Domes 3

The Calatravas Church, and on the background the Unión y El Fenix building

The Calatravas Church is what remains from the old Concepción Real Covent (1670-1678), in Calle Alcalá 25, neart the Puerta del Sol. In 1750 the italian painter Antonio Joli did not show the church itself, but the painting shows how the domes and spires of noteworthy buildings compared in terms of scale with the rest of the buildings. During the early XXth century Madrid became a quite american- like city in terms of architecture, mostly due to the nearby Gran Via project, and heigths reached new limits, as the few remaining XVIIth century buildings lost their preponderance to others that, sometimes, had also a good architecture. On the background you can see a svelte tower (less than 200 sq m per floor, with a side under 15 m), initially built for the La Unión y El Fénix insurance company (to which Spanish cities owe many buildings in relevant places around the same time), and today converted into the Petit Palace Alcalá Torre Hotel. Even if its clear that this tower is not a dome, it has the same spirit to “show the head”, in this case through sveltesse (proportions are more relevant than dimensions…)

Antonio Joli, 1750, Alcala Street

 

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