Culture and art in the XVIII century

    1. Culture and art in Europe

   - SCIENCES. The principles of observation and experimentation are developed.

   + Astronomy. The main figure was Laplace, with his famous theory about the origins of the Earth. Herschel discovered the planet Uranus.

   + Physics. Important inventions were made, like the thermometer (Celsius and Farenheit), the lighting conductor (Franklin) and, above the rest, the steam machine (Watt).

   + Chemistry. The main driver was Lavoissier, who formulated the principle of conservation of mass.


   + English Positivism. English philosopher Locke, being based on Descartes’ rationalism, gave to his philosophy a positivist sense, searching functional purposes for it: political freedom, religious tolerance and rational education.

   + French rationalism. Their intention is to destroy previous ideas and create a new State, a new religion and a new society based on the reason. These ideas carried them to scepticism, ateism and materialism. Important names were Montesquieu (author of Spirit of the Laws), Voltaire and Rouseau, advocate of social equality (author of Emile and The Social Contract).

   + The Encyclopaedia. It pretended to be a summary of all the knwoledge of its times, and it was the main tool of the revolution. The work was directed by Diderot and d'Alambert.

   - LITERATURE. The great genious of its time was Goethe, writer of Faust. In England a relevant figure was Daniel Defoe, with his famous Robinson Crusoe.

   - ARTS.

   + Architecture. Following the baroque arrived the rococo, which mainly used curved lines. It was inmediately followed by the neoclassical, a return to the calm, peaceful spirit of ancient times and the use of straight lines.

   + Painting. In France the main names were Boucher and David; in England, Reynolds and Romney; in Italy, Tiepolo and, in Spain, Francisco de Goya.

   + Sculpture. The best sculptors were French, like Pigalle, Falconet and Hondon. In Spain the most important name was Salcillo.

   2. Write if these authors are related to sciences, philosophy, literature or arts:



Daniel Defoe









    3. Spanish culture

   French culture was fashionable at the time.

   - EDUCATION. It was promoted by the Borbon kings.

   + Primary education. Charles III funded the Primary teaching. He created the First Letters Schools, and the Economic Society created the elementary schools.

   + Secondary education. It was responsability of the Jesuits.

   + La enseñanza superior. En el siglo XVIII se crearon las Reales Academias de la Lengua (1713), de Medicina (1734), de la Historia (1738) y de Bellas Artes de San Fernando (1752).

   -LETTERS. In poetry the most important names are Melendez Valdes, (see figure), Torres y Villarroel and the fables writers Samaniego and Iriarte; in theatre stood out Ramón de la Cruz and Leandro Fernández de Moratinos.

   -SCIENCES. Physics and chemical were cultivated by Lanz y Ruiz de Luzuriaga; other scientists were important in maths, medicine and natural sciences (See picture).

    4. Write if these facts are about education, letters or sciences:

Fables writers Samaniego and Iriarte

Charles III created schools

Maths were developed

The poet Melendez Valdes

The Jesuits’ responsability

Lanz y Ruiz de Luzuriaga stood out

The Spanish Royal Academy

The poet Torres y Villarroel

    5. Development of arts in Spain

   Arts were not developed as in the previous XVI and XVII centuries, and a decay is noted.

   - ARCHITECTURE. In the first middle of the XVIII century continued the churrigueresque style or Spanish Baroque, rich in ornamental style and academical Baroque, imported from Italy and France, less ornamental and more classic. Important buildings of the time are La Granja Palace (Segovia), whose beautiful gardens and fountains are similar to Versailles ones, and Riofrio palace.

   During the second half of the century Neoclassical style was the more important. The main names were Ventura Rodriguez, who remodeled the inside of the Pilar Basilica in Zaragoza and Madrid’s architect Juan de Villanueva, with the Prado Museum and the Botanic Garden.

   - SCULPTURE. It was promoted by the Royal Fine Arts Academy of San Fernando, with Damián Campmany and Francisco Gutiérrez, creator of the famous Cibeles in Madrid. But the most important was Francisco Salcillo, the author of the famous Easter Week stands of Murcia, as The Angel of the Praying in the Orchard, The Verónica, The Sorrowful Virgin, etc.

   - PAINTING. The most prominent figure of the century was Francisco de Goya y Lucientes, who created new ways of painting, opening new paths to European painting and being the starting point of what today we called Modern art. We could appreciate two phases:

   + In the first stage is painting is glad and bright. He painted “majos and majas”, Gallant Colloquium, The Meadow and The Blind man (see picture above) among others.

   + In the second stage, the artist felt sad and angry for disillusionments and deafness and became irascible and violent. Goya painted Independence war scenes, as The 2 of May 1808 and The 3 of May 1808. He also painted witches and fools in different attitudes.

   + Goya was also a wonderful portrait painter, as The family of Charles IV.

   + Also, some foreigners painters, as Tiepolo and Mengs, worked in Spain.

    6. Write if the following artists are related to architecture, sculpture or painting:

Francisco de Goya

Ventura Rodríguez

Damián Campmany

Juan de Villanueva

Francisco Gutiérrez

Tiépolo and Mengs

Francisco Salcillo

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®Arturo Ramo García.-Record of intellectual property of Teruel (Spain) No 141, of 29-IX-1999
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