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(plătərĕsk`) [Span.,=silversmith], earliest phase of Spanish Renaissance architecture and decoration, in the early 16th cent. Its richness of effect was primarily based upon the work of the Italian Renaissance, mingled, however, with surviving Moorish and late Gothic design. In characteristic Spanish decorative spirit, structure received little emphasis, while doorways and other details displayed clusters of ornament against a foil of bare wall space. Columns in candelabrum form were among the favorite motifs, as were pilasters enriched with arabesque reliefs and topped with free Corinthianesque capitals, columns with bracketed capitals, heraldic escutcheons, and fancifully twisted scrolls. It was in the plateresque period that Spanish workers in wrought iron reached an unlimited technical skill, translating Renaissance motifs into terms of metalwork to form the superb rejas of the churches (see rejeríarejería
, the art of making iron screens and grilles, developed in Spain from the Romanesque period through the Renaissance. It employs chiseled and hammered metal as well as wrought iron.
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). Among the great plateresque buildings are the town hall at Seville, the university at Alcalá de Henares, and the cathedral at Granada by Diego de Siloe. From the latter half of the 16th cent. a much more classical and restrained form of Renaissance design supplanted the plateresque.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(literally, suggestive of silver plate), an architectural style of the Spanish Renaissance. The plateresque style, which arose at the end of the 15th century, had at its basis elaborate architectural ornament. It is distinguished by attention to detail and a two-dimensional, “rug-like” character. Plateresque ornament played no structural role. It was used first with late Gothic forms and later with Renaissance forms. The early plateresque style, which characterized the work of the architects J. Guas, S. de Colonia, and E. de Egas, combined Gothic and Mudejar motifs. Late plateresque ornament, for example, that of the architects A. de Covarrubias, D. de Riaño, and others from the 1530’s, was marked increasingly by such Italian Renaissance motifs as garlands and medallions. Also prevalent were classical elements that lent a certain discipline without disturbing the general impression of festive decorativeness. In the late 16th century the plateresque style was superseded in most regions by the ascetically severe estilo desornamentado, or Herreran style.


Camón Aznar, J. La arquitectura plateresca, vols. 1–2. Madrid, 1945.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.