Two great architectural styles were developed, and see their finest expression, in Salamanca. Plateresque is a decorative technique of shallow relief and intricate detail, named for its resemblance to the art of the silversmith (platero); Salamanca’s native sandstone, soft and easy to carve, played a significant role in its development. Plateresque art cuts across Gothic and Renaissance frontiers – the decorative motifs of the university, for example, are taken from the Italian Renaissance but the facade of the Catedral Nueva is Gothic in inspiration. The later Churrigueresque style, an especially ornate form of Baroque, takes its name from José Churriguera (1665–1725), the dominant member of a prodigiously creative family, best known for their huge, flamboyant altarpieces.

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