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A History of Spain by Charles E. Chapman

When taken from the standpoint of Spain


Advance in painting.]

[Sidenote: Music.]

The contest between the Flemish and Italian influences on Spanish painting resolved itself decidedly in favor of the latter, although a certain eclecticism, the germ of a national school, made itself apparent in the works of Spanish artists. Characteristics of a medieval type still persisted, such as faulty drawing, color lacking in energy and richness, a sad and sober ambient, and a disregard for everything in a painting except the human figures. Like sculpture, painting began to be dissociated from architecture, and was encouraged by the purchases of the wealthy. It was not yet the custom to hang paintings on the walls; they were kept in chests or otherwise under lock and key except when brought out for temporary display. Music, employed principally in song as the accompaniment of verse, enjoyed a favor comparable with that of the plastic arts.



[Sidenote: Historical setting of the era of the House of Austria.]

From the standpoint of European history the period of the House of Hapsburg, or Austria, covering nearly two centuries, when Spain was one of the great powers of the world, should be replete with the details of Spanish intervention in European

affairs. The purposes of the present work will be served, however, by a comparatively brief treatment of this phase of Spanish history; indeed, the central idea underlying it reduces itself to this: Spain wasted her energies and expended her wealth in a fruitless attempt, first to become the dominant power in Europe, and later to maintain possessions in Italy and the Low Countries which were productive only of trouble; what she took from the Americas with the one hand, she squandered in Europe with the other. Internally there were changes which were to react on the Spanish colonial dominions, wherefore a correspondingly greater space must be accorded peninsula history than directly to the wars in Europe. The greatest feature of the period was the conquest of the Americas, accomplished in part by the spectacular expeditions of the _conquistadores_, or conquerors, and in part by the slower advance of the Spanish settlers, pushing onward the frontier of profits. Not only was this the most notable achievement when considered from the American angle, but it was, also, when taken from the standpoint of Spain, and possibly, too, from that of Europe and the world.

[Sidenote: Vast empire of Charles I of Spain, the Emperor Charles V.]

The Italian venture of the Aragonese kings had yielded probably more of advantage than of harm down to the time of Ferdinand, and it may be that even he did not overstep the bounds of prudence in his ambitious designs. When his policies were continued, however, in the person of Charles I, better known by his imperial title as the Emperor Charles V, the results were to prove more disastrous to Spain than beneficial. The circumstances were in fact different for the two monarchs, although their aims were much the same. Some writers have supposed that Ferdinand himself recognized the danger of a union of the Austrian, Burgundian, and Spanish dominions under one king, and they assert that he planned to make Charles' younger brother, Ferdinand, ruler of Spain and the Two Sicilies in case the former should be elected emperor. In his will, however, he respected the principle of

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