Influences of Spanish Architecture in Mexico
Spanish expeditions conducted during the seventh and eighteenth century has brought a variety of architectural and artistic influences to the different indigenous regions of the New Americas. It is documented that "the Architecture of Mexico began with the Spanish conquest of the country." (Mullen, 18) The architecture of Mexico has exhibited much richness and wealth, has displayed the political and religious conditions of the time, and has showed off the countries beauty and grace through different artistic devices, mainly through the ornamentation of buildings. The architecture that developed in Mexico during the military expeditions and colonization of Mexico has brought forth many different types of architecture to Mexico, three in particular, Franciscan, Mexican Baroque and Spanish Colonial Architecture. Historians have documented that the Franciscan, Mexican Baroque and Spanish Colonial Architecture found in Mexico is, "the transfer of architectural forms, ideas and traditions brought from Spain to the Americas by Spanish settlers" (Grizzard, 167). Historians believe that, "Spanish colonial architecture was a period of transition from the Spanish Gothic to Spanish Renaissance" (Mullen, 76)
When observing the architecture found in Mexico one has to wonder about how much influence the Spanish Colonialists had on this country. Much of the influence the Spanish Colonialists had on Mexican Architecture came from their conquests over the Native Indians of the Americas. Historically, Mexico has been a war-torn religiously, socially, economically, and political areas of the country. As the Spanish Conquerors dominated the Natives, their influence spread thoroughly throughout the Americas. The result was an aristocratic government where the natives were not given any chance of self-expression. Under these conditions, it was natural for the Architecture of the New Americas to have been brought from Spain. As it has been found throughout the history of the Americas that, "the church [has] worked in conjunction with the military to dominate the Native Indians." (Behav, 306). Many of the buildings built by the church and the military have become monumental features of Mexico. The architecture that first pioneered its way through Mexico was the Franciscan order. Most of the buildings built during this period were "mostly fortresses and were strictly utilitarian, most of them being built in a Romanesque style" (Behav, 309). Churches built during this period usually had a dome along with a rectangular plan. This was the period of introduction to both domes and the cruciform plan in the New Americas. During the Spanish conquest through the Americas the conquistadores discovered mining as a valuable commodity in Mexico. Knowing how precious these metals were, the conquistadores forced the Indians to labor for large quantities of these precious minerals. The Spaniards also found lot of material available for the use of masonry. All of these conditions made it possible for the construction of many churches, palaces, houses, bridges, and aqueducts to have been built. The advancement of Spanish architecture in the New Americas incorporated different styles, which include Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, Moorish, Mudejar and the Churrigueresque orders. All these different orders of architecture brought from Spain have highly influenced the religious life of American Natives. There are three cities in Mexico in which I noticed an important significance of religious architecture in the community; these being Puebla, Cholula, and Tlaxcala, each colonial city displaying different styles of colonial architecture. The architecture in Puebla, Mexico is comprised of Franciscan and Mexican Baroque Architecture. The city of Puebla is found about 60 miles southeast of Mexico City. Throughout its history is has been known by various names: City of Angels, City of Tiles, and Heroic...
Cited: 1. Grizzard, Mary. Spanish Colonial Art and Architecture of Mexico and the U.S Southwest. New York: University Press of America, 1986
2. Mullen, Robert. Architecture and Its Sculpture in Vicegal Mexico. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1997.
3. Aceland, James H. "Building and Land" Canadian Architecture. (July 1996) 63-68
4. Brook, Jeff. "In Old Mexico." House Beautiful. (October 2000) 70, 72, 76, 78, 113
5. Behav, Richard. Colonial Architecture in Mexico. New York University Press, 1984
6. Neumeyer, Alfred. "The Indian Contribution to Architectural decoration in Spanish Colonial America." The Art Bulletin. (June 1948) 109-121
7. Kilham, Walter H. "Impressions of colonial Architecture in Mexico." Architectural Forum. (February 1921) 39-44, 85-90
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