Architectural temperance: Spaniards and Rome, 1700--1758
The present study examines the ancient concept of temperance as a social virtue and as a characteristic of Greco-Roman classical architecture. Throughout the history of western art, temperance has not only been an expressed concern of architects and writers on architecture, but also has functioned as an attribute and “guiding spirit” of design. Temperance will be examined as an artistic theme, as a middle quality or characteristic of a building, as a principle of proportional moderation and adjustment, and finally as a synthesizing and generative component of architectural design. The specific context within which these interpretations of temperance will be considered is Spanish architecture from 1700 to 1758 during the reigns of Philip V and Ferdinand VI, the first Bourbon monarchs in Spain. More precisely, the study will focus on the establishment of a program of architectural education at the newly founded Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando in Madrid. Though Spanish architecture during this period has been the subject of a great deal of study there remain a number of lesser-known architects whose contributions have not been properly recognized. Similarly, while the origins and early development of the Spanish Academy have also been well researched, there remain entire tranches of its history, in particular the first group of Spanish pensioners in Rome, that are still undocumented. This inquiry then will focus on the period between the foundation of the Madrid Academy in 1744 and its inauguration in 1752, and the subsequent establishment of a program of education in Rome in 1758. A number of intriguing architects, books and buildings that characterize the multiple instances in which temperance was exercised will be explored to demonstrate the depth to which that virtue pervaded architectural theory and practice in eighteenth-century Spain. Moreover, the activities of the first Spanish pensioners in Rome will be examined in order to show why a nation such as Spain would temper her own building traditions with the larger trends of Roman art—both ancient and modern—rather than cultivate her own national and regional architectural traditions.
0377: Art History