainly in civil typologies and, especially, in the Court area, at the heat of the new Bourbon dynasty.

Architecture and reredos
In the Courtly atmosphere of Madrid are between the most beautiful examples of Spanish Rococo. In the Royal Palace of Madrid, commissioned by Philip V of Spain in 1738, is the superbs Salón de Gasparini and Salón de Porcelana halls. In the same palace found the Salón del Trono hall, an impressive set many examples of rococo furniture as the twelve monumental mirrors accompanied by its respective consoles and the royal throne. In Aranjuez, find a singular piece in the Salón de Porcelana hall of the Royal Palace of Aranjuez, jewel richly decorated at the time of Carlos III of Spain with chinoiserie motifs very appreciate due orientalizing and exotic of the Rococo. Also in the capital of Spain are some temples which are influenced in the Rococo, like Basílica Pontificia de San Miguel, designed by Italian architect Santiago Bonavía in 1739.

From 1730, the impact of the French Rococo is perceived in the Spanish Baroque. Retablistas and architects incorporate rockery as a decorative motif, although they use it in structures with a marked Baroque character. Therefore, except in a few examples, it is risky to talk about the existence of an authentic Rococo in Spain, despite the fact that the eighteenth-century decorative waste of this style has often been associated.

In Valencia highlights the Palace of the Marqués de Dos Aguas (1740-1744), with a facade designed by the painter and engraver Hipólito Rovira and executed by Ignacio Vergara y Luis Domingo, certainly one of the key buildings of the Spanish Rococo.

Regarding the architecture of reredos, some of the rereders that were seduced by the rocaille were Narciso Tomé and Portuguese-born Cayetano de Acosta, always working under such a typology characteristic of Spanish Baroque as is the reredo.

Palace of the Marqués de Dos Aguas in Valencia
Salón de Gasparini hall in the Royal Palace of Madrid
Gabinete de Porcelana hall in the Royal Palace of Aranjuez
Real Colegiata de La Granja de San Idelfonso in San Ildefonso
Chapel de los Dolores of the Iglesia de la Purificación church in La Iglesuela del Cid
The portal of the Charterhouse of Aula Dei

Like 18th-century Spanish painters, close to Rococo but of Academicist trend, highlight Luis Egidio Meléndez and Luis Paret y Alcázar; also the Italian Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, who worked in Spain along with Anton Raphael Mengs.

Also highlight the painting works by Antoni Viladomat and Francesc Tramulles i Roig, a Viladomat’s disciple and less known because of the ephemeral nature of his work. Francesc Pla i Duran, known as “el Vigatà” showed a slight influence of the Rococo in paintings of the Palau Moja in Barcelona, although the rest of his work have to place it within a Baroque language.

They can be considered transitional painters, but with an atmosphere and a chromatic delicacy that announces the new Rococo sensibility that was beginning to triumph in Rome, Naples and Venice, some of the works of Miguel Jacinto Meléndez (1675-1734) or young painters of camera Juan Bautista Peña (1710-1773) and, more sharply, the Aragonese Pablo Pernicharo (1705-1760), who, pensioners in Rome and disciples of Agostino Masucci , show in their works of 1740 a symbiosis between the academic baroque and rococo.

Gaya Nuño , in a 1970 article, 2 estimated that the Rococo current had had little acceptance in Spain because of the hindrance that the last Spanish Baroque had made, a genuine national creation unlike the imported Rococo. In him, to his understanding, scarce rococo Spanish, the painting had developed paradoxically in full reign of the Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando and had manifested in a reduced and blurred in the cartons for tapestries of Goya , Francisco and Ramón Bayeu or José del Castillo , and especially in an extraordinary rococo painter, Luis Paret y Alcázar . A decade later Jesús UrreaHe outlined an Introduction to Rococo painting in Spain and defended the existence of such pictorial current and gave some of the lines of study and interpretation of it. 3

The contributions and achievements of the Spanish painters trained in Italy in the atmosphere of academic and rococo baroque renovation ( Hipólito Rovira (1693-1765), José Luzán Martínez (1710-1785) and Antonio González Velázquez (1723-1793)
The presence of great Italian painters in the court of Madrid mid-century ( Michel-Ange Houasse , Bartolomeo Rusca , Jacopo Amigoni , Corrado Giaquinto , Giovanni Battista Tiepolo ), with his vast decorative achievements and his teachings in the reign of Ferdinand VI and in the first stage of Carlos III .
As Spanish painters of the 18th century, close to the Rococo but of academicist tendency, Luis Meléndez and Luis Paret stand out ; also the Italian Giovanni Battista Tiepolo , who worked in Spain with Mengs .

Disciple of José Luzán and then of Corrado Giaquinto is the Aragonese Juan Ramírez de Arellano (1725-1782), who is strongly influenced by the latter, but left painting for music. Younger painter who would later go to Mengs’ orbit and was trained in the rococo was the Valencian Mariano Salvador Maella ; within the rococo aesthetic, but apart from the environment created by Giaquinto, two French painters arrived at different times in Spain; the first was Charles-Joseph Flipart (1721-1797), a painter and engraver who came to Spain in 1748 accompanying his teacher Jacopo Amigoni and was a chamber painter in 1753; the other was Charles-François de la Traverse(1726-1787), who was in Madrid accompanying the French ambassador Marqués de Ossun and decided to stay; He was a disciple of Boucher , had resided in Rome pensioned and was a teacher of Luis Paret.

Also noteworthy is the pictorial work of Antonio Viladomat and Francesc Tramulles Roig , a disciple of the previous one and less known due to the ephemeral nature of his work. Francesc Pla , known as “el Vigatà”, showed a slight influence of the Rococo in the paintings of the Moja Palace in Barcelona, ​​although the rest of his work must be placed within a baroque language . Other painters of this tendency were Antonio’s brothers, Luis González Velázquez (1715-1763) and Alejandro González Velázquez (1719-1772), the Spaniard of Aragonese descent and disciple of Giaquinto José del Castillo (1737-1793); the AragoneseJuan Ramírez de Arellano (1725-1782) and the Valencian José Camarón y Boronat (1731-1803). In Seville the rococo is infected by the Murillo influence in the work of Juan de Espinal (1714-1783). 4

El Quitasol by Francisco Goya
The Entierro de la Sardina (a fiesta), by Francisco de Goya
Charles III dining in presence of his Court by Luis Paret y Alcázar
Spring by Antoni Viladomat
El Majo de la guitarra by Ramón Bayeu. Currently in Museo del Prado
Bodegón con trozo de salmón, un limón y tres vasijas by Luis Egidio Meléndez
Christopher Columbus offering treasures of the Indies to the Catholic Monarchs by Antonio González Velázquez
Elegant Company Preparing for a Masked Ball by Luis Paret y Alcázar
Las parejas reales (an equestrian fiesta held in Aranjuez) by Luis Paret y Alcázar in 1770. Currently in Museo del Prado.

Starting from the post-baroque sculpture of national inspiration known as churrigueresca by the sculptors José Benito Churriguera and his brothers Joaquín and Alberto , it is necessary to mention the importance that Rococo aesthetics reached in the decorative arts and in the luxurious and sumptuous furniture of monumental mirrors and living rooms porcelain like those in the Royal Palaces of Madrid and Aranjuez. In terms of wood carving highlights the Murcia Francisco Salzillo , inspired by the delicate forms of the Rococo and famous for its Italianate nativity scenes; You can also include Francisco Hurtado Izquierdo, also architect of Churrigueresco. On the other hand, the greatest concentration of Rococo sculpture in Spain is in Segovia , in the Royal Palace of the Granja de San Ildefonso , where the mythological scenes stand out. Also, in Madrid, the fountain of Neptune and Cibeles , both the result of the collaboration of several talents.