It is very difficult to achieve a synthesis of this architecture, whose artistic significance has had moments of real importance in the history of art, spreading beyond the limits of the island in the XIV and XV centuries. A complete study must be divided under at least four headings: religious, military, civil and domestic.
Religious Architecture. This reaches its peak in the centuries of Gothic art, as the Romanesque was already declining by the time of the Christian conquest of Jaime I (1229); and within these centuries, to the years of the independent monarchy of Majorca. Famous examples of the Majorcan Gothic architecture are the Cathedral, Santa Eulalia and San Francisco, all three products of the great cultural and economic progress of the independent monarchy of Majorca. In the Baroque period, especially in the XVIII century, Majorcan art reaches a new splendour in a few isolated churches the best of these being San Antonio de Viana, in Palma and in the many altar-places which enrich the churches.
Military Architecture also dates from the time of the Majorcan Kings. Its most interesting monuments are the castle of Bellver and the palace of Almudaina (closely connected with the Royal Palace at Perpinan), the walls of Alcudia, now being restored, and the fortified castles, of which the most important is Santueri (Felanitx).
Civil Architecture has one fundamental example to the history of Gothic art: the Lonja in Palma, an expression of maritime power in the city, the exchange and commercial centre between Italy and the Atlantic ports. Its creator, Guillermo Sa-grera, is the centre of a school of architecture, who working in Rosellon, Naples and in Sicily, determines the only moment in the history of art in which Spain influences Italy and not the reverse.
The Domestic Architecture of Majorca has two aspects, both equally interesting, noble architecture and popular architecture. The first is best expressed in the large palaces of the nobility, to be found in the city, built between the XIV and XVIII centuries, in styles ranging from gothic to late baroque, and also the country estates, built in the Italian style, and without equal in the Peninsula. The gardens are very beautiful and there survives in them, by some phenomenon, the moorish-oriental spirit. The popular architecture of Majorca is clearly influenced by the Greek, the Roman and the Italian. It is functional, aesthetically suitable to the landscape, and it has a harmony with nature, contrasting with the architecture of Menorca and Ibiza, which has a strong eastern flavour (due in part to their covered terraces and whitewashed walls). The Majorcan type often has a covered central patio with curved tiles and rubble-work walls of natural stone. (ANTONIO J. ALOMAR, Architect.)
MAJORCAN ARCHITECTURE Photo Gallery
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