The Renaissance marked the artistic and cultural transition from the Middle Ages to the Modern period.
It was rooted in Humanism, a European current of thought that placed the human being at the centre of the Universe, but without losing the idea of God.
Notable Humanist thinkers include Erasmus of Rotterdam, Machiavelli and Thomas More.
The Renaissance brought great advances in science, technology and economics.
It was a time of great voyages of exploration and geographic discoveries.
Sciences, art and philosophy expanded with ease thanks to printing and engraving.
The Renaissance looked back to the classical world of Greece and Rome rather than the medieval world.
It emerged in Florence, Italy, and developed over the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, with artists such as Fra Angelico, Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo and Raphael.
In Spain, the Renaissance coincided with the reigns of the Catholic Monarchs, Charles V and Philip II,
The Catholic Monarchs commissioned the architect Bramante to erect the temple of San Pietro in Montorio in Rome.
In Spain, Renaissance architecture developed around three styles.
The Plateresque is uniquely Spanish, highly decorative, and recalls the meticulous work of silversmiths on metal. Examples are the Monterrey Palace in Salamanca, the work of the renowned architect Rodrigo Gil de Hontañón, the façade of the University of Salamanca and the Hospital of the Catholic Monarchs in Santiago de Compostela, built by Enrique Egas.
Purism takes on an Italian style of architecture It can be seen in the Palace of Charles V inside the Alhambra in Granada.
Úbeda and Baeza, in Jaén, are symbols of this style with examples such as the Church of the Saviour, by the architect Diego de Siloé, and the Hospital of Santiago, commissioned to Andrés de Vandelvira.
Also noteworthy are the Baeza Cathedral and the Granada Cathedral.
The Herrerian style reflects the sobriety, the centralist disposition and the religious depth of Philip II.
The monastery of El Escorial is the utmost example of this, built by Juan Bautista de Toledo and Juan de Herrera.
Other noteworthy examples include Madrid’s Plaza Mayor, the Valladolid Cathedral, the Monastery of Uclés, the Ducal Palace of Lerma and the Royal College of Salamanca.
In painting, the Spanish Renaissance highlights figures such as el Greco, Pedro Berruguete, Titian, painter of the court of Charles V, and Alonso Sanchez Coello, chamber painter for Philip II.