Enlightenment Erasure: The Lost Seventeenth Century in Spanish Architectural History

Jesús Escobar*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article addresses the curious absence of seventeenth-century buildings in traditional histories of Spanish architecture. Beginning with the Noticias de los arquitectos y la arquitectura en España, a foundational work published in 1829, the article traces the legacy of a Spanish Enlightenment myth about the seventeenth century as a time of a weak monarchy whose overly ornamental architecture can be understood as a reflection of political decadence. The article surveys nineteenth and twentieth-century responses to the Noticias by Spanish, German, and English-language scholars, proposing that the existing scholarship’s overriding concern with style be replaced with a renewed focus on the institutions and individuals who shaped architectural undertakings in the transatlantic realm of the Spanish Habsburgs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)430-451
Number of pages22
JournalHispanic Research Journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2022


  • Architecture
  • arquitectura
  • baroque
  • barroco
  • Enlightenment
  • España
  • estilo
  • Habsburg
  • Habsburgo
  • historiografía
  • historiography
  • la Ilustración
  • neoclasicismo
  • neoclassicism
  • Spain
  • style

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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