What was culteranismo?

He Culteranismo Is a literary current that arose in Spain framed within the Spanish baroque literature.

It covers the period between the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. S also known as Gongorism thanks to its greatest exponent Luis de Góngora.

Gongora creator of culteranismo

It is characterized by a vocabulary very ornate and ostentatious at the same time that conveys a message complicated by a sea of ​​metaphors and a complex syntactic order.

The name is a mixture of cult and Lutheranism and was coined by its opponents to present it as a heresy of true poetry.

Characteristics of culteranismo

The culteranismo is inscribed within the literary current of the Spanish baroque that took place in the called period Golden age . The artistic and cultural movement of El Baroque Was characterized by:


The Renaissance was unsuccessful in its purpose of imposing harmony and perfection on the world as the humanists had tried it, nor had it made man happier.

War and social inequalities continued, misery and calamities were common throughout Europe. An intellectual pessimism became more and more marked along with a carefree character of which the comedies of the period and the dishonest narrations on which the picaresque novels are based bear faithful testimony.


As the Renaissance ideals failed and in the case of Spain political power continued to fall, disappointment grew and was manifested in literature that in many cases, remembered that of previous centuries.

According to Quevedo, life is formed by successions of deceased in which the newborns become in them, from the diaper to the shroud. In conclusion, nothing temporal matters, it is only necessary to obtain eternal salvation.

In this line, in view of the crisis of the baroque, the Spanish writers reacted in several ways such as:


It refers to the questioning of reality through the singing of feats and glories of the past or through the presentation of an ideal world in which problems are solved and order prevails, is the case of the theater of Lope de Vega and his followers. Others, for their part, took refuge in the world of art and mythology as in the case of Luis de Gongora.


Another group of writers opted to make fun of the reality like Quevedo and Góngora in some occasions, as well as in the picaresque novel.


Complaints about the vanity of the world, the transience of beauty, life and fame. The greatest exponent of this was Calderón de la Barca in the Sacramental Auto.


Criticizing the defects and vices and proposing models of behavior in accordance with the political and religious ideology of his time, typified by the narrative and doctrinal prose of Gracian and Saavedra Fajardo.

As can be seen, during the Spanish Baroque the authors suffered a profound pessimism in the face of the absolute failure of the Renaissance ideals that promised happiness and perfection and instead have a world plagued by wars, diseases and deep economic and political problems.

Disappointment was established and life was considered only as a journey through time during which anything and everything that was evil could, and would probably occur.

Death looked upon itself as the cure for all these hardships as it promised peaceful rest as well as eternal salvation away from the agony and tragedies of life.

This gave rise to a deep concern for the passage of time, a distrust of everything earthly and a deep melancholy characteristic of all authors of Spanish Baroque literature.

There were a few literary reactions to this pessimistic feeling and each author developed his own way of expressing the unhappiness and dissatisfaction that the political, social and economic situation that Spain was going through.

Some of them, like Lope de Vega, tried to escape the world that caused him so much pain by writing about the glories of days gone by or about some utopian world, where every problem could be solved easily; Others like Gongora, preferred to hide within the folds of art and mythology.

A happier way of dealing with the harsh reality was satirizing it and this was Quevedo's way of escaping from the world he disliked. Others tried to make people see problems in their societies, writing about human vanity and the transience of beauty and life as Calderon did.

Gracián and Saavedra Fajardo, for their part, preferred to criticize the apparent vices in society and to propose alternative codes of conduct consistent with the political and religious ideology of their time.

Spanish Baroque literature evaluated the author's absolute freedom to create, distort forms and play with complex concepts and expressions that were intended to surprise or impress the reader.

Apart from culteranismo, there existed another Spanish baroque movement in the field of the letters called conceptismo and whose main exponent was Francisco de Quevedo.

Conceptismo is characterized by a fast pace, a direct and intelligent vocabulary as well as a satirical wit. It is also transmitted in a concise manner expressing mainly concepts.


1. Encyclopedia Britannica. (S.f.). Retrieved on February 4, 2017, by Luis de Góngora: britannica.com.
2. Encyclopedia Britannica. (S.f.). Retrieved on February 4, 2017, from Conceptismo: britannica.com.
3. Encyclopedia Britannica. (S.f.). Retrieved on February 3, 2017, from Spanish Literature: britannica.com.
4. Spanish Books. (S.f.). Retrieved on February 4, 2017, from Baroque Literature overview: classicspanishbooks.com.
5. Wikipedia. (S.f.). Retrieved on February 2, 2017, by Luis de Góngora: wikipedia.org.
6. Wikipedia. (S.f.). Retrieved on February 2, 2017, from Spanish Baroque Literature: wikipedia.org.
7. Wikipedia. (S.f.). Retrieved on February 3, 2017, from Culteranismo: wikipedia.org.
8. Wikipedia. (S.f.). Retrieved on February 3, 2017, from Spanish Renaissance: wikipedia.org.

Loading ..

Recent Posts

Loading ..