Ricardo Velázquez Bosco

Ricardo Velázquez Bosco (1843–1923) was a Spanish architect, archaeologist and scholar.

Ricardo Velázquez Bosco
Ricardo Velázquez Bosco.jpg
DiedAugust 1923
BuildingsPalacio de Cristal, Palacio de Velázquez, Palacio de Fomento, Pantheon of the Duchess of Sevillano

Velázquez's most notable architecture was erected in Madrid, buildings such as the Palacio de Cristal and the Palacio de Velázquez (both in the Parque del Buen Retiro) and the massive Ministry of Agriculture building. As an architect he was known for the prolific use of glazed pieces of ceramics in bright colors for his projects.[1] He also carried out restoration work on the Cathedral–Mosque of Córdoba and directed important archaeological excavations near Córdoba in Medina Azahara.


The Palacio de Cristal in Madrid's Buen Retiro Park, designed by Ricardo Velázquez Bosco
Entrance of the Palacio de Velázquez designed by and named after Ricardo Velázquez Bosco
Ministerio de Agricultura designed and built by Ricardo Velázquez Bosco

Born in 1843 in Burgos.[2] Use of ceramics as decorative architectural materials became popular in Spain in the late 19th century and early 20th century. Architects such as Velázquez used them in the style which came to be known as “Regionalist Architecture".[1] Velázquez built the Palacio de Velázquez, which is named after him, in the Parque del Buen Retiro in Madrid.[3][4] This building, which was constructed for the Exposición Nacional de Minería (1883), features ceramic tiles made by Daniel Zuloaga.[4][5]

The Palacio de Velazquez and the nearby Palacio de Cristal are influenced by London's Crystal Palace. Velázquez taught the Spanish architect Antonio Palacios who was influenced by his eclectic and modern style; it is sometimes called "emphatic eclecticism". His works are characterized by a resounding treatment of volume, as well as the use of ceramic decoration on building facades. He was a member of the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando along with Enrique María Repullés and Narciso Pascual Colomer.[6] Most of his work was concentrated in Madrid, where he taught at the School of Architecture.

He died in Madrid in August 1923.[2]

Archaeology and restorationEdit

Velázquez, who from 1910 was the director of the Madrid school of architecture, also taught history of art. He was involved in archaeological and conservation projects, notably in the province of Córdoba, where he was assisted by the sculptor Mateo Inurria who was Director of the arts school of Cordoba.[7]


As an archaeologist, Ricardo Velázquez Basco was involved in the excavation of two Islamic heritage sites near Córdoba in 1910/11:

  • Madīnat az-Zahrā (Medina Azahara), a large medieval site built by the Umayyad Caliphs of Córdoba.[8] This long-abandoned site had previously yielded finds, but Velázquez' work effectively represented its rediscovery.
  • Munyat al-Rummaniyya (El Cortijo Alamiriya). This excavation revealed the remains of a country estate with four rectangular terraces, over a 4 hectares (9.9 acres) area, of size 160 metres (520 ft) x150 metres (490 ft). Although the terraces are still to be seen, with the masonry of a pool in the upper terrace, the remains of a house which were examined by Velazquez are not longer extant. After analyzing the materials used in this structure he interpreted the site as an almunia with a layout found also at Madinat al-Zehrá.[3]
After Velásquez' death the site was identified as Munyat al-Rummaniyya, an estate known from documentary sources.[9]

It has been suggested that there was a political motive for these excavations, as Spain was in the process of colonizing Morocco, a Muslim country; a process which culminated in 1912 when Spain and France made Morocco its “protectorate.”[10]


Velázquez undertook restoration/conservation works at the Cathedral–Mosque of Córdoba. The building had been declared a national monument in 1882; the works involved the reversal of accretions, for example, removing an altarpiece from the mihrab and a lean-to structure from the west façade.[11] He worked on León Cathedral and the La Rábida Monastery.


His most important works include the following buildings in Madrid:

Some of his other works include:


  1. ^ a b Gavin, Robin Farwell; Museum of International Folk Art (N.M.) (2003). Cerámica Y Cultura: The Story of Spanish and Mexican Mayólica (in Spanish). UNM Press. p. 127. ISBN 978-0-8263-3102-1. Retrieved 11 September 2012.
  2. ^ a b "Don Ricardo Velázquez Bosco" (PDF). Arquitectura. 5 (53): 281. September 1923.
  3. ^ a b Anderson, Glaire D.; Owen, Mariam Rosser- (2007). Revisiting Al-Andalus: Perspectives on the Material Culture of Islamic Iberia and Beyond. BRILL. pp. 35–36. ISBN 9789004162273. Retrieved 12 September 2012.
  4. ^ a b Gallagher, Mary-Ann (2011). Frommer's Madrid Day By Day. John Wiley & Sons. p. 95. ISBN 9781119972587. Retrieved 12 September 2012.
  5. ^ Jorrín, Emilio (1992). Efemerides Matritenses, 852–1992 (in Spanish). Avapiés. p. 68. ISBN 978-84-86280-59-8. Retrieved 18 September 2012.
  6. ^ Preckler, Ana María (10 October 2003). Historia Del Arte Universal De Los Siglos XIX Y XX (in Spanish). Editorial Complutense. p. 189. ISBN 978-84-7491-706-2. Retrieved 12 September 2012.
  7. ^ Sajadian, Morteza (1984). Madinat al-Zahra and its sculptural decor, Volume 1. University of Wisconsin—Madison. p. 11. Retrieved 12 September 2012.
  8. ^ "Medina Azahara amplía su zona arqueológica". Archived from the original on January 17, 2013. Retrieved October 7, 2012.
  9. ^ "Al-Munyat al-Rummaniyya". Middle East Garden Traditions. 2007. Retrieved October 4, 2012.
  10. ^ Necipogulu, Gulru (1997). Muqarnas, Volume 14: An Annual on the Visual Culture of the Islamic World. BRILL. p. 232. ISBN 9789004108721. Retrieved 12 September 2012.
  11. ^ Layton, Robert (2001). Destruction and Conservation of Cultural Property. Psychology Press. p. 95. ISBN 9780415216951. Retrieved 12 September 2012.

External linksEdit