Las Meninas, 1656, by Diego Velazquez (Prado Museum)
Spanish art’s golden age—as exemplified by the works of artists such as El Greco and Velázquez—reflects a complex set of forces that combined humanist ideas originating in Renaissance Italy with an emphasis on spirituality rooted in the middle ages and the Catholic Counter-Reformation.
In the course of the 16th and 17th centuries, Spanish royals and aristocrats became some of the most avid and discerning art lovers in Europe. They brought to Spain and supported the work of numerous artists from Northern Europe and Italy, resulting in cultural exchanges that were instrumental in the flourishing of their country’s art, in genres from portraiture to still-life painting.
Art historian Aneta Georgievska-Shine provides an overview of the era and the enduring achievements of Spanish artists who shaped its visual culture.
10–11 a.m. The Dawn of the Golden Age
Survey some of the main developments among painters and sculptors in 16th-century Spain, with a focus on El Greco.
11:15 a.m.–12:15 p.m. Versions of Spirituality
Explore the various ways in which some of the greatest Spanish artists (including Zurbaran, Ribera, and Murillo) responded to the dictate of the Catholic church to create art for devotional purposes.
12:15–1:15 p.m. Lunch (participants provide their own)
1:15–2:15 p.m. Velázquez: Painter, Courtier, Philosopher
Take a closer look at the unique qualities of Diego Velázquez, arguably one of the greatest artists of 17th century Europe.
2:30–3:30 p.m. Symbolic Images: From Still Life to Allegory
Analyze how Spanish artists of the period imbued their highly realistic depictions of the world with deeply symbolic meanings, usually of a spiritual nature.
Georgievska-Shine is a scholar of Renaissance and Baroque art, and teaches at the University of Maryland, College Park.
World Art History Certificate elective: Earn 1 credit*
*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.
S. Dillon Ripley Center
1100 Jefferson Dr SW
Metro: Smithsonian (Mall exit)