Neoclassical Architecture in Spain

The rise of Neoclassical architecture in Spain accompanied the rise of what came to be known as the Enlightenment. Backed by the emerging Bourgeois class, the multi-faceted movement shunned the frivolous lifestyles of Spain's aristocracy. On the architectural front, for example, the Enlightment frowned upon the extravagant Baroque architecture- a favorite of Spain's aristocratic high and mighty.

Instead, the Enlightenment - along with its accompanying artistic expressions - encouraged a return to the purity, logic, philosophy and balance of ancient Italy and Greece. In terms of architecture, the Enlightment manifested itself in the form of Neoclassical architecture.

Neoclassical architects did away with unnecessary things in favor of symmetry, simplicity and functionality. Columns, for example, recuperated their original value as supports; clean, basic lines replaced dramatic curves; and an emphasis on influencing and enriching lives replaced frivolous aesthetics. For this reason, the majority of the examples of Neoclassical architecture in Spain are found housing libraries, schools, hospitals, etc. Monumental in scale and appearance, the return to the symmetry and basic forms of antiquity give Neoclassical buildings an undeniable air of academia.