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Smithsonian Associates - Entertaining, Informative, Eclectic, Insightful

Four Giants of Spanish Painting: El Greco, Velázquez, Goya, and Miró

4-Session Afternoon Course

Monday, September 20, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to Thursday, September 23, 2021 - 1:30 p.m. ET
Upcoming Session:
Monday, September 20, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET
Code: 1M2154
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$80 - Member
$90 - Non-Member
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"Las Meninas" by Diego Velazquez, 1656 (Prado Museum)

From the 16th century to the late 20th century, Spaniards have made extraordinary contributions to the history of Western art.  In a lavishly illustrated seminar, art historian Nancy G. Heller focuses on a quartet of Spain’s most significant painters—unearthing their sources, analyzing their principal works, discussing the critical receptions of their pictures, and demonstrating their influences on later generations of visual artists, both within and beyond the borders of Spain.  She also considers the stylistic and philosophical “Spanishness” that may, or may not, link these four very different men.

SEPT 20  The Mystical Canvases of El Greco

This Cretan artist (1541–1614) moved to Italy, then became a successful and controversial master painter in Toledo, Spain.  His characteristically elongated figures appear in mythological scenes such as Laocoon [Laocöon] (1614), powerful portraits and Christian religious images including The Burial of Count Orgaz (1588), and strangely evocative landscapes.

SEPT 21  Diego Velázquez: Court Painter of Spain’s Golden Age

The Spanish baroque artist Velázquez (1599–1660), a master at creating religious, historical, and mythological subjects, was especially well-known for his portraits, such as the lively study of Juan de Pareja (1650) and his celebrated Las Meninas (1656).

SEPT 22  Francisco Goya: Romantic Realist

Goya (1746–1820) produced an extraordinarily rich range of works, from his charming tapestry cartoons to memorable aristocratic and royal portraits such as that of the Duchess of Alba (1797), hard-hitting anti-war prints and canvases including The Third of May, 1808 (1814), and the nightmarish “black paintings.”

SEPT 23  Joan Miró: Humor and Horror in Modernist Works

The work of this prolific Catalan artist combines childlike playfulness and vivid color with elements of surrealism, political commentary, eroticism, and ethnic/regional pride, often with whimsical or poetic titles: Harlequin’s Carnival (1925), Woman Surrounded by a Flight of Birds in the Night (1968).  Miro (1893–1993) made distinctive, largely abstract objects in a myriad of materials and techniques, including mosaics and theatrical costumes.

Heller is professor emerita of the University of the Arts in Philadelphia.

4 sessions

World Art History Certificate elective: Earn 1 credit*

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*Enrolled participants in the World Art History Certificate Program receive 1 elective credit. Not yet enrolled? Learn about the program, its benefits, and how to register here.

This program is part of our
Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.