Six Spanish Cities: their history, art & architecture

The six cities covered in this course are: Córdoba, Santiago de Compostela, Granada, Seville, Madrid and Barcelona. Using a variety of images, we will begin with a potted history of Spain. This will be followed by a survey of the historical events that shaped each city in turn. We will examine some of the art and architecture associated with each city. No previous knowledge of Spanish history art or architecture assumed!

1 The history, art and architecture of Córdoba
In the first talk, we will have a potted history of Spain from neolithic times to the present day.
In the second talk we will survey the history of Córdoba, with our focus on Roman and Islamic architecture in particular the Mezquita.

2 The history, art and architecture of Santiago de Compostela
In these talks, we will consider the phenomenon of the Camino in the early middle ages and the development of Santiago de Compostela as a destination for pilgrims. Our architectural focus will be the great cathedral of Santiago and in particular its sculptural decoration.

3 The history, art and architecture of Granada
These talks will present a survey of Granada’s history with our focus on the late middle ages. This period saw the construction of the Alhambra followed by the fall of Granada to the Catholic kings in 1492 and the subsequent building of the palace of Charles V and the cathedral.

4 The history, art and architecture of Seville
In this session, our first talk will present a survey of the history of Seville with explanation of how the city’s significant architecture such as the Alcazar and cathedral fit into its story. Our second talk will focus on the early work of Sevillano, Diego Velázquez and other painters who lived and worked in Seville in the 1600s including Murillo.

5 The history, art and architecture of Madrid
We will trace the history of Madrid from Roman times to the present day over the course of both talks. We will focus on the development of Madrid as the capital of Spain under the Habsburgs and consider El Escorial, their huge palace cum dynastic mausoleum. We will also examine in detail some of the paintings by Goya who lived in Madrid and who commemorated some of the key events in the city’s history in his work.

6 The history, art and architecture of Barcelona
Our course will conclude with two talks focussing on Barcelona. We will begin by surveying its history from Roman times through to the present day, and we will follow this with a talk on the architect Antoni Gaudí and the Sagrada Familia.

Course Details

This course finished on 10 February 2023