The Plaza Mayor and the Shaping of Baroque Madrid

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November 2003



Jesus Escobar's examination of the transformation of Madrid (from a secondary market town to the capital of the worldwide Spanish Hapsburg empire) focuses on the planning and building of Madrid's principal public monument, the Plaza Mayor. It is based on the analysis of archival documents and architectural drawings, as well as the surviving fabric of the city itself. Escobar demonstrates how the development of the city square and its surroundings reflects the bureaucratic nature of the government that chose Madrid in 1561 to serve as the capital of Spain.


1. Madrid, town and court; 2. Architecture and bureaucracy; 3. Sixteenth-century initiatives; 4. The panaderia and its impact; 5. Seventeenth-century reforms; 6. The plaza mayor as political symbol.


Jesus Escobar is Associate Professor in the Department of Art History at Northwestern University and a specialist in the art, architecture, and urbanism of early modern Spain, Italy, and the Spanish world. His book The Plaza Mayor and the Shaping of Baroque Madrid won the Eleanor Tufts Award from the American Society for Hispanic Art Historical Studies and has been revised in a Spanish-language edition (Editorial Nerea, 2008). He is currently at work on a book project that examines architectural and urban interventions in seventeenth-century Madrid from a local and transatlantic perspective.


'Jesus Escobar's book, The Plaza Mayor and the Shaping of Baroque Madrid, is a thorough examination of the Plaza Mayor and the roots of its development, marking it as one of the most important architectural advancements of seventeenth-century Spain. Through careful analysis of a variety of sources including drawings, etchings, paintings, archival documents and the remains of the city itself, the books illustrates how the Plaza Mayor became central to the architecture as well as the social and cultural fabric of Madrid, the capital of the Spanish Habsburg empire worldwide. Escobar succeeds in placing this monument in the context of broader debates about urban design and absolutism, uniting the world of Spain and the Americas. The committee was particularly impressed by the thoroughness of his research, rigor of his arguments, and significance of his findings. This book makes an important contribution to the study of Spanish architectural history, it fills a need for a book in English on the topic, and will likely remain an authoritative reference on the Plaza Mayor and the growth of Madrid as a ceremonial and political capital for years to come.' Eleanor Tufts Award Committee 'The book is very well written and the impressive amount of archival material is presented very clearly and succinctly with flashes of humour which do not detract from its profound scholarship.' Art Newspaper '... the first to offer a detailed and fully contextualized account of the square's construction. ... Solid and well documented throughout, this elegant volume also brings much-needed attention to what was - and remains - one of Europe's premier urban spaces.' Journal of Urban History
EAN: 9780521815079
ISBN: 052181507X
Untertitel: New. Sprache: Englisch.
Erscheinungsdatum: November 2003
Seitenanzahl: 376 Seiten
Format: gebunden
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