IV Centenario de la Plaza Mayor de Madrid

Elvira Q.

La Plaza Mayor ha sido durante cuatro siglos el patio común de la villa, lugar de encuentro y convivencia para uso y disfrute de todos los madrileños y visitantes, siendo uno de los espacios más singulares de Madrid.

En sus orígenes fue la plaza del Arrabal, al situarse en el arrabal de Santa Cruz, fuera del recinto amurallado de la ciudad. Estaba formada por un mercado, bajo los soportales de algunas casas de los comerciantes de esa zona, en su mayoría judíos. Se eligió este lugar para el comercio para evitar el portazgo, la tasa comercial por la venta de mercancías dentro de la ciudad.

En 1463 Enrique IV concedió a la Villa de Madrid el privilegio de celebrar todos los meses una feria, que se empezó a celebrar en las inmediaciones de la desaparecida iglesia del Salvador, y que finalmente acabó trasladándose a la ya famosa y animada plaza del Arrabal.

Poco a poco se fueron creando a su alrededor una serie de viviendas de mejor factura que fueron ennobleciendo la zona. En el año 1494, en época de los Reyes Católicos la plaza del Arrabal empezó a regularizarse tanto en el sentido urbanístico como comercial.

Con la decisión de Felipe II de convertir Madrid en la capital de su imperio, en 1561, la futura Plaza Mayor pasó de ser una zona marginal y aislada, a convertirse en un foco de atracción de la vida comercial y social de Madrid.

Las primeras trazas fueron encargadas al arquitecto Juan de Herrera. Y ya en 1591 se empieza a denominar Plaza Mayor. A comienzos del siglo XVI, reinando Felipe III, su aspecto era ruinoso y destartalado, por lo que el monarca ordena su la reestructuración, que tomó un aire majestuoso, con una mayor amplitud y mayor dignidad, en consonancia con el boato de la dinastía de los Austrias.

Perspectiva de la Plaza Mayor 1634. Museo de Historia

Perspectiva de la Plaza Mayor 1634. Museo de Historia

En 1608 el arquitecto Francisco de Mora recibió el encargo de “cuadrar la plaza”, pero no sería hasta 1617 cuando su sobrino Juan Gómez de Mora comenzase la creación de la gran Plaza Mayor de Madrid. La Plaza fue concebida enmarcada dentro de un rectángulo de 152 metros de largo por 94 metros de ancho. Estas medidas no fueron elegidas al azar, sino que fueron el resultado de aplicar la sección áurea a las proporciones de la Plaza. Como se había levantado en una plataforma artificial sobre la antigua laguna de Luján, se solventó el desnivel entre la Plaza y la Cava de San Miguel mediante una serie de viviendas que servían como muro talud y se conectó con una escalinata la Cava con la Plaza a través de un arco, el famoso Arco de Cuchilleros.

Los comercios se situaban en sus soportales a modo de lonja y su distribución obedecía a las indicaciones de los diversos gremios existentes: En el lienzo de poniente debían estar los paños, en el meridional la Casa de la Carnicería, junto con el cáñamo y sedas, en el de levante, la quincalla, manteros y zapateros, y en el del norte, la Casa de la Panadería, sedas e hilos a excepción de la planta baja en donde estaba el Peso Real y Fiel Contraste. En el primer piso de la Casa de la Panadería se construyó el salón real con vistas a la Plaza a través del balcón real desde donde la monarquía asistiría a los eventos como espectadores privilegiados.

Plaza Mayor 1870. Museo de Historia

Plaza Mayor 1870. Museo de Historia

Durante el reinado de Isabel II, perdió la función de lugar de espectáculos para lo que fue concebida, y se remodeló el espacio central convirtiéndolo en un jardín a la francesa; siguiendo la moda urbanística francesa, fue adoquinada, ajardinada y engalanada con fuentes, y a instancias del entonces concejal de Madrid, Mesonero Romanos, se colocó en el centro la estatua ecuestre de Felipe III, situada hasta entonces en la Casa de Campo.

La nueva Plaza con un cierto aire neoclásico, tendría unas dimensiones finales de 120 por 90 metros, con 114 arcos incluidos los ocho de acceso, 377 balcones, cuatro torres y un total de 76 buhardillas. La Plaza Mayor, convertida en centro neurálgico de Madrid, comenzó a ser lugar de paso obligatorio para comerciantes, compradores, turistas, paseantes…

Tal y como la contemplamos hoy en día es el resultado de una serie de restauraciones e intervenciones a lo largo de sus cuatro siglos de historia.

En 1880, se restauró la Casa de la Panadería y los frescos de su fachada fueron repintados debido a su avanzado estado de deterioro. En los años 1921 y 1935 se realizaron profundas reformas en las viviendas, sobre todo para consolidar el balconaje. Pero la reforma más importante llevada a cabo en la Plaza Mayor tuvo lugar en los años sesenta, se recuperó los tejados de pizarra y se regularizaron y ordenaron sus buhardillas; se cerró al tráfico rodado y se habilitó un aparcamiento subterráneo; se realizó el adoquinado actual, con el que desaparecieron las zonas ajardinadas y se suprimió todo tipo de mobiliario urbano para recuperar la grandiosa escala del primitivo proyecto. De esta manera, pasó de ser una apacible plaza burguesa donde poder sentarse a leer o pasear, a convertirse en un lugar de tránsito.

La última de las grandes actuaciones en la Plaza Mayor, se llevó a cabo en el año 1992, coincidiendo con la titularidad de Madrid como Capital Europea de la Cultura y consistió en la decoración de los muros de la Casa de la Panadería. Los antiguos y deteriorados frescos, fueron sustituidos por otros de Carlos Franco con un programa iconográfico que reunía diversos elementos relacionados con la historia y usos de la Plaza Mayor, tipos castizos y personajes de la mitología clásica.

plaza-mayor-madrid_0

Actualmente la Plaza Mayor es uno de los lugares más emblemáticos de Madrid y con motivo de la celebración del IV Centenario del inicio de su construcción, se pretende confirmar a la Plaza Mayor de Madrid, por su historia y por su carácter popular, como uno de los ejes de centralidad cultural de la ciudad, dando cauce a todas las propuestas e iniciativas de los agentes culturales, artísticos, económicos y sociales.

La entrada de la primavera dará comienzo con la instalación de un grafiti de agua y luz. Artistas innovadores de incuestionable prestigio serán invitados a intervenir en el espacio de la Plaza Mayor y convertirlo en una especie de patio de recreo artístico para todos los públicos. Los balcones, los arcos, los pasadizos de la Plaza acogerán distintas propuestas al inicio de cada estación evocando desde un punto de vista contemporáneo las decoraciones y fiestas de la corte que se celebraban en el siglo XVII.

A través de estas obras los transeúntes vivirán momentos lúdicos y festivos, a la vez que serán partícipes de una experiencia artística contemporánea de la más alta calidad: interactividad, nuevas tecnologías e instalaciones contemporáneas para favorecer que ocurran cosas sorprendentes e inesperadas, intervenciones en el espacio público para crear vínculos con las personas y proporcionarles recuerdos imborrables asociados a la Plaza Mayor.

Los días 23, 24, 25 y 26 de marzo el colectivo Waterlight Graffiti ofrecerá un espectáculo tecnológico nocturno único. En la Plaza Mayor se implantarán unos paneles de alta definición realizados con miles de luces LED sobre los que los asistentes podrán dibujar y escribir con agua. Una experiencia interactiva verdaderamente mágica para todos los que se animen a participar, pues la intervención estará disponible al público de 20:00 a 23:00 horas.

Además, el artista madrileño de fama mundial SUSO33, uno de los precursores del grafiti iconográfico y de la experimentación con el lenguaje de esta disciplina en España, intervendrá sobre los paneles de Waterlight Graffiti en tres pases abiertos al público los días 23, 24 y 25 de marzo a las 21:00 horas, creando piezas pictóricas de luz únicamente con agua.

Paralelamente se celebrará Archipiélagos, un taller de jardines efímeros para niños organizado por Calamar Teatro, donde los más pequeños podrán crear su propio jardín en miniatura que se conectará con el del resto de participantes formando un gran jardín colectivo, un archipiélago de color diverso, único e irrepetible.El taller se celebrará de 12:30 a 15:00 y de 17:30 a 20:00 horas el sábado 25, y de 12:30 a 15:00 horas el domingo 26.

 

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