Since the 19th century scholars have understood the architectural history and discourses of 15th-century Castile according to a theory of national styles. The figure of the German architect Juan de Colonia, whose family worked for three generations as master of works at Burgos cathedral, constituted a fundamental element in the development of this theoretical approach. Drawing on new archaeological and documentary research, this lecture will propose a new account of the paradigm shifts in the art of construction in 15th-century Castile by analyzing Colonia’s works and his intellectual context. It will explore the role played by this architect in the exchange of models and technical knowledge in the stonemasons’ lodge at Burgos cathedral. At the same time, it will explore connections with other building sites in the region as well as the transmission of ideas between Juan and his son Simón.
Nicolás Menéndez González, born in Gijón, studied at the University of Oviedo, Ruhr University Bochum, Complutense University of Madrid and the University of Cologne, where he received his PhD (2016). He was scientific assistant at the Dr. Ivo Rauch Specialist Bureau for Art and Heritage Protection (Koblenz) and he is currently responsible for the protection of architectonic monuments in the Supreme Authority for the Protection and Conservation of Monuments at the Ministry of Homeland, Municipal, Building and Equality of North Rhine-Westphalia. A specialist in the study of Gothic architecture, he investigates the epistemology and discourses of ágrafa-architecture.