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A History of Spain by Charles E. Chapman

Sidenote Other notable painters


Appearance of an independent Spanish school in painting.]

In the early years of this period the Italian influence on Spanish painting held full sway. The leading factors were the Florentine school, headed by Raphael, and the Venetian school, of which Titian was the most prominent representative. The latter, notable for its brilliant coloring and effects of light, was by all odds the more important of the two. Spaniards went to Italy to study, and not a few Italian painters came to Spain, while many works of the Italian masters, especially those of Titian, were procured by Charles I and Philip II. Nevertheless, the signs of a truly Spanish school began to appear about the middle of the sixteenth century, and before the close of Philip II's reign the era of Spanish independence in painting and the day of the great masters were at hand, to endure for over a century. With characteristic individuality, Spaniards did not separate into well-defined local schools, but displayed a great variety, even within the same group. Still, in a general way the Andalusians may be said to have accentuated the use of light and a warm ambient, while the Castilians followed a more severe style, employing darker tones. All devoted themselves to the depiction of religious subject-matter, but with no attempt at idealism; rather, the mundane sphere of realism, though in a religious cloak, preoccupied them, with attention, too, to expression and coloring more than to drawing

and purity of form.

[Sidenote: El Greco, first of the great masters in painting.]

[Sidenote: Ribera.]

[Sidenote: Zurbar?n.]

[Sidenote: Vel?zquez, greatest of the masters.]

[Sidenote: Murillo.]

[Sidenote: Coello.]

[Sidenote: Other notable painters.]

The era of splendor began with Domenico Theotocopuli (1545?-1625), better known as "El Greco." As indicated by his name this artist was not Spanish in origin, but Greek. The character of his works, however, was so original and its influences were so powerful in the formation of the Spanish school that he may truly be claimed for Spain, where he lived and worked. He established himself at Toledo in 1577, which city is still the best repository of his paintings. His early style was marked by a strong Venetian manner, with warm tones, great richness, firm drawing, and an intense sentiment of life. Toward 1581 he began to change to a use of cold, gray, shadowy tones, and the employment of a kind of caricature in his drawing, with long and narrow heads and bodies. By this method, however, he was able to attain wonderful results in portraiture. Aside from his own merits no painter so profoundly influenced the greatest of the masters, Vel?zquez. Chronologically next of the great painters was Ribera (1588-1656), called "Espagnoletto" in Italy, where he did most of his work in the Spanish kingdom of Naples. Naturalism, perfect technique, and the remarkable bodily energy of the figures he depicted were the leading qualities

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