Spain was the superpower of the 16th Century. The wealth pouring in from the exploitation of the American colonies financed a vast outpouring of art. El Greco created images of Spain at the heighth of its power and influence in the 16th century. Murillo and Velasquez created images of Spain still in its imperal glory during the 17th century. Goya's brooding images of war stand in sharp contrast to David's heroic French images. Spanish artist Picasso is seen by many as the greatest artist of the 20th century. Spain also played an imporatant role in setting fashions.
Pedro Berruguete is one of the earliest great Spanish artists. Painting as he did during the 15th century, most of his work was on religious themes. There were, however, some important secular portraits. We do not know a great deal about Berruguette at this time. We know he worked in Italy, especially in Urbino, for some time. His portrait Federigo de Montefeltro provides a charming view of the home of a famed Italian mercenary of the age with his son which he painted about 1480. This is the first known reference to Beruguete and his first known work. The famed condottiere, Federigo di Montefeltro, duke of Urbino, had commissioned Joos van Gent to decorate the library and study of his palace with allegories to the liberal arts as well as portraits of both Biblical and pagan thinkers. Berruguete apparently collaborated with van Gent as well as painted the Duke. Later in life Berruguete provides us a more sobering image of the era--a view of the Holy Inquisition painted about 1500.
Spanish painter Salvador Dali was born near Barcelona in 1904. He was a spoiled, imperious but shy boy. He studied at the Academia of Fine Arts in Madrid and later Paris where he became a leader of the surealist movement. His paintings excited storms of controversy when they were first displayed. He came to the United States in 1934.
Goya is along with El Greco and Velasquez, is one of the three
great pillers of Spanish art. Goya addressed many different genres and styles.
He was the court painter to Charles IV. He is widely known for his portraits of
Spanish nobility, including boys, but he also painted many accomplished scenes of
El Greco (the Greek) was born on Crete. He is best known for his painting, but he was a sculptor and architect as well. Crete at the time was under Venetian control. While born on Crete, he is more associated with Spain where he settled. He is the first great Spanish artist. His actual name was Domenikos Theotocopoulos. Despite working in Spain, he always signed his works in Greek characters, sometimes followed by Kres (Cretan). Other than portraits, most of his paintings has religious themes. We know only a few works in which boys were depicted showing the fashions of the day in Spain.
Among the great Spanish painters, Bartolome Esteban Murillo has to be listed. Murillo like Velazquez began his caeeer by painting street scenes. Unlike Velaquez hw never suceeded in making grand court connections. Murillowas especially noted for his paintings of street urchins ("Boys eating melons and grapes"; "Boys playing with marbles"). He also did some important religious works as well, like "St. John as a boy with a lamb". He was born and died in Seville. In truth Murillo loved children and this attachment can be seen in his portraits of them. They are very realistic portraits, Some are slightly idealized, but still very early. Murillo had 11 children. Sadly many died in childhood. At the end he was left nearly alone/
Pablo Picasso is one of the towering figures of the 20th century. Pablo Picasso was born in 1881. His father was an art teacher at recognized at an early age that his son was very talented. He devoted considerable effort in developing that talent. There is a small museum in Barcelona, the Museo de Picasso, that focuses on the artists early works. Picasso went through many stages and as a resulted painted in many diffeent styles. He is best known for cubism but many of his early works are stkingly realistic. From an early age he exibited a rebelious spirit. He spent much time in in th Barcelona cafes as a teenagers debating the issues of the day with friends. He went to Paris and was influenced by the impressionists and other Frenchh art movements. He was especially struck by Toulouse-Lautrec's sketchy appoach. He spent his early years moving back and forth between Frnce and Spain. We include him here because of his enormous impact on Western art. He did many portraits, but relatively few provide detailed information on clothing.
Spanish artist Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida was from Valencia. He began his education as a painter when he was 15 years old. He moved to Madrid when he was 18 years old and supported himself by copying old masters at the Prado. At age 22 he was awarded a grant to study in Rome. He developed a wonderful ability to depict the effect of sunlight on his subjects and the whiteor light-colored clothing they wore. He was especially noted for his sunny portraits of children at the seaside during the early 20th century. The boys are often depicted without clothing. The girls wear a long shirt. Sorolla painted many of his beach pictures at Valencia. He worked rpidly. He liked to work outdoors in the sunlight. Sorolla can be considered a Spanish impressionist and much like the French impressionists. He was fascinated with the interplay of sun and water and the myriad of people depicted in his scenes.
Velaquez is generally recognized as the chief painters of the Spanish school and one of the great masters of all time. He was born in Seville and was a self-taught painter. He first visited Madrid, the royal capital, in 1622. He made his name there with one of his street scenes, the "Water seller". King Philip IV commissioned him to paint his
portrait. Velazquez was appointed pintor en camara, with a lucrative stipend. He furthur improved his acclaim at court with a work appealing to Spanish nationalism, Expulsion of the Moriscos and was appointed usher of the chamber. He traveled in Italy to learn about the art of the great masters. He returned to Italy in 1648-50 with a commission from the king to buy art. Many of his paintings are portraits of the royal family and Spanish nobels. Many were painted as children giving an excellent view
of how aristocratic Spanish children were dressed in the 17th Century--esentially in scaled-down versions of how their parents were dressed. Velasquez as demonstrated by the "Water seller" did not limit himself to wealthy aristocrats.
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