Aesthetics Wiki

Noucentisme was an art movement in the autonomous community of Catalonia (in northeastern Spain) that largely surged as a reaction against Modernisme and Art Nouveau, disagreeing with both its art style and ideology; completely rejecting all types of progressist Avant-garde or Romanticist political ideas. So instead, it embraced Neoclassicism.

Noucentisme attempted to contradict all of the aspects of Art Nouveau and focused on a sense of order and balance, clarity, restraint and realism. It also drew inspiration from Roman and Ancient Greek art[1].

The Catalan-language term "Noucentisme" was coined by the art critic Eugenio d'Ors Rovira, who was a prominent figure in this art movemenet, and it can roughly translate to "nine hundredism" or "new centuryism" in English. Its name is in fact a reference to Italian stereotypical artistic periods names, such as Cinquecento or Quattrocento.

Noucentisme was a multidisciplinary movement, having presence in Catalan art, cultural reforms, literature, architecture, political ideas and manifestos, among other fields.


The Noucentisme movement was started by Catalan art critics who believed the Art Nouveau and Modernisme movements had unrealistic political goals for Catalonia and also Spain or Europe as a whole. Instead, the Noucentistas believed that their region needed to modernize itself and become a more important economical power in Europe, in a realistic and conservative way. They were inspired by the classical culture of Greece and Rome as well as other Mediterranean cultures, so basically, they wanted to reform popular culture for it to become both modern yet traditional.

The region of Catalonia had a very complex history and political situation during the 1900s. Noucentisme started to decline during the early 1920s because of various disagreements between the artists of the movement, but also because of the growing sense of hatred towards the Catalan people in Spain after Miguel Primo de Rivera became the dictator of the country during the Rif War against Morocco; as the people of Barcelona had rebelled against the Spanish military. Therefore, Noucentisme was eventually suppressed and the Noucentistas never managed to reach their goals of overshadowing Modernisme or Art Nouveau.


Some visuals prominent in Noucentisme included:

  • Classical-inspired sculptures and art
  • Mediterranean-inspired motifs
  • Balance and proportion
  • Progress in a way that stays true to tradition
  • Sobriety and moderation
  • Muted, earthy colour palettes
  • Pretty much any aspects that are contrary to Art Nouveau.



The Montjuïc Castle in Barcelona

Noucentista architecture emphasized order, harmony, tradition and nobility. Some notable architects who are very representative of Noucentista architecture were Josep Goday i Casals and Rafael Masó i Valentí. This architectural style mainly flourished in the province of Girona. The first generation of Noucentistas such as Josep Maria Pericas and Morros decided to mix both elements of Noucentisme with Modernism, but later it was given a more Mediterranean and Neo-Classical twist, including elements like Greek columns, Roman walls, gargoyles and capitals.



  • Josep Carner
  • Marceliano Coquillat
  • Pompeu Fabra
  • Josep Goday i Casals
  • Rafael Masó
  • Eugenio d'Ors (also called "Xènius")
  • Enric Prat de la Riba
  • Josep Puig i Cadafalch
  • José Ortega y Gasset
  • Joaquim Sunyer