CULTURE: ART. PREHISTORY
There are extensive finds from the Iron Age, in which the rich Iberian civilization appeared, widespread in eastern and southern Spain. The Greek civilization is testified above all in Ampurias, where it was excavated – next to the later Roman city of Emporiae – the Greek settlement of Néa Pólis with the agora, public buildings and private houses; from Ampurias are valuable Greek figured vases The presence of the Phoenicians and then the Carthaginians is documented by some necropolises, including that of Cádice (a city that seems to preserve the Phoenician-Punic urban layout) and Ibiza in the Balearics (where the rock sanctuary of Cueva d’es Cuyram has given many clay statuettes); the findings consist of statuettes, ivories, amulets, glass pastes, jewels. Remarkable are the remains of Roman Spain. Archaeological centers are, in addition to Emporiae, Sagunto, with Iberian remains in the “Castillo” and a beautiful Roman theater; Italica (amphitheater, baths, houses, as well as various finds exhibited at the Seville Museum); Numantia, where the remains of the Roman city, interesting for its urban layout, overlap those of the Celtiberian city (materials in the Soria Museum, including interesting painted vases). Important monumental complexes are in Tarragona (Tarraco), which preserves its imposing circuit of walls from two different eras and the remains of the Palacio de Augusto, and in Mérida (Emerita Augusta), with theater, amphitheater, long bridge over the Guadiana (partly rebuilt) and Trajan’s arch. Honorary arches are also in Bará on the Roman road from Barcelona to Tarragona, and in Medinaceli (Oscilis); a large Roman palace has been excavated in Clunia Sulpicia, the ruins of which are near Coruña del Conde in Old Castile. In Carmona (Carmo) there is an important Roman necropolis, in Vich (Ausa) a very weathered temple. Impressive engineering works of the sec. I and II d. C. are the bridges of Salamanca (partly redone) preceded by an Iberian bull, of Martorell near Barcelona with triumphal arches, and the famous one of Trajan on the Tagus in Alcántara, with a triumphal arch in the center and a small temple at the entrance. More numerous than in other Roman provinces are the aqueducts (sometimes called “bridges of the devil” or “miracles”) including those of Calahorra (Calagurris Nassica, homeland of Quintilian), of Seville, of Chelvez near Valencia with a three-arched bridge; of Tarragona, of Mérida with large water basins; the largest is in Segovia, with a long and high stone bridge with several orders of arches. From the end of the century. III and sec. IV are the walls built to resist the barbarian invasions: imposing remains are preserved in Zaragoza (Caesaraugusta), in Barcelona (Barcíno, where there are also monumental remains of thermal baths and other public and private buildings) and above all in Coria (Caurium) and in Lugo (Lucus Augusti); the walls are fortified by solid towers. In the field of figurative arts (statues, reliefs, portraits; mosaics are also noteworthy) Spain is among the Roman provinces closest to the art of Rome, especially for the works of Betica and for Mérida, which was the seat of sculptural workshops; in some other regions Iberian and Celtic persistence is more evident. The epigraphic heritage is also of considerable importance.
CULTURE: ART. FROM THE EARLY CHRISTIAN PERIOD TO THE 10TH CENTURY
According to plus-size-tips, there is little evidence of early Christian architecture, while more significant are, in the sec. IV and V, the examples offered by sculpture (statues of the Good Shepherd, carved sarcophagi) and mosaics (Tarragona, Mallorca, Huesca), some of which reveal North African influences. During the Visigothic period (5th-7th century) the confluence of North African (especially Betic) and Byzantine influences led to the slow development of a Spanish pre-Romanesque art. To the sec. V-VI date back to the churches of Aljezares (Murcia) and S. Pedro de Alcántara (Málaga); more numerous those of the century. VII, characterized by a massive wall structure and apses rectangular (S. Juan de Baños in Palencia; S. Pedro de la Mata in Toledo; S. Pedro de la Nave in Zamora). Sculpture in the Visigothic period had an exclusively decorative function, connected to architecture, with a prevalence of geometric motifs and the presence of oriental elements, which can be seen both in the sarcophagi (from Burgos, Oviedo, etc.) and in some types of capitals. The qualitative level of the minor arts is high, especially the goldsmith’s art, in which we note the progressive transformation of the barbarian taste under the Byzantine influences (treasures of Guarrazar and Torredonjimeno, whose specimens are now in the museums of Madrid, Paris, Barcelona, Cordoba). The Arab invasion (8th century) divided Spain into two parts, with important cultural and artistic consequences. In the Christian states of the North, the Visigothic tradition developed in Asturian art, with manifestations destined to flow into the broader scope of the Romanesque. The oldest example of Asturian art is the church of Santiañes de Pravia (774-783), but its most important manifestations took place during the reign of Ramiro I (842-850), with the churches of S. Maria de Naranco, S. Miguel de Lillo, S. Cristina de Lena, all near Oviedo. These churches, vaulted, with buttresses and large windows, have an oriental-type sculptural decoration and remarkable frescoes (especially those of the church of S. Julián de los Prados). Asturian art continued, with manifestations of lesser importance, until the century. X; the religious goldsmithing of this period is distinguished by some masterpieces, preserved in the Holy Chamber of Oviedo, which recall the contemporary Ottonian style. In the southern regions of Spain, dominated by Islamic kingdoms, it developed until the century. XV Moorishart, with an extraordinary flowering destined to leave important traces even after the Christian reconquest in the so-called Mudejar art. Many of the Hispano-Moorish buildings have disappeared due to the destruction carried out by the Reconquista or subsequent transformations. The main monuments left, from the mosque of Cordoba (8th-10th centuries) to the Alhambra in Granada, to the Alcázars of Seville and Toledo, appear of the highest quality, even if one cannot strictly speak of a local art, given that the fundamental architectural elements appear similar to those of other Arab countries. The contribution of Islamic culture in the field of minor arts was very remarkable: in furniture, in metalworking (niellated, chiseled), in weapons (Zaragoza, Toledo, Granada), in stamped leather (Cordova), in carpets, in enamelled glass. and gilded and above all in the famous glazed majolica with metallic luster. In the sec. IX-XI, the so-called Mozarabic art also flourished in the territories of Muslim domination, that is, a Christian art strongly permeated with Islamic elements, as can be seen in the use of the horseshoe arch. Among the various churches left are S. Miguel de Escalada (León), Santiago de Peñalba (León), S. Millán de la Cogolla (Logroño), S. María de Melque (Toledo). The production of illuminated manuscripts is also flourishing (Apocalypse of Beato di Lievana, by Magio, 10th century).