9 junio, 2024

Architecture in Romanticism: origin, characteristics and works

The architecture in romanticism it is a movement that sought to copy the architectural styles that were used in previous times, but at the same time added cultural details of the moment. The romantic architectural movement occurred in the 19th century and at the beginning of the 20th, but its greatest splendor occurred between 1825 and 1875.

The romantic is an architecture in which one does not notice punctual or frequent characteristics. Neo-Gothic, Neo-Romanesque and Neo-Byzantine are the names of the most used styles of the time. The prefix neo (which means new or recent) was added to the medieval styles that were imitated, the neo-Gothic being the most used style at that stage.



The origin of architecture in the romantic movement occurs in the United Kingdom, but it was consolidated in France and Germany. It was important in areas of Europe such as Spain, Austria or Italy, and in Latin American countries. It was a cultural current that arose as a response against the Enlightenment and Neoclassicism.

Culturally, Romanticism had more relevance in the area of ​​literature. In the case of Latin America, its presence was late and it did not have the same relevance as an architectural movement that it had in Europe.

With the end of the 18th century, the beginning of romantic architecture occurred. In the 19th century it had its greatest apogee, but it was in the year 1830 when it was possible to put an end to all the influence of the Classical times. Already in the year 1880 the importance of Romanticism faded a bit due to the entry of Eclecticism.

Architecture during Romanticism lives a great moment thanks to the Industrial Revolution, which came to an end between the years 1820 and 1840. The influence of the romantic movement is seen in public buildings, in the construction of factories and even in palaces and houses.

One of the most representative buildings is the Neuschwanstein castle, which is located in Germany and was completed in 1886.


It is difficult to find common elements in the architecture of Romanticism. It was about updating past styles, especially the neo-Gothic. There are ten currents that occur in romantic architecture: Neo-Baroque, Neo-Byzantine, Neo-Greek, Neocolonial, Georgian, Neo-Egyptian, Neo-Gothic, Neo-Mudejar, Neo-Renaissance and Neo-Romanesque.

On the other hand, Romanticism was a movement in which the constructions that were made did not have a decorative purpose, but rather their function was to be useful.

The constructions had a different meaning or use in each country. In the case of England, the neo-Gothic style stood out. The Spanish representatives sought an architecture that reflected the national. In the case of France, it was a move embraced by the nouveau riche.

Materials such as bricks of different colors (especially brown, cream and red) were used in the construction. Metal structures also began to be used, forcing the use of new construction procedures.

Representative works in Mexico, Spain and Colombia

In each country, romantic architecture had different reasons, exponents and concerns. In Latin America, for example, work began much later than in Europe. Due to this, the most representative works of each country are quite different from each other.


Throughout Romanticism the objective in Spain lay in the need to find a national architecture. Mudejar (with Christian and Muslim influences, with a mixture of Romanesque, Gothic and Renaissance styles) is the artistic style that the Spanish adopt most strongly.

In the Iberian Peninsula, the constructions focused more on religious or leisure sites, such as casinos and bullrings. Spanish architects used uncoated brick in their works, in combination with masonry. The use of arches is very present, such as the horseshoe, the semicircular, the lobed or the pointed.

The Almudena Cathedral, in Madrid, is one of the most representative works. The architects Francisco de Cubas and Enrique María Repullés were in charge of the crypt, which has a Neo-Romanesque style. Fernando Chueca Goitia and Carlos Sidro made the church, which has neoclassical elements on the outside and neo-Gothic inside.

Francisco de Cubas was also in charge of the construction of the church of Santa Cruz, in Madrid. Neo-Gothic and Neo-Mudejar styles are present. The use of brick and white stone or the presence of an arch are some of the most visible characteristics of this style.

In addition, Lorenzo Álvarez Capra built the church of La Paloma, in a neo-Mudejar and neo-Gothic style. And architects like Aníbal Álvarez Bouquel, Narciso Pascual or Emilio Rodríguez Ayuso build bullrings in this style. During the 19th century, more than 30 bullrings were built in Spain.


The architectural style of Mexico in Romanticism is influenced by foreign artistic expressions. At the end of the 19th century and at the beginning of the 20th century, an important construction process took place. The romantic style was reflected in the homes of the capital’s bourgeoisie and in many institutional buildings.

The Palace of Fine Arts was a work of the Italian Adamo Boari, where different styles were mixed during its construction. The Boker house was a project devised by Roberto Boker and had two American architects: De Lemos and Cordes. It was the first construction to be made using steel as full support for columns and beams.

The Church of San Felipe de Jesús was also built during Romanticism. Emilio Dondé gave the exterior of his work characteristics of the Neo-Romanesque and Gothic styles. Works such as the Post Office building have neo-Gothic details, and the Ministry of Communications and Public Works shows neoclassical influence.


Foreign architects carried the weight of the constructions during the Romanticism in Colombia, especially to educate workers and artists. Few works were carried out during this period, although there were some of some importance.

The Danish Thomas Reed was the most influential architect during the 19th century in Colombia. Reed began the construction of the National Capitol, although it took more than 80 years to complete.

The building presents a neoclassical style. While the National Museum, also by Reed, shows characteristics of Spanish romantic works, with the use of arches and masonry.

The Primate Cathedral in Bogotá is another example of romantic architecture. The Spanish architect Domingo de Petrés gave it a neoclassical style. On the other hand, the Metropolitan Cathedral of Medellín, by the French architect Charles Émile Carré, shows Neo-Romanesque forms.


Corradine Angulo, A., & Mora de Corradine, H. (2001). History of Colombian architecture. Bogota: National University of Colombia.
Escobar, W. Origin, evolution, and transformation of Romanticism in Europe and Latin America. Retrieved from academia.edu
Maya, R. (1944). Aspects of Romanticism in Colombia. Retrieved from revista-iberoamericana.pitt.edu
Theory of architecture in Mexico. Retrieved from tdx.cat
Vazquez, A. (2015). Historicism in Mexican architecture from 1925 to 1940. Retrieved from fup.edu.co

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