Pertaining to an ornate style of architecture of 16th century Spain suggestive of silver plate.
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This magnificent decoration, suggestive of the finest work in rare metals, is, in fact, called "plateresque," from its resemblance to the work of silversmiths.
Adjoining it is an equally venerable architectural masterpiece with an unusual elliptical plan, virtually unique in Mexico, the plateresque Chapel of the Third Order.
It was built using a rich mixture of architectural styles including late gothic, renaissance and plateresque with Indian motifs.
Worthy of admiration, too, are several old plateresque rococo altarpieces.
When this is grayed with age it is indeed of the effect of old silver work; but the plateresque in Valladolid does not suggest fragility or triviality; its grace is perhaps rather feminine than masculine; but at the worst it is only the ultimation of the decorative genius of the Gothic.
Plateresque, meaning "in the manner of a silversmith" (plata being silver in Spanish), was an artistic movement, especially architectural, developed in Spain and its territories, which appeared between the late Gothic and early Renaissance in the late 15th century, and spread over the next two centuries. It is a modification of Gothic spatial concepts and an eclectic blend of Mudéjar, Flamboyant Gothic and Lombard decorative components, as well as Renaissance elements of Tuscan origin.
Examples of this syncretism are the inclusion of shields and pinnacles on facades, columns built in the Renaissance neoclassical manner, and facades divided into three parts (in Renaissance architecture they are divided into two). It reached its peak during the reign of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, especially in Salamanca, but also flourished in other such cities of the Iberian Peninsula as León and Burgos and in the territory of New Spain, which is now Mexico.
Plateresque has been considered down to current times a Renaissance style by many scholars. To others, it is its own style, and sometimes receives the designation of Protorenaissance. Some even call it First Renaissance in a refusal to consider it as a style in itself, but to distinguish it from non-Spanish Renaissance works.
The style is characterized by ornate decorative facades covered with floral designs, chandeliers, festoons, fantastic creatures and all sorts of configurations. The spatial arrangement, however, is more clearly Gothic-inspired. This fixation on specific parts and their spacing, without structural changes of the Gothic pattern, causes it to be often classified as simply a variation of Renaissance style. In New Spain the Plateresque acquired its own configuration, clinging tightly to its Mudéjar heritage and blending with Native American influences.
In Spain its development is most remarkable in the city of Salamanca although examples are found in most regions of the country.
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