Baroque Architecture: Góngora and the Folds of Wit

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This article analyses the architectonic rhetoric of Luis de Góngora's Fábula de Polifemo y Galatea through a comparison with Baroque quadratura, the painting of walls and/or ceilings with illusionistic architecture on a one-to-one scale with real space. It draws upon the theories of Baltasar Gracián and, especially, Maciej Kazimierz Sarbiewski to argue that what links quadratura and such architectonic wit is the manner in which both embody contrastive elements and impact on the viewer or reader, and, especially, the consequences attendant on their merging of contrastive elements. The article aims both to contextualize what I term Baroque space by reading it through the aesthetic of wit dominant in the seventeenth century and to read the Polifemo's rhetoric and conceits, especially when at their most architectonic, as superb folds in the fabric of language in order to explore one of the Baroque's most striking and disquieting features, the interplay of opposites, in visual and verbal media.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-82
Number of pages28
JournalBulletin of Spanish Studies
Issue number1
Early online date7 Jan 2013
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • art
  • Polifemo
  • quadratura
  • Gongora
  • architecture
  • baroque
  • Deleuze
  • Sarbiewski
  • wit
  • agudeza


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