Education in Spain

Spain – education

Following the constitutional amendment in 1978, the education system with four laws in the period 1983-95 has been fundamentally changed; the most recent reform was implemented in 2002. Decentralization and democratization are key words in this transition, which in practice has meant that Catalan, Galician and Basque are now also taught alongside Spanish. The private, most often Catholic, schools make up approximately A quarter.

After a voluntary preschool for 3-6-year-olds, a ten-year free, compulsory schooling course is divided into Educación Primaria for 6-12-year-olds and Educación Secundaria Obligatoria for 12-16-year-olds. The subsequent education for 16-18-year-olds is followed by approximately three quarters of all young people and is divided into the general upper secondary Bachillerato (approximately 60%) and the vocational education Formación Profesional Específica de Grado Medio (approximately 40%).

Admission to university studies is obtained after a special entrance examination, Pruebas de Aptitud para el Acceso a la Universidad. There are 62 universities; of these, the vast majority are public (1999). The oldest is the private university in Salamanca, established in 1134 and with university status from 1218. approximately half of the universities were established after 1968 in connection with the regionalization of education and an increased search for higher education. With just over 4% of the population in higher education, Spain has one of the highest levels of activity in Europe (1995).

OFFICIAL NAME: Kingdom of Spain


POPULATION: 46,500,000 (Source: COUNTRYaah)

AREA: 505,992 km²

OFFICIAL LANGUAGE (S): Spanish (Castilian), Catalan, Galician, Basque

RELIGION: Catholics 98%, Muslims 1%, Protestants (especially Pentecostals) 1%

COIN: Euro



POPULATION COMPOSITION: Spanish nationals 98% (of which Catalans 17%, Galicians 7%, Basques 2%), others (especially Moroccans and Britons) 2%

GDP PER residents: $ 33,094 (2013)

LIFE EXPECTANCY: men 78 years, women 84 years (2010)




Spain, (sp. España, from lat. Hispania), is a kingdom in southwestern Europe, which includes most of the Iberian Peninsula, the Balearic Islands and some small islands in the Mediterranean, the Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean and the enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla located in Morocco on the north African coast, as well as a smaller enclave, Llívia, located immediately north of the border with France.

  • Find two-letter abbreviation for each independent country and territory, such as ES which stands for Spain.

Spain is in area Europe’s fourth largest country and with its language and culture has shaped large parts of the world by virtue of a past as a rich colonial power.

The history of Spain is marked by Roman and Arab influence, and Spain became in the 1500-t. a European superpower that built a large empire of overseas possessions, especially in Latin America, to which Spain still has close economic and cultural relations.

Spain’s wealth and position of power in Europe dived drastically from the 1600’s. and forward; in the 1900’s. triggered regional and political tensions civil war in the country followed by a dictatorship 1939-75 and an isolated position in Europe.

It was not until 1978 that Spain gained a democratic constitution, which at the same time opened up for regional autonomy. Spain has been a member of the EU since 1986 and has been a high-growth country through the 1990’s and until 2007. In 2010, the country ranked as number 12 on the list of rich countries by GDP per capita. resident. However, the crisis hit Spain as well as other southern European countries particularly hard in the first half of the 2010’s, and by 2013 the country had fallen to number 30 on the list.

Spain – language

Spain has four main languages: Spanish or Castilian, Catalan, Galician and Basque. The latter three became official languages ​​alongside Spanish in the 1980’s in the respective regions, Catalonia, Galicia and the Basque Country. It is estimated that a total of 36% of the population have one of these languages ​​as their mother tongue and are bilingual with Spanish. In addition to the standard Castilian language, Spanish includes the main dialects of Leonese, Aragonese, and Andalusian. In the district of Val d’Aran in NW Catalonia, the local variant of the Occitan official language is in line with Spanish and Catalan.

Spain – religion

The first Christian congregations originated in the cities of León, Zaragoza, Mérida and Tarragona. The Visigoths, who conquered Spain in the early 500’s, were Aryans (see Arian strife), but in 589 converted to Catholicism.

In the areas under Muslim rule (711-1492), Islam and Christianity existed side by side without major conflicts. I 900-1100-t. several churches and monasteries were founded throughout Spain. The Inquisition, established in 1233 by Pope Gregory IX, played no special role in Spain until the Catholic royal couple Isabella and Ferdinand in 1478 persuaded Pope Sixtus IV to establish a special Spanish Inquisition that existed until 1834. The Jesuit order played a special role. . It was founded in Spain in 1534 and previously held a dominant position in all parts of the education system.

In Spain, the Catholic Church and the state have been very closely linked since the Reconquista, right up until the new democratic constitution of 1978 formally separated state and church, though during the 1st and 2nd republics interrupted by waves of violent anticlericalism. Under the Franco regime, the Catholic organization Opus Dei gained considerable influence; thus, 10 out of 19 members of the government in Franco’s last year were members of Opus Dei.

The influence and significance of the Church in Spain is fading today; it is difficult to recruit young people to the seminars, and the popular commitment, especially in the big cities, is weak. However, the vast majority of the population still has an affiliation with the Catholic Church. Muslims, Protestants (especially Pentecostals) and others make up less than 2% of the population (2000).

Spain – constitution and political system

Spain is according to the 1978 constitution a constitutional, hereditary monarchy, where the monarch is head of state and the country’s highest representative internationally, but otherwise his position is defined as clearly apolitical and neutral.

Legislative power lies with a two-chamber parliament, the Cortes Generales, consisting of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate. The number of deputies is variable, between 300 and 400, and the number is determined on the basis of the development of the population of the 50 provinces into which Spain is administratively divided into regions. Deputies are elected by universal suffrage for four years or less if Parliament is dissolved prematurely.

The Senate has 259 members, of which 208 are elected for four years by general election, while the rest are elected by the Assemblies of the Autonomous Regions also for four years. According to the Constitution, the Senate must be a territorial representation, ie. represent the autonomous units that make up Spain, and whose degree of autonomy, if any. will increase in the coming decades.

Of the 17 regions, seven consist of just one province, while the other ten regions are formed by two or more provinces. However, only approximately 20% of senators from the regions. The rest are chosen mainly from the 48 mainland provinces (four from each), however, 20 are chosen from the Balearic Islands, the Canary Islands and the enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla.

The Chamber of Deputies has priority in legislation and the decision-making process in relation to the Senate. The executive power lies with the prime minister, who is formally appointed by the monarch after consultation with parliament. The Chamber of Deputies can force the resignation of the Prime Minister following a vote of no confidence.

Each of Spain’s 17 autonomous regions, the most important of which is Catalonia, the Basque Country and Galicia, elects a Legislative Assembly (unicameral), which appoints a president from among its own members. Each of the 50 provinces has a designated governor and an elected council. In addition to a Supreme Court, Spain has a constitutional court that monitors compliance with the constitution. Check youremailverifier for Spain social condition facts.

Spain – political parties

After Francisco Franco’s death, party formation was again allowed in 1976, and the following year the first democratic elections were held since 1936. Some parties, the Communist Party (PCE) and the Socialist Party (PSOE), re-emerged, others were formed; The UCD (Unión de Centro Democrático) was founded by the then Prime Minister Adolfo Suárez for the election in 1977. It was a loose group that disbanded in 1981-82.

Former Franco minister Manuel Fraga formed a right-wing party, the AP (Alianza Popular), which did not gain much support for a long time. Under a new chairman, José María Aznar, the party moved to the center in 1990, changing its name to PP (Partido Popular).

In Spain, there has been a trend towards a two-party system in the national parliament, first by the UCD and the PSOE, later by the PP and the PSOE. When the Constitution was adopted in 1978, parliaments were formed in Spain’s 17 new regions. It has increased the tendency for regional parties, Basque, Catalan and Galician.

The PSOE held power in 1982-96 under Felipe González, who led the party toward the center. Following González’s resignation as party chairman in 1997, the PSOE was in a protracted leadership crisis.

In the 1970’s, the PCE was a Eurocommunist party that advocated moderate reforms and recognized the monarchy. Since 1987, the party has formed the core of a left – wing grouping, IU (Left Union), led by Julio Anguita (b. 1941) until 1999.

In 1996-2004, the PP headed a center-right government led by José María Aznar. The party’s support in the population was cemented in the March 12, 2000 election, in which Aznar won an absolute majority in the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate, but in 2004 the PSOE took over government with José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero as prime minister. However, the PSOE again had to hand over power to the PP in the 2011 parliamentary elections.

Spain – economy

After World War II, Spain was isolated from the world community due to the Franco regime. It was not until 1953 that the UN lifted its boycott of the country, after which a rapid expansion of industry – which was largely protected from foreign competition – and not least the tourism sector resulted in significant economic progress. Spain’s dependence on imported energy, however, led to major economic problems when the first oil crisis broke out in 1973-74, and after Franco’s death, the new government sought to support fragile democracy through economic policies aimed at ensuring stability in the labor market. Among other things, the workers were ensured a high level of job security and a high degree of compensation in the event of unemployment.

After another period of growth in the late 1970’s, the second oil crisis led to a new downturn with large government deficits and high inflation as a result. Economic policy was then designed to reduce inflation, and a restructuring of industry began. The consequence was low growth and rising unemployment in the years up to 1986, when Spain joined the EU. The membership meant both a rapid liberalization of the economy and a massive influx of direct investment from abroad. However, the new competitive situation led to both large trade and payments deficits and rising unemployment. The imbalances intensified when Spain’s currency, the pesetas, was linked in 1989 to the EU’s then monetary cooperation,EMS, at an overestimated level. Unemployment rose to over 22%, and in 1992-93 the peseta had to be devalued by almost 20%, resulting in an export-led recovery. It continued into the late 1990’s, when economic growth was close to 4% per year and unemployment had been reduced to just over 15%. However, it is a major problem for Spain that a large part of unemployment is of a structural nature, which due to low mobility between the regions and a general reluctance to hire permanent staff due to high costs associated with redundancies. Not least in the light of the increasing competition that has followed in the wake of the establishment of the internal market and the increasing employment rate for women, the government has been striving to implement labor market reforms since the early 1990’s.

In the latter half of the 1990’s, the main priority of economic policy was to ensure Spain’s participation in the EU’s Economic and Monetary Union. The central bank was made politically independent in 1994 and then took full responsibility for monetary policy, which was governed by an inflation target, while a tight fiscal policy was to ensure compliance with budget-related convergence requirements. It succeeded, replacing the euro pesetas (although not physically until 2002) on 1 January 1999, while monetary policy was subordinated to the European Central Bank, the ECB.. The relinquishment of monetary sovereignty places great demands on fiscal policy as an instrument of cyclical adjustment. However, the management of overall budgetary policy and local development is hampered by the regions’ high degree of economic independence. In 1993, the Basque Country thus initiated a budding tax competition between the regions by offering start-ups tax exemption for a 10-year period, just as in 1996 the region reduced the general corporate tax rate to 32.5% against 35% in the rest of the country. Economic growth, driven by private consumption and the construction sector, has been significantly higher than the euro area average since the 1990’s, and in 2001 unemployment had fallen to approximately 11% from around 24% in 1994. In 2001, however, economic growth declined significantly due to the downturn in the world economy and the crisis in Argentina, where Spain has major economic interests. However, growth increased to 3.4% in 2005, and unemployment fell further to 9.2% the same year. However, it is a major problem for Spain that a large part of unemployment is of a structural nature, which due to low mobility between the regions and a general reluctance to hire permanent staff due to high costs associated with redundancies. Not least in the light of the increasing competition that has followed in the wake of the establishment of the internal market and the increasing employment rate for women, the government has been striving to implement labor market reforms since the early 1990’s. large costs associated with redundancies. Not least in the light of the increasing competition that has followed in the wake of the establishment of the internal market and the increasing employment rate for women, the government has been striving to implement labor market reforms since the early 1990’s.

Regional inequalities are the reason why, until the major EU enlargement in 2004, Spain was the largest recipient of structural assistance, which has had a major impact on regional development in the rather decentralized country. In 2002, an oil tanker off the coast of Galicia crashed with large spills as a result, after which the central government had to transfer 12 billion. euros to the region for environmental remediation, fisheries compensation, etc.

Although Spain continues to have significant economic relations with its former colonies in Latin America, Spain’s most important trading partners are the EU countries, especially France and Germany. Denmark’s exports to Spain in 2005 amounted to DKK 13.9 billion. DKK, while imports from there were 9.1 billion. kr.

Spain – social conditions

Spain’s social security system is built on the basis of a number of state-run social insurances. Right to the benefits achieved through the payment of social security contributions, of which 5/6 paid by the employer, while 1/6 offset against the salary. For the uninsured, there is a tight-knit public welfare system with modest benefits.

Entitlement to a retirement pension arises at the age of 65 and presupposes that a contribution has been paid for at least 15 years. The size of the pension depends on the salary payments during the contribution period, and the maximum pension is obtained after contributing for 35 years. There is access to take out supplementary pension insurance through professional agreements. In addition to the old-age pension, the labor market contributions also cover pensions for survivors.

There are also compulsory insurances, which cover sickness benefits, early retirement and unemployment. These also presuppose advance payment of labor market contributions.

The services of the health service are free of charge if they are provided by doctors who are approved by the Ministry of Health. Hospital treatment is also free of charge at the Ministry of Health’s own hospitals or at hospitals approved by the ministry. In practice, a lot of treatment takes place in private clinics for a fee. 40% subsidy is provided for prescription medicine, however, 100% for pensioners and hospitalized.

Elderly care in general rests to a large extent on the family and on voluntary, especially church, social work.

Spain (Health conditions)

In 2010, the average life expectancy for men was 78.06 years and for women 84.27 years. Women’s life expectancy increased over the course of 25 years until 1995 by approximately 6 years, while the men’s were only slightly increasing during the same period.

Infant mortality has fallen from 20.8 per 1,000 live births in 1970 to 3.42 in 2010. Cardiovascular disease remains the most common cause of death with 242 deaths in 1995 per. 100,000 residents, which is almost a halving since 1970. In the same period, cancer mortality has been increasing, for men to 262 deaths per. 100,000 in 1995. The mortality rate from lung cancer in men has doubled during the period, which can be explained by the fact that Spanish men have one of the highest smoking rates in the EU. The incidence of AIDS is the highest in Europe. In 1994, 18.4 cases were diagnosed per 100,000 residents; by 1998, the figure had dropped to 10.6. The majority of cases occur in drug addicts.

In 1997, Spain spent 7.4% of GDP on health care, twice as much as in 1970. 10,000 residents 42 doctors, 45 nurses and 43 hospital beds. 18% of the hospital beds were in private hospitals. Since 1986, Spain has had a state health policy with total population coverage, public funding and gradual delegation of responsibility for health care to the regions. Citizens are free to choose a general practitioner who can refer on to the specialized part of the healthcare system.

Spain – legal system

In the Middle Ages, local customs, fueros, arose in the various areas, which in some parts of the country have retained their significance. Furthermore, Las siete Partidas gained great importance; it was a written collection of rules of law which was strongly influenced by Roman law. It gained legal force in Castile and eventually came into force in other parts of Spain as a subsidiary right under local customary law. In the 1800’s. an attempt was made to uniform Spanish law after the French pattern with a civil law book, but it encountered too much resistance. However, a trade law was introduced in 1829 and substantially amended in 1885. It was not until 1889 that Spain received a civil law, the Código civil., for the whole country. It is still in force and, in particular in the bond law sections, is strongly influenced by the French Code Napoléon. However, in the northern quarter of Spain, including Catalonia with Barcelona as its capital, only the introductory provisions of civil law with private international law apply. Moreover, the local customs, which have been written down and introduced as local laws, apply not only to provide legal certainty, but also to create a basis for a new codification of the whole of Spanish law. In cases where the old fueros do not provide a reasonable answer in a specific lawsuit, the Spanish Supreme Court applies, according to the Código civil art. 6 general principles of law. The Catholic Church still has a significant influence on legislation, including marriage law.

Marriage may continue to be entered into either before the civil authority or at a religious ceremony in the Catholic Church; in order to be valid, it must be entered in the civil register. Man and woman are now equal. Each spouse has his or her separate property and both have joint ownership; however, one spouse may not make important dispositions of the joint property without the consent of the other. Unless otherwise agreed, the spouses jointly own the property acquired during the marriage. What they brought into the marriage and acquire by inheritance or gift is, like personal property, kept out of joint ownership. In the event of the termination of the marriage and in the event of separation, the joint ownership is divided equally between the spouses.

Divorce was introduced in 1981, and can usually only be granted if the spouses have previously been separated or have actually lived separately. If the spouses agree on separation and on the terms of the separation, they can both apply to the court for separation. However, the application may be filed no earlier than one year after the marriage was entered into. In other cases, at the request of one spouse, a judgment may be given for separation, where the other has given him or her a valid reason for doing so in the event of a serious violation of the spouse or his or her conduct in general. Furthermore, the courts often give judgment for separation when there is a “lack of affectio martialis”, ie. when the relationship between them is broken.

For a judgment to be given for divorce, in the vast majority of cases a prior separation or actual termination of cohabitation is required. If the cohabitation has been effectively terminated for one year after the application for separation has been submitted to the court, each of the spouses can claim a divorce. Furthermore, a sentence is given for divorce, where the cohabitation has been effectively annulled for a year after a sentence has been handed down for separation in connection with a serious violation. Judgment for divorce is also given where the cohabitation has been effectively revoked for two years after a judgment has been handed down for separation. Judgment for divorce after termination of cohabitation, but without a prior request for separation is given after two years of uninterrupted voluntary termination of cohabitation or two years of uninterrupted termination of cohabitation calculated from the time when a spouse has received a final court order that the spouses live separately.

Spain – military

The armed forces are (2006) at approximately 147,255. The army is at 95,600, the navy at 19,455, the air force at 22,750 and the Commonwealth parts at 9450. The reserve is at 319,000. The equipment is of western make, some modern, other older.

The Army (Ejército del Tierra) has four regional operational commands. The mobile part of the army has a division-size reaction force with an airborne brigade and the “Spanish Legion” (Legión Española), an infantry brigade. In addition, four armored brigades of various types, a mountain infantry brigade as well as a special force with three units of battalion size. In addition to the mobile part, the army has territorial units in the North African enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla, in the Canary Islands and in the Balearic Islands.

Navy (Armada Española) has an aircraft carrier, 12 frigates and 36 smaller combat units, five submarines, seven mine countermeasures vessels, four landing vessels, 16 Matador -kampfly (Harrier) and 23 armed helicopters (aeronaves) and a marine infantry (Infanteria the Marina) in 5300.

The Air Force (Ejército del Aire) has 177 fighter aircraft (including 7 maritime reconnaissance aircraft), 5 air refueling aircraft, 109 transport aircraft of various types and approximately 40 helicopters.

The security forces include 73,360 in the Guardia Civil.

Spain joined NATO in 1982.

Spain – trade union movement

The first trade union national organizations in Spain were formed around the year 1900 (UGT in 1888 and CNT in 1910). Traditionally, Spanish organizations have been highly political. Before the Spanish Civil War, the anarchist Confederación Nacional del Trabajo (CNT) and the socialist Unión General de Trabajadores(UGT) dominant in a fragmented academic system. The Franco regime introduced a corporate or vertical professional system, with a single organization for both workers and employers, the Confederación Nacional de Sindicatos (CNS). The banned organizations, CNT, UGT and the Basque organization ELA/STV (Euzko Langilleen Alkarasuna/Solidaridad de Trabajadores Vascos) survived in exile with underground activities in Spain. Other groups, including the Spanish Communists, chose from the mid-1960’s to work within the legal organization CNS. A campaign was launched to form workers’ commissions at the individual companies. In 1967 and 1974, the commissions won the CNS elections in a number of important areas, including the major metal sectors and geographical areas such as Madrid. These victories were followed by repression by the authorities, but the workers’ commissions survived. At the time of democratization in 1977, the Confederación Sindical de Comisiones Obreras (CC.OO.) was therefore strong. UGT returned from exile, and these two organizations clearly gained the greatest support. In the years immediately following, party political affiliation was strong. UGT was associated withPSOE, and CC.OO. to PCE. In parallel, there were strong conflicts between the two organizations. However, the UGT increasingly came into opposition to the PSOE-led government, as did the CC.OO. loosened its connection to PCE. In 1988, in connection with a general strike, the organizations signed the first co-operation agreement. This has since been followed by common guidelines for collective agreements, pension issues, etc. In the most recent election of workers’ representatives in companies (1990), UGT received 42%, CC.OO. 37% and the USO (Unión Sindical Obrera), which is apolitical, 3%. The regional organizations CIG (Confederación Intersindical Galega) and ELA/STV received 1.5% and 3.2%. However, ELA/STV is the largest professional organization in the Basque Country. The rest of the votes were distributed among a number of small organizations. In general, the organization percentage in Spain is approximately 17% (1994).

Spain – Libraries and archives

National Library of Spain is the Biblioteca Nacional in Madrid, grdl. 1716 by Philip 5. For research, libraries at institutes and academies are often more important than university libraries; among these, in Madrid it is the most significant. Several university libraries own book treasures from monasteries that were secularized in 1828. In 1928, Parliament decided to establish public libraries; until recently, however, they have been poorly developed. Many churches and monasteries have significant collections of especially medieval literature.

The four most important archives are the National Historical Archive in Madrid (1886), the archives of the Spanish kings in Simancas (1542), the Archives of the Aragonese Crown in Barcelona (grdl. In the 800’s) and the archives in Seville regarding. the Spanish-speaking America (1781).

Spain – mass media

Most of Spain approximately 85 newspapers are printed in Spanish, a few newspapers in Catalan and Basque, some are bilingual. Minority newspapers receive regional support. Marca, a daily sports newspaper, has for a period had the largest circulation (475,000, 2006), but is now surpassed by the serious El País with several regional editions and an international edition (circulation: 580,000 weekdays and 1,040,000 Sundays (2006)).

Under the Franco regime, newspapers, radio, publishing houses, cinemas and theaters were controlled by the National Press and Information Bureau. In cinemas, the weekly journals NO-DO (Noticiario-Documental) 1943-75 served as propaganda for the Franco regime. In the 1940’s and 1950’s, an illegal press was created that was linked to socialist, communist, and anarchist organizations. The illegal press managed to publish magazines in a circulation of up to 20,000 copies. In parallel with the state-owned media, there were the privately owned, which, however, relied on state publishing licenses. Despite strict censorship, some state tolerance towards the privately owned media gradually developed. The privately owned press grew in circulation, especially newspapers such as ABC in Madrid (founded in 1903), who from 1905 was among the pioneers of tabloid journalism and later placed strongly to the right in the media picture, and La Vanguardia in Barcelona (founded in 1881). From 1945, the state press was overtaken by the private sector, which in 1974 had 74% of the newspaper market. After Franco’s death in 1975, most of the state newspapers were closed or sold to private individuals. More crucial was the emergence of completely new newspapers, including El País, founded in 1976 by PRISA, in 2000 Spain’s largest media group, and El Mundo (founded 1989), which in just five years became the country’s third largest nationwide newspaper (after El País and ABC). After Franco’s death in 1975, most of the state newspapers were closed or sold to private individuals. More crucial was the emergence of completely new newspapers, including El País, founded in 1976 by PRISA, in 2000 Spain’s largest media group, and El Mundo (founded 1989), which in just five years became the country’s third largest nationwide newspaper (after El País and ABC). After Franco’s death in 1975, most of the state newspapers were closed or sold to private individuals. More crucial was the emergence of completely new newspapers, including El País, founded in 1976 by PRISA, in 2000 Spain’s largest media group, and El Mundo (founded 1989), which in just five years became the country’s third largest nationwide newspaper (after El País and ABC).

Radio became formally independent in 1977, when the RNE (Radio Nacional de España) had its monopoly broken, but in reality democratization took longer. It was not until 1980 that a law was passed defining radio and television as public service institutions, owned by the state-run RTVE (Radio Televisión Española) with two television channels. There was a strong demand for reforms, especially in television, because both channels (TVE 1 from 1956 and TVE 2 from 1965) had been tightly controlled under Franco. Gradually, commercial television with three nationwide channels was introduced; Antenna 3, Tele 5 and Canal +. In addition, there are nine regional television stations, all of which are defined as public service broadcasters. The news agency EFE grew in importance through the 1990’s, and especially in Spanish-speaking Latin America, it has managed to create and maintain a position as an international agency.

Spain – visual art

The Spanish visual art has over the centuries made important contributions to the European cultural currents.

Middle Ages

The mosaic decoration of the Grand Mosque in Córdoba (966) and the frescoes in the Church of San Julián de Los Prados in Oviedo (812-42) are examples of the early medieval aniconic tendencies: the absence of representation of living or sacred beings.

The Mozarabic book paintings from the 900’s -1000’s, on the other hand, are figurative and colorful illustrations of John’s Revelation. The Romanesque churches also contain visionary figure depictions, both within the fresco, for example in the royal tomb chapel Panteón de los Reyes in San Isidoro in León, and as a building sculpture, such as the portals of Santiago de Compostela Cathedral, both from the 12th century.

The Gothic tablet painting developed into large retablo altarpieces in the 14th century, and during the 15th century the influence of resp. Dutch and Italian Renaissance ind.


A particularly intense Spanish character emerged in the 16th century in the religious painting of Luis de Morales and El Greco. To the Church of San Tomé in Toledo, El Greco performed the masterpiece Count Orgaz’s funeral in 1586-88, describing a miracle at the count’s burial in 1323. This became his artistic breakthrough, and he soon established an extensive workshop to meet the great demand.

However, he continued to make highly original images in which his interest in religious mysticism found its way into an expressive way of painting. With the help of an almost phosphorescent light, cold colors, deep shadows and not least distortions in perspective and body proportions, he achieved a deeply personal, often almost ecstatic expression.

Several of the Spanish sculptors, on the other hand, developed their style in Italy, Alonso Berruguete, son of the Renaissance painter Pedro Berruguete (d. 1504), and Diego de Siloé, son of the transitional figure Gil de Siloé and better known as an architect.

From the Baroque to the mid-19th century

The golden age of Spanish painting in the 17th century was first dominated by the dramatic realism of the Seville School. The style was influenced by the Italian Caravaggio and was represented by Francisco Ribalta, Francisco de Zurbarán with strangely motionless still life paintings and saint portraits, by the young Diego Velázquez and by Jusepe de Ribera, who in Naples became known for his grim depictions of martyrdom.

In 1623, Velázquez became court painter to Philip IV of Madrid, where he based his fame with sharply staged portraits of members of the royal family, painted with a virtuoso technique.

The Baroque polychrome wooden sculpture culminated with Alonso Cano’s religious groups, while the religious painting culminated in BE Murillo’s devotional and Madonna paintings, especially the motif the Immaculate Conception.

In 1752, the Academy of Fine Arts was founded in Madrid, but it was foreign artists such as AR Mengs, Giambattista and Domenico Tiepolo who were given the major decorating assignments in the Royal Palace of Madrid.

Francisco de Goya continued the aristocratic portrait tradition from Velázquez, but came with his satirical graphic series, his penetrating depictions of the horrors of war, and with the unfathomable Black images of his old age to stand as a forerunner of modern art.


In the last decades of the 19th century, realism emerged, carried by Joaquín Sorolla y Bastidas (1863-1923) paintings that bear much resemblance to the works of the Skagen painters. At the same time, Barcelona became the new art center that paved the way for the rest of Europe. Symbolist writers and visual artists, the young Picasso, gathered at the café Els Quatre Gats (‘The Four Cats’)… AAAAAAAAAAAAA about Spanish visual art from 1850-2010.

Spain – Visual Arts – 1850 – 2010

In the years after 1850, the country’s art policy was dominated by the painter Federico de Madrazo y Küntz (1815-94), who was both director of the Academy of Fine Arts in Madrid and of the Prado Museum. As an alternative to the academy’s neoclassical history painting and landscape painting, el costumbrismo emerged, a genre that, with stylistic roots in Goya and Murillo, sought typical national motifs from popular life; among the leading painters of the genre were Eugenio Lucas Velázquez (1817-70) and Valeriano Domínguez Bécquer (1834-70). In the last decades of the 1800-t. won realism, carried by Joaquín Sorolla y Bastidas (1863-1923) paintings that bear much resemblance to the works of the Skagen painters.

At the same time, Barcelona became the new art center that paved the way for the rest of Europe. Symbolist writers and visual artists, the young Picasso, gathered at the café Els Quatre Gats (‘The Four Cats’); the surrealists Joan Miró and Salvador Dalí also belong to the pre-war avant-garde.

During the 1930’s, Spanish sculpture was renewed in the collaboration between Picasso and Julio González. During the Spanish Civil War of 1936-39, artistic activity often went hand in hand with political activity; the clearest example of this is Picasso’s painting Guernica, exhibited at the 1937 World’s Fair in Paris.

The avant-garde after World War II included groups such as Dau al Set, founded in 1948 by Antonio Tàpies, as well as El Paso, founded in 1957 by Antonio Saura and Manuel Millares (1926-72); the common artistic starting point was informal art.

In the 1960’s, the minimalist sculpture was introduced by Eduardo Chillida, at the same time as Eusebio Sempere (1924-85) worked in op art. In reaction to El Paso in particular, the group Nueva Generación emerged in the 1970’s with Luis Gordillo (b. 1934) as the leading figure; they wanted to return to figurative and geometric painting.

Spain – architecture

Architecture has contributed from many currents, and over time it has been inspired by both European and Arab culture.


Early medieval architecture includes church buildings in the styles Visigothic (from the 5th century to 711), Asturian (especially in the ninth century) and Mozarabic (especially in the 10th century). Many buildings, both Christian and Islamic, were inspired by the Great Mosque of Córdoba (785-987); the area was until 1492 the center of Andalusia’s refined Islamic building culture.

In northern Spain, Romanesque architecture developed first in an early, Lombard style in Catalonia, later in international style in the many Romanesque churches along the pilgrimage route to the tomb of the Apostle James in Galicia with the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela (1075-1122) as the main monument.

In the 13th century, the construction of the Castilian cathedrals in Burgos, Toledo and León began in the French-style Gothic style, while in Catalonia and the Balearic Islands a local variant of the Gothic was worshiped.

In Seville, from 1402, the mighty late Gothic, five-nave cathedral was built. Islamic building traditions were combined with Christian and Jewish plan types in the ornamental mudéjar style, which characterizes parts of the castle Alcázar in Seville (1369).

The castle was inspired by the palace complex Alhambra in Granada (1200-1400’s), a major monument in Islamic architecture; from 1527, Emperor Charles V had an Italian-inspired Renaissance palace built here.

In addition, the architecture was characterized by the plate style with its union of late Gothic Renaissance and Islamic features, such as the west facade of the University of Salamanca (1525), later by the strict “estilo desornamentado”, which is expressed in the mighty monastery and castle complex El Escorial (1563-84), completed by Juan de Herrera.

In the 18th century, the lavish late Baroque churrigueresk style (named after the sculptor and architectural family Churriguera) gained great traction; it is seen, for example, in the sacristy of the Carthusian monastery in Granada (1742). In the second half of the 18th century, foreign architects worked on e.g. the mighty royal palace of Madrid, built in a dry, classicist Baroque style.

Neoclassicism was introduced by Ventura Rodríguez (1717-85) and further developed by Juan de Villanueva (1739-1811), eg in the Prado Museum in Madrid (started 1785). In the 19th century, several historicist currents were seen.


The Spanish modernismo style was a Catalan current approximately 1880-1920, which was predominantly expressed in Barcelona. It had both a national romantic retrospective direction, inspired by the medieval decorative universe, and a progressive direction with material and construction experiments…. AAAAAAAAAAAAA about Spanish architecture from 1900-2010.

Spain – Architecture – 1900-2010

The Spanish modernismo style was a Catalan flow approximately 1880-1920, which was predominantly expressed in Barcelona. It had both a national romantic retrospective direction, inspired by the decorative universe of the Middle Ages, and a progressive direction with material and construction experiments.

The latter is represented by Josep Puig in Cadafalch (1867-1956) and Lluís Domènech in Montaner (1850-1923), but especially Antoni Gaudí, whose buildings have left a special mark on Barcelona’s cityscape, from multi-storey buildings, mansions and parks to the Sagrada Familia church. (commenced 1883). The noucentism of the 1920’s and the rational modernism of the 1930’s moved between the monumental tendencies of the time and the renewal of international modernism.

The landmark world exhibition in Barcelona in 1929 reflected the diversity of architecture: Mies van der Rohe’s famous minimalist pavilion representing Germany (rebuilt 1985) and the reconstruction of regional architecture with El pueblo español, a district following Camillo Sitte’s ideals, were placed side by side with monumental and pompous buildings.

The engineering architect Eduardo Torroja from Madrid became a pioneer in concrete construction and gained great influence, in collaboration with Carlos Arniche and Martin Dominquez, with water towers and bridges, halls and churches. The Civil War of 1936-39 and the subsequent Franco rule slowed development until the mid-1950’s; the architect Josep Lluís Sert emigrated to the USA in 1939, but later created museet Fundación Joan Miró (1975) in Barcelona. In Madrid, the influence was then Anglo-American, partly oriented towards 1800’s styles and a predilection for geometric shapes.

It was not until the 1960’s that a real innovation took place with Catalan regionalism, which was associated with the struggle for an independent architectural expression. Ricardo Bofill and the design studio Taller de Arquitectura, which he founded in 1962, as well as José Rafael Moneo were key figures who later also had major assignments abroad.

In the 1980’s, Barcelona’s consistent and original design of public squares became an important contribution to the international urban planning debate. The world exhibition EXPO in Seville in 1992 led to an extensive urban renewal in Seville and the construction of a new railway station and a new airport (JR Moneo).

The American architect Frank O. Gehry built part of the Olympic city in Barcelona in 1989-92 as well as the sculpturally designed Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, inaugurated in 1997.

Spain – crafts and design

Under Muslim rule, Spanish handicrafts experienced its first great flourishing. Exquisite ivory works, faience (including tiles) and refined textiles have been preserved, while woodcarving, metal art and carpet making are especially reflected in the continuation of the tradition in the late Middle Ages and Renaissance.

Since the Renaissance, Spanish handicrafts have partly developed national versions of the various European styles, often characterized by great ornamental richness, and partly retained an oriental touch, especially in Andalusia.

This element broke through around 1900, when international currents in northern Catalonia, with Antoni Gaudí as the main exponent, were also turned in a national direction. Since the second half of the 20th century, Spain has distinguished itself internationally with industrial design, furniture and glass.

Spain – literature

Spanish literature includes texts in Castilian, Galician, Catalan and Basque. For hundreds of years after the Muslim conquest in 711, poetry was also written in Arabic on the Iberian Peninsula. The literature in Castilian has since the 1100’s. been dominant and is often perceived as the actual Spanish literature.

Spain – Literature (Middle Ages)

The first traces of a literature in Spanish are an expression of a coexistence between Christians, Muslims and Jews. These are short love poems, jarchas, which from around the year 1000 were set as a chorus to Arabic and Hebrew poems.

The long Christian conquest took place in the 1100’s. his literary monument in the epic poem Poema del Mío Cid, which in three songs with long, irregular verses soberly recounts episodes in the life of the Castilian knight Rodrigo Díaz (see El Cid).

While the wandering jugglers sang the anonymous heroic poems, it arose in the 1200’s. a metric more polished poem in Spanish in the monasteries. The clerics retold Latin saint legends and other edifying tales in Spanish Alexandrines, often for the purpose of raising awareness about the monastery. Gonzalo de Berceo was the first poet to step out of anonymity.

A marked Provencal influence on the earliest poetry began in Catalonia and spread westward thanks to the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela. From about 1200 to the middle of the 1300-t. was the language of Galician poetry. At Alfonso 10.s Castilian court was cultivated in the second half of 1200-t. both Provencal and Galician poetry, and the king himself composed several hundred cantigas in Galician. He also initiated the great project of gathering the knowledge of the three cultures through the translations of Christian, Jewish and Arab scholars.

In the first half of the 1300-t. Alfonso X’s nephew, Juan Manuel, developed the worldly edifying prose. His most famous work is the exemplary tales of El conde Lucanor (1335, Count Lucanor). At the same time, the priest Juan Ruiz wrote one of the masterpieces of Spanish-language literature, El libro de buen amor (The Book of Good Love). The long poem is supposedly about the love of God, but is read as well as a very human art of love, told with great humor and with apt depictions of the present.

After the epic poems of about 1400 had gone out of fashion, juglares appeared especially with romances : shorter epic-lyrical poems in easy-going, eight-syllable verses. They usually tell only fragments of stories and are less sober than the heroic quatrains. They contain both dramatic events and touching moods. Romances were to remain popular in the Spanish-speaking world for millennia. The finest poets have written romances : Góngora, Lope de Vega, Machado and García Lorca.

From the middle of the 1400’s. anthologies with named poets were published. The anthology Cancionero de Baena in its 600 poems reflects the transition from Galician to Castilian poetry. The great lyricists of this period were noble, and the Italian influence is noticeable, especially on Santillana, while Juan Mena’s poetry was also Latin inspired. Jorge Manrique’s famous elegy on the father had more roots in a Spanish tradition.

In 1492, Antonio Nebrija published the first Castilian grammar.

Spain – literature (the golden centuries)

Spain – literature (the golden centuries), 1500’s and 1600’s. considered the cultural golden age of Spain. The literature, however, had to conform to a sometimes strict religious unification and zealous censorship.

A forerunner of the era’s massive play production is Fernando de Rojas ‘ reading drama about La Celestina from 1499. At the same time, the publication of knightly novels began to become the favorite reading of the 1500’s, such as Joanot Martorell’s Tirant lo Blanc (1490) and Garci Rodríguez of Montalvos Amadís de Gaula (1508); see Amadísridderromaner.

Under Charles V, Spain was open to currents of thought from the north; Erasmus of Rotterdam thus had followers at and around the court, including a number of newly converted Jews. The center was the new University of Alcalá de Henares, home of the Great Polyglot Bible (1502-17). The Valdés brothers ‘ dialogues were directly inspired by Erasmus.

The idealization that characterized the knightly novels was found in shepherd poems and shepherd novels from the 1500’s. Among the poets, Garcilaso de la Vega and Juan Boscán y Almogavér excelled in a successful transplantation of Italian verse forms, while the most read shepherd novel was Jorge de Montemayor’s Diana (approximately 1559).

Also the “Moorish” novels gave highly idealized images of human nature. The sharpest possible contrast to this is the realistic and disillusioned picaresque novels, the best known of which are the anonymous Lazarillo de Tormes (1554), Mateo Alemán’s Guzmán de Alfarache (1599-1604) and Francisco Goméz de Quevedo y Villegas’ El Buscón (1626).

When Spain, with Philip II at the helm of the Counter-Reformation, the Tridentine Council became decisive. Religious writings were innumerable, and several had literary value. At the top are the mystics with, for example, Teresa de Jesús ‘ heartfelt and eloquent prose and Juan de la Cruz’ subtle and intense poems about the union of the soul with God.

Fray Luis de León longed in her poems away from the tumultuous earthly life and towards the absolute beauty and love of the kingdom of God. Translation of the Song of Songs and commentaries on the Latin Bible translation Vulgate brought him to the prison of the Inquisition.

The play was developed in the 1500’s. under the influence of religious mysteries and Italian commedia dell’arte. The themes, however, were largely taken from romances and chronicles. Important playwrights from the 1500’s. were Juan del Encina, Lope de Rueda and Juan de la Cueva.

At the turn of the century, the play was revolutionized with the Lope de Vegas comedia nueva. The new theater was in verse, in three acts, with stories of honor and love preferably from the history of Spain. The units of the classic did not matter, the tragic and the comic were mixed, and the performances required a minimum of props. Most dramas were without psychological and philosophical depth; in return, there were captivating actions and good portrayals of seats. The prevailing ideology, autocracy and Catholic faith, were not challenged, but both the nobility and priests were often hung out.

Lope de Vegas’ heirs maintained the form, but Tirso de Molina was significantly more psychologically fine-tuned than Lope and also more critical of contemporary conditions. He is best known as the supposed creator of the drama about Don Juan, El Burlador de Sevilla (printed 1630). Ruiz de Alarcón was sharp in his critique of different types of characters that were frequent at the time. With him began a certain distance to Lope’s formula.

After 1630, Pedro Calderón de la Barca was the leading playwright. Especially the German romantics made him the main exponent of the Spanish comedia. No one is like him penetrated into the psychological depths of the central themes of love, honor and power.

In Calderón’s era, the popular theater houses corrales got their competitor in the hip theater, where a giant machinery was established, and where song and ballet became integral parts of the play. Calderón and other of the great playwrights also wrote religious plays, autos sacramentales, for performance inside or outside the churches.

Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra did not receive the status of Lope de Vega and Calderón alive. His plays were written in the Latin tradition and were not a success. The shepherd novel La Galatea (1585) could probably assert itself in its genre, but it is the novel about the idealistic Don Quixote (1605) and his down-to-earth gunman Sancho Panza that has earned him the place at the top of the parnassus. It was especially the knightly novels that were to be caricatured and made responsible for all the ills of all time, incl. the protagonist’s distorted perception of reality.

However, the two volumes contain all the prose genres: shepherd novel, Moorish novel and, of course, knight novel. Especially in part 2 (1615) are the features that were to become constitutive of the novel genre. All layers of Spanish society are turned upside down, not with blackness as in the picaresque novels, but with humor and satire.

Poetry developed in two directions: a popular tradition and a new artful one. Both directions can be found in Luis de Góngora y Argote, who, alongside traditional romances and villancicos with national motifs, wrote baroque poetry for the initiates, with condensed metaphors, difficult syntax and ideal references to classical mythology.

He had a declared opponent in Francisco Goméz de Quevedo y Villega, who defended the clarity of thought and language, both in poem and prose. The concepts of culteranismo vs. conceptismo often refers to the difference between the two directions. The sharpest theorist of the period was Baltasar Gracián, who also wrote significant treatises on power and morality.

Spain – literature (1700’s and 1800’s)

Spain – literature (1700’s and 1800’s), 1700’s.

Already at Calderón’s death in 1681, the golden age was heading towards epigoneri. The economic deroute that had plagued the Habsburgs now spread to the literature. It is especially the learned prose that can assert itself. Benito Jerónimo Feijoo (1676-1764) combated narrow-mindedness and prejudice in a large number of essays and tried to introduce new European ideas. Literary innovations were few: several playwrights confessed to depictions of folk life, but otherwise the scenes were dominated by French neoclassicism with Fernández Moratín as the leading figure.


The romance came late and did not reach the same height as the Baroque. The Duke of Rivas’ (1791-1865) play Don Álvaro, o la fuerza del sino (1835) is considered the pinnacle of romance, while the most popular poet of the time was José Zorrilla, who also as a playwright gained a large audience with his Don Juan Tenorio (1844). Gustavo Adolfo Bécquers Rimas (1871) is considered the finest collection of poems in post-romanticism.

1800’s realism got its most prominent representative in Pérez Galdós, who in 46 novels, Episodios nacionales, gave a critical review of Spain’s recent history. In addition, he wrote a number of widely read – and later filmed – novels against religious intolerance and narrow-mindedness. In his late books, Galdós was influenced by French naturalism. Also Emilia Pardo Bazán hailed most of Zola’s views in his novels about life in Galicia.

Spain – Literature (1898-1936)

Following the loss in 1898 of Spain’s last overseas possessions, the Philippines, Cuba and Puerto Rico, a literary development followed, triggered by defeat and the pressing question of Spanish identity. Spain was definitely no longer a world empire, but a country among others, and the writers of the so-called 98th generation took an already long-held notion of Spanish greatness up for revision in the light of the national tragedy. Common to their expression is the simple language that distances itself from official, bloated rhetoric and the associated ideals.

The critical reassessment of Spanish identity, not least in relation to the rest of Europe, manifested itself in different genres. Thus in Antonio Machado’s painful, introverted poetry, Pío Baroja’s skin- braiding novels and Miguel de Unamuno’s cultural philosophy with the main work Del sentimiento trágico de la vida (1913, then The Tragic Sense of Life, 1925), where Europe and Spain, rationality and religiosity, are confronted..

Simultaneously with the existential considerations of the 98th generation, an internationally oriented, form-cultivating and experimental modernism, inspired by the primus engine of Latin American modernism, the Nicaraguan poet Rubén Darío, who in turn was influenced by currents in European literature, in particular French symbolism, was introduced. The main figure in Spanish modernism is Ramón del Valle-Inclán, who with its grotesquely deforming drama broke with the previous tradition.

Early modernism is the forerunner of the avant-garde movements that characterized the flourishing development of the 1920’s and first half of the 1930’s with numerous manifestos and in close harmony with European currents such as Expressionism, Futurism, Surrealism and Dadaism. In 1925, the philosopher Ortega y Gasset published La deshumanización del arte (Da. Man’s Expulsion from Art, 1945), in which he pays homage to free artistic expression and takes the side of the avant-garde.

There was an intense intellectual and artistic environment during this period, around the student house Residencia de Estudiantes in Madrid, where the young artists of the time moved. In 1927, the 300th anniversary of the death of the Baroque poet Luis de Góngora y Argote was celebrated at a meeting where Federico García Lorca gave a lecture on the poetic metaphor. It became the mark of the 27th generation, which with writers such as Lorca and Rafael Alberti is a highlight in 1900’s Spanish poetry, for example with Lorca’s Romancero Gitano (1933, then Gypsy Ballads, 1952) and Albertis Sobre los ángeles (1929, then. About the angels, 1988). Federico García Lorca also made a name for himself as a poetic playwright with his surrealistic farces and fateful tragedies.

Spain – Literature (1936-75)

The Spanish Civil War 1936-39 left a decisive mark on the literature of the century. This applies both immediately in the contemporary world, where the authors chose side, and many gave their political commitment literary expression, in propagandistic poetry and theater for use at the front, and in the time during and after Franco, when war was a recurring theme.

Franco’s takeover in 1939 stubbornly persecuted anyone considered a potential danger to the system. For literature, as for cultural life in general, it had serious and far-reaching consequences. The vast majority of the writers who had contributed to the previous literary development were opponents of the Franco regime, and several had to flee as their only means of survival. Sharp state censorship of new Spanish literature was introduced, as well as a ban on the sale of foreign and older Spanish literature, which was thought to have a controversial content in relation to the official ideology, and which only a few, literally death-defying booksellers had in the back room. The Spanish writers who remained in Spain were thus relegated to artistic isolation.

This minimization of resources was the starting point for the literature under Franco. The situation softened somewhat over time, censorship was eased and isolation was slowly broken, not least under pressure from abroad, on which Spain was economically dependent. But there was at no time freedom of speech, and the whole period is marked by numerous restrictions and interventions in literary life. Under these conditions, many writers imposed self-censorship that limited artistic expression. At the same time, significant works by authors such as Rafael Alberti, Fernando Arrabal, Arturo Barea and Ramón J. Sender were written in exile.

In the 1940’s, two notable novels signaled the critical view of Spanish society that came to characterize the novel of the following decades: Camilo José Celas La familia de Pascual Duarte (1942, then 1950) and Carmen Laforet’s Nada (1945, then. Nothing, 1997). Within the theater, Buero Vallejo’s socio-critical drama Historia de una escalera(1949, The Story of a Staircase) a milestone. However, it was especially the intense activity in poetry that marked the decade. In many of the poets, a return to classical verse forms is seen, which distinguishes them from previous form experiments, and an existentially searching, often religious tone characterizes large parts of poetry. A masterpiece in the poetry of the decade is Dámaso Alonso’s Hijos de la ira (1944, Sons of Wrath).

In the 1950’s, prose is predominantly characterized by realistic, disillusioned depictions in a single language without narrative refinements, often based on the authors’ own childhood experiences during the Civil War and in the post-war period. A central work is Juan Goytisolo’s novel Duelo en el paraíso (1955, da. Sorrow in Paradise, 1961), which depicts children’s atrocities as a reflection of the adults during the war. Other significant novelists and short story writers are Ignacio Aldecoa, Jesús Fernández Santos (1926-88), Juan García Hortelano (1928-92) and Ana María Matute. Characteristic of the efforts to uncover social reality are also the many travelogues from traditionally unnoticed areas in the Spanish province, where the conditions of existence assume extreme expressions. Notable playwrights who during this period relate directly or indirectly to the political and social situation are Alfonso Sastre and Buero Vallejo. In poetry, the intimate tone of the 1940’s continues, at the same time as one becomes increasingly socially critical, as in Jesús López Pacheco (1930-1997).

The committed depiction of reality continued through the 1960’s in prose, poetry and drama, in some of the above authors as well as more recent, but in parallel with radical innovations. A milestone is Luis Martin Santos’ novel Tiempo de silencio (1962, then The Time of Silence, 1970), which, in continuation of the 1950’s realists, exposes ugly aspects in all layers of Spanish society, but adds an ironic, philosophical perspective and an associative style reminiscent of stream of consciousness. Another line is signaled by Juan Benet, which clearly distances itself from realism and social engagement with novels characterized by the dissolution of time and space and the absence of narrative with immediate reference to reality. In poetry, Carlos Barral (1928-89) and Manuel Caballero Bonald (b. 1926) distanced themselves from the socially engaged trend.

The first half of the 1970’s is characterized for prose by a series of works in continuation of Juan Benet, which did not resonate outside a narrow, elitist inner circle. Within the theater, Francisco Nieva, with his antipsychological, carnivalesque “Teatro furioso” (The Furious Theater), represents a strong reaction to traditional theater realism. As far as poetry is concerned, 1970 is a year that marks a break with José María Castellet’s (1926-2014) anthology Nueve novísimos poetas españoles (Nine Brand New Spanish Poets), in which Pedro Gimferrer (b. 1945), Manuel Vázquez Montalbánand Leopoldo María Panero (1909-62) are presented. Common to the new poets is the distance to poetic tradition and the enforcement of poetry as an autonomous expression that is independent of the current historical context.

Spain – literature (time after 1975)

The year of Franco’s death and the beginning of the transition to democracy, was of course also for literature a landmark year that heralded freedom of speech and the fall of old taboos. In the same year, Eduardo Mendoza published the crime novel La verdad sobre el caso Savolta (The Truth About the Savolta Case, 1990), a huge narrative work on politics and financial intrigue in Barcelona in the second decade of the century, marking a clear break with the elitist novel. The narrative element and the reference to a concrete, past or present reality are features that recur in a large number of Spanish prose writers from the mid-1970’s and on through the 1980’s and 1990’s.

The reality referred to is not least the contemporary in Spain. The country underwent a rapid modernization, which at the political, social and private level led to frustrations and confusion in the midst of the newly gained freedom, and many writers dealt, with different points of departure and expressions, with these conditions in their works. This applies, for example, to Rosa Montero in the novel Crónica del desamor (1979, da. The Decline of Love, 1984), which paved the way for extensive, open-mouthed and critical women’s literature. A recurring theme is also the confrontation with the past – childhood, the family and its ghosts – and the attempt to integrate a cognition of it into a contemporary consciousness, such as in Antonio Muñoz Molina’s novel El jinete polaco(1991, then. The Polish Rider, 1996). Other significant prose writers in the period include Julio Llamazares, Javier Marías, José Maria Merino, Juan José Juan José Millás, Ana Maria Moix and Soledad Puértolas. The novel’s production since 1975 is extremely extensive and characterized by great variety, thematically and formally. A characteristic trend of changing narrators, combined text types, and play on intertextual references took hold in the 1980’s and 1990’s.

Poetry offers a wide range of diverse endeavors, including in continuation of the tendencies of the early 1970’s, but also in other directions. Many poets reflect the immediate life situation in a single language, others are highly aestheticizing and return to classical Spanish forms. Prominent names include García Montero (b. 1958) as well as Blanca Andreu (b. 1959) and Ana Rossetti (b. 1950), representing the strong influences of female poets of the 1990’s.

Spain – theater

Spanish theater has its roots in both ecclesiastical and secular phenomena in the Middle Ages: partly dramatizations of the Catholic liturgy, which was performed by priests and choir boys at the fair, partly burlesque plays performed by wandering jugglers. With the growth of cities, the theater was physically instituted as part of city life, with patios (the inner courtyard area between the houses) being equipped with stage and spectator seats, corrales that formed the framework of 1500’s and 1600’s intense theater activity and anticipated the construction of actual theater buildings. Calderón and Lope de Vega were leading playwrights during this period, when the theater enjoyed great popularity and strengthened the national consciousness.

The theater has been subject to changing, politically conditioned conditions. During the Republic of the 1930’s, García Lorca played a central role, both as an innovative playwright and as the director of the touring University Theater La Barraca, which brought older and newer drama out to a large, popular audience. The Franco era was marked by the exile of many artists and by the harsh censorship of state censorship against controversial playwrights, theaters and critics, with consequent self-censorship. The terms posibilismo (‘the art of the possible’) and imposibilismo (‘the art of the impossible’), which arose in a polemic between the playwrights Buero Vallejo and Alfonso Sastre, was indicative of the ideological schism of the theater under Franco. Within the theater, the greatest innovation since 1975 is not to be found in the playwrights, but in the often almost wordless theater with ongoing visual effects cultivated by groups such as La Cuadra, Els Comediants and La Fura dels Baus.

Following the transition to democracy, Spanish theater is in a new situation, providing space for experimental and provocative productions, international festivals and open debate on the theatre’s goals and means. Both the Central Administration of Madrid and the Administration of the Autonomous Regions provide around 2000 support for the financing of a wide range of theater activities.

Spain – dance

Traditional dance occurs in both ritual and social contexts. The ritual dances are often performed by men, and they may be associated with religious celebrations or symbolize struggle or courtship; items such as swords, sticks, scarves and masks are often included. Best known are the sword dance from Galicia and the stick dance baile de Ibio from Cantabria. At festivities (fiestas), circle dances are performed such as sardana from Catalonia or resbalosa from Castile. The pair dances jota, fandango and seguidilla are performed to alternating instrumental and vocal music. Jota, who is from Aragon, is also danced in Navarre, Castile and Valencia.

The Andalusian dance flamenco is one of the most famous Spanish dances with roots in several cultures. Fandangoen, which is a variant of flamenco, found in many local variants: Rondeña, malagueña and Granadina. Seguidillas, which are in moderate tempo and three-part tempo, are danced in the areas around La Mancha, Murcia and Seville. In Ibiza and Mallorca, la llarga (the long one) and la curta (the short one) are danced with large castanets.

As stage dance has Spanish dance in the 1900’s. especially influenced by stand-alone dance choreographers such as La Argentina (1890-1936), Pilar López (1912-2008), José Greco (1918-2000), Antonio Gades (1936-2004) and others who created their own companies. In 1978, the Spanish Ministry of Culture founded the Ballet Nacional Español, which dances classical Spanish and flamenco, and the following year came the Ballet Nacional Clásico, which dances classical ballet; In 1983, the two companies were merged under the name Ballet Nacional de España. In 1990, Nacho Duato became the companies’ ballet master, and he has given the national ballet a new identity by mixing the classical, the modern and the popular Spanish style. In the 1990’s, a new generation of modern flamenco artists was seen, whose training is inspired by ballet, jazz and modern dance.

Spain – music

Spain has a rich and long-lasting musical tradition that can be traced back to the introduction of Christianity in the 300’s.

Until approximately 1750

With the introduction of Christianity on the Iberian Peninsula in the 300-t. a local church musical form emerged, which under Muslim rule developed into the so-called Mozarabic tradition. Important centers of church music were Seville and Toledo, whose bishop Isidor has left behind writings with numerous information about the local rite.

Spanish culture, including music, was strongly influenced by the Muslims until their expulsion in 1492. Among other things. originated under oriental inspiration a number of dance and music forms that came from Spain to the countries north of the Pyrenees, eg sarabande and pavane. A number of these local forms of music are still found in Spanish folk music, such as flamenco and seguidilla, both of Andalusian origin.

After the Toledo conquest by the Muslims in 1085, the Mozarabic church music tradition was supplanted by Gregorian chant, for whose development in the direction of polyphony the monastery of Santiago de Compostela came to play a significant role in the 1200’s. At the same time, French troubadours often performed in Spain, where they got local imitators, King Alfonso X, author of the song Cantigas de Santa María; the song form cantiga was developed on the basis of the French virelai. Many local one- and polyphonic songs have also been handed down in manuscripts from the 1200’s and 1300’s.

The vocal polyphony and the Franco-Dutch tradition were represented in Spain by a number of prominent composers who at times worked in Rome. Among them are Cristóbal de Morales, Francisco Guerrero (1528-99) and Tomás Luis de Victoria, all three of whom stayed in Rome for a shorter or longer period; the latter returned to Spain in 1586 after 20 years as a singer and composer in the Italian capital, where he may have received instruction from Palestrina, to work as a priest, organist and conductor at the Spanish court.

In the 1500’s. music for organ and harpsichord was also cultivated, especially by the blind Antonio de Cabezón, whose style influenced subsequent generations of composers, including Juan Cabanilles (1644-1712) and Antonio Soler.

The dramatic music came in the mid-1600’s. to Spain, where a special form arose, zarzuela, named after a castle near Madrid. In contrast to the opera, it is characterized by having spoken dialogue and by the text’s consistently high literary quality. During the 1700’s. this specifically Spanish genre was gradually supplanted by operas written in the Neapolitan style.

After approximately 1750

In the mid-1800’s. the zarzuela genre experienced renewed popularity, and it managed to assert its position in Spanish musical drama into the 1900’s. Among the most important zarzuela composers of this period were Francisco Asenjo Barbieri (1823-94) with the early Gloria y peluca (1850) and Tomás Bretón (1850-1923) with La verbena de la paloma (1897).

In Spanish instrumental music in the 1700’s. two foreigners made a name for themselves as court musicians: Domenico Scarlatti, who wrote most of his sonatas for harpsichord during his stay in Spain from 1729 until his death in 1757, and Luigi Boccherini, who from 1769 until his death in 1805 lived in Spain, where he composed a large part of his instrumental music. In the early 1800’s. guitar virtuoso Fernando Sor marked himself as a composer of numerous works. They form part of the classical guitar repertoire, which was later expanded by Francisco Tárrega. In the 1900’s. has guitar virtuoso Andrés Segovia managed to pull the classical guitar forward by transcribing compositions for the instrument as well as commissioning and premiere works for it.

In the late 1800’s. and the beginning of the 1900-t. a growing national consciousness arose in Spanish music, nurtured by the studies of Spanish folklore and the teaching carried out by the musicologist Felipe Pedrell (1841-1922) from the 1870’s. This “renaissance” was reflected in music with characteristic national features such as piano works by pianists Isaac Albéniz and Enrique Granados, later with Joaquín Turina, Federico Mompou (1893-1987) and Joaquín Rodrigo. The latter’s Concierto de Aranjuez (1939) for guitar and orchestra stands as a popular exponent of this direction.

The most important Spanish composer in the first half of the 1900’s. was Manuel de Falla, whose stage works (the opera La vida breve, 1904, the ballets El amor brujo, 1915 and El sombrero de tres picos, 1919) earned him international fame. These works are an expression of the national style, but with their impressionist features they also bear the mark of de Falla’s study stay in Paris. In later works, the harpsichord concerto (1926), de Falla approaches the neoclassic.

At Franco’s takeover, a number of musicians and composers fled, including Roberto Gerhard, who was a student of both Pedrell and Arnold Schönberg. Like his student Joaquim Homs Oller (1906-2003), Gerhard used twelve-tone technique. After World War II, several groups of composers have distinguished themselves. Grupo Nueva Música (1958) had the music critic Enrique Franco as one of its leading members and also spoke, among other things. Luis de Pablo (b. 1930) and Cristóbal Halffter. Later groups include Actum (1973), which has cultivated post-serial techniques and minimalism, as well as the studies Alea (1965) and Phonos (1973), whose aim has been the spread of electroacoustic music. A number of students by José Soler (b. 1935) have distinguished themselves in the 1980’s and 1990’s, Albert Sardà (b. 1943), Miquel Roger (1954-2017), Juan José Olives (b. 1951), Benet Casablancas (b. 1956) and Agustín Charles (b. 1960).

Folk music

Spanish folk music is rich in variety. Over time, numerous cultures, including Celtic, Arabic, Oriental, Visigothic and French, exerted influence on sub-areas, and the resulting regional differences can still be found in the local forms of music.

However, there are also consistent features in Spanish folk music, especially in the modal folk song; everywhere a simple, 2- to 4-tone song type is cultivated, most often in free rhythm, in some places with the hint of a relation to Gregorian chant. In folk music, characteristic percussion instruments are used, not least castanets, rattle instruments and a large selection of different drums.

Guitar or smaller forms of it are included everywhere in Spain together with different types of flutes, pito and flaviol and shawm – and brass wind instruments. Smaller or larger ensembles accompany the local dances and songs.

Popular music

Developments in Spanish rock and pop music are closely linked to the country’s political and social development. From acting as the valve of the youth under Franco’s dictatorship in the 1960’s, music came to accompany the beginning process of democratization of the 1970’s along with punk and the Spanish phenomenon cantautores; singers who wrote their own highly political songs, such as Joan Manuel Serrat (b. 1943).

In parallel, pop singers such as Julio Iglesias gained great popularity. From the early 1980’s, several new trends emerged such as the creative culture wave La movida that spread in Madrid. In the new democracy, art and thus also music should be provocative; heavy metal was in, and a group like Alaska y los Pegamoides became very popular with its special kind of pop.

In addition, flamenco rock or flamenco pop became widespread; here the musicians seek back to their roots and the genre is inextricably linked to Spain. Among the most prominent flamenco pop groups is Ketama.

Like the rest of the West, Spain in the 1990’s was characterized by both traditional rock, techno and rap, to which are added pop singers such as Enrique Iglesias (b. 1975), who with his English-language recordings continues in the footsteps of his father, Julio Iglesias. Cantautores also survives, but the political protests of the texts are toned down in favor of a more lyrical content.

Spain – film

The pioneer of Spanish fiction film was Fructuoso Gelabert (1874-1955), who began his major production with Riña en un café (1897, Café Slagsmaal). Until the First World War, high-sounding historical dramas were made, as in French film d’art.

In the 1920’s, several film companies were established, which had success with silent film versions of popular zarzuela singing games. With the sound film came many American-produced Spanish editions of popular Hollywood films. In the years around the introduction of the 2nd Republic in 1931, a realistic film style gradually began to gain ground, for example in Florián Reys’ (1894-1962) rural drama La aldea maldita (1929, The Damned Village) and Luis Buñuel’s documentary Las hurdes (1932).) about the miserable conditions of the peasants of a village.

During the Civil War of 1936-39, film production continued; Benito Perojo (1894-1974) made nationalist melodramas in Berlin such as El barbero de Sevilla (1938, The Barber of Seville), and on the Republican side, the Dutchman Joris Ivens (1898-1989) created the documentary classic Spanish Earth (1937).

In 1941-75, the film was completely under Francostat’s control. Only Spanish-language movies were allowed, and dubbing became common practice. In 1947, the first Spanish film school was established, which became the hotbed of Spanish neorealism, led by Luis-García Berlanga with the socially satirical Bienvenido, Mr. Marshall (1952, Welcome, Mr. Marshall) and Calabuch (1956, The Professor takes a day off) and Juan Antonio Bardem with the trilogy Cómicos (1953, Comedians), Muerte de un ciclista (1955, The Death of a Cyclist) and Calle Mayor (1956, The big street).

Censorship did not initially see the blasphemy in Buñuel’s nun portrait Viridiana (1961), which won the Palme d’Or at Cannes. In 1968, Carlos Saura got the Silver Bear in Berlin with Peppermint frappé (1967, The Poisonous Green Drink), which was partly influenced by Buñuel and partly by the absurdist art tradition esperpento. Since then, Saura’s style has become more stringent with films such as Cría cuervos (1976, The Spanish Raven) and the dance film trilogy Bodas de sangre (1981, Blood Wedding), Carmen (1983) and El amor brujo (1986, The Dance of Fire).

The allegorical form, which was necessary in the Franco era, the so-called estética franquista ‘frankistic aesthetics’, also characterized film modernists such as Victor Erice (b. 1940) with El espíritu de la colmena (1973, The Spirit in the City) and continued after the democracy reintroduction of e.g. Manuel Gutiérrez Aragón (b. 1942) with Demonios en el jardin (1982, The Demons in the Garden) and Vicente Aranda (b. 1926) with Amantes (1991, The Lovers).

In the 1980’s, a number of films based on famous literary originals came out, such as Mario Camus (b. 1935) La colmena (1982, The Beehive) and Los santos inocentes (1984, The Saints Simple) after novels by resp. Camilo José Cela and Miguel Delibes. José Luis Garcis (b. 1944) Volver a empezar (1982, Let’s start fresh) and Fernando Truebas’ (b. 1955) Belle époque (1993) won Oscars in respectively. 1983 and 1994.

Most international attention, however, has been given to Pedro Almodóvar’s manner-erotic farces, Mujeres al bord de un ataque de nervios (1988, Women on the Brink of a Nervous Breakdown) and ¡Átame! (1990, Bind Me, Love Me!), And he won an Oscar for the more subdued Todo sobre mi madre (1999, All About My Mother).

Among other popular names is the Chilean-born Alejandro Amenábar (b. 1972), who has made an impression with Abre los ojos (1997, Open Your Eyes), the English-language horror The Others (2001) and the euthanasia drama Mar adentro (2004, My Inner Sea).

Democracy has revived film production in Catalonia, which accounts for 20-30% of Spain’s film production, and in the Basque Country, where Spain’s largest film festival is held, and which traditionally has a high level of artistic ambition with directors such as Julio Medem (b. 1958) making La ardilla roja (1993, The Red Squirrel), and Imanol Uribe (b. 1950) with Extraños (1998, Strangers).

Spain – cuisine

The Spanish cuisine varies with the local climatic conditions as well as the presence of ingredients. The northern provinces are known for solid bean dishes, spicy sausages (chorizo), fresh seafood, while ice-cooled coffee and cold soup (gazpacho) are increasingly consumed in the warm central and southern Spain. The regions each have their own regional dishes or regional versions of the dishes, such as the clipfish dish bacalao, the rice dish paella and the omelette tortilla, just as the composition of tapas varies.

In general, Spanish food is coarse and simply cooked, rich in vegetables, fruits, bread, fish, meat and spices. Cooked dishes, estofado, are widespread and olive oil is indispensable. In Extremadura in southwestern Spain, cork oak is grown, whose acorns are food for the local Iberian pig breed and are said to give flavor to the famous salted and dried hams jamón serrano and jamón ibérico, which are eaten throughout Spain and which in recent years have a place in the international gastronomic world.

Spanish cuisine was shaped into what we know today when the Arabs in the 700-t. conquered the country and installed the first irrigation systems, which enabled the Spaniards to cultivate land that had previously been barren and desolate. Crops such as citrus fruits, figs, dates, apricots, sugar cane, rice and eggplants became widely available, and the dried fruits in dried version as well as nuts and many spices (cloves, cinnamon, saffron and especially nutmeg) are today frequent ingredients in Spanish cooking. With the discovery of America came tomatoes and peppers, which today are the basis of numerous Spanish dishes, as well as cocoa, beans, corn and the indispensable potato.

Spain – wine

Spain is the world’s third largest wine producer (after Italy and France) and produced 1995-99 approximately 34 mio. hl of wine a year. With 1.4 million. ha, Spain has the world’s largest wine area, but the dry climate in most areas gives a very small yield.

“For a Spanish wine to be worth drinking, red wine must be from Rioja, white wine from Penedès and rosé from Navarra,” the Spaniards themselves said earlier. But since the 1980’s, there has been a minor revolution, as many cooperatives have acquired state-of-the-art equipment, and fermentation in stainless steel tanks now preserves the fruit and aroma of the grapes in the wines. It has improved the previously heavy, oxygenated and alcoholic wines from La Mancha, Alicante and Valencia, which were previously mostly used for blending or distilling for brandy. This is particularly the La Mancha green grape Airen which covers 1/3 of the total Spain crops of vines.

The best and most famous wines are grown in the northern part of the country. In Galicia, fresh and crisp white wines are made from the albariño grape, a variety of Riesling. Tempranillo is Spain’s finest blue grape, and it characterizes the best red wines from Rioja, Toro and the new super district Ribera del Duero. This is where the country’s usually finest wine, Vega Sicilia, comes from, but the Danish winemaker Peter Sisseck (b. 1962) made the first “Dominio de Pingus” in 1995, a cult wine which is now the most expensive from Spain. In Rioja, tempranillo is often mixed with garnacha, the country’s most planted blue grape, which gives warmth and fullness to the wines.

Wines from Spain became seriously famous around 1970, when Miguel Torres (b. 1941) from Penedès won in major international tastings and introduced French grape varieties.

Following Spain’s accession to the EU, the country’s wine law has been brought in line with the French one. approximately 50 districts have the status of DO, Denominación de Origen, while Rioja as the only area so far in 1991 became DOCa, where Ca stands for Calificada. In just a few years, Spain has more than doubled its exports to Denmark and in 1999 accounted for 20% of our wine consumption.

Spain Education