Books Recommended: Bermudez, Diccionario de las Bellas Artes en España; Davillier, Mémoire de Velasquez; Davillier, Fortuny; Eusebi, Los Differentes Escuelas de Pintura; Ford, Handbook of Spain; Head, History of Spanish and French Schools of Painting; Justi, Velasquez and his Times; Lefort, Velasquez; Lefort, Francisco Goya; Lefort, Murillo et son École; Lefort, La Peinture Espagnole; Palomino de Castro y Velasco, Vidas de los Pintores y Estatuarios Eminentes Españoles; Passavant, Die Christliche Kunst in Spanien; Plon, Les Maîtres Italiens au Service de la Maison d'Autriche; Stevenson, Velasquez; Stirling, Annals of the Artists of Spain; Stirling, Velasquez and his Works; Tubino, El Arte y los Artistas contemporáneos en la Peninsula; Tubino, Murillo; Viardot,Notices sur les Principaux Peintres de l'Espagne; Yriarte, Goya, sa Biographie, etc.

SPANISH ART MOTIVES: What may have been the early art of Spain we are at a loss to conjecture. The reigns of the Moor, the Iconoclast, and, finally, the Inquisitor, have left little that dates before the fourteenth century. The miniatures and sacred relics treasured in the churches and said to be of the apostolic period, show the traces of a much later date and a foreign origin. Even when we come down to the fifteenth century and meet with art produced in Spain, we have a following of Italy or the Netherlands. In methods and technic it was derivative more than original, though almost from the beginning peculiarly Spanish in spirit.


That spirit was a dark and savage one, a something that cringed under the lash of the Church, bowed before the Inquisition, and played the executioner with the paint-brush. The bulk of Spanish art was Church art, done under ecclesiastical domination, and done in form without question or protest. The religious subject ruled. True enough, there was portraiture of nobility, and under Philip and Velasquez a half-monarchical art of military scenes and genre; but this was not the bent of Spanish painting as a whole. Even in late days, when Velasquez was reflecting the haughty court, Murillo was more widely and nationally reflecting the believing provinces and the Church faith of the people. It is safe to say, in a general way, that the Church was responsible for Spanish art, and that religion was its chief motive.

There was no revived antique, little of the nude or the pagan, little of consequence in landscape, little, until Velasquez's time, of the real and the actual. An ascetic view of life, faith, and the hereafter prevailed. The pietistic, the fervent, and the devout were not so conspicuous as the morose, the ghastly, and the horrible. The saints and martyrs, the crucifixions and violent deaths, were eloquent of the torture-chamber. It was more ecclesiasticism by blood and violence than Christianity by peace and love. And Spain welcomed this. For of all the children of the Church she was the most faithful to rule, crushing out heresy with an iron hand, gaining strength from the Catholic reaction, and upholding the Jesuits and the Inquisition.

METHODS OF PAINTING: Spanish art worthy of mention did not appear until the fifteenth century. At that time Spain was in close relations with the Netherlands, and Flemish painting was somewhat followed. How much the methods of the Van Eycks influenced Spain would be hard to determine, especially as these Northern methods were mixed with influences coming from Italy. Finally, the Italian example prevailed by reason of Spanish students in Italy and Italian painters in Spain. Florentine line, Venetian color, and Neapolitan light-and-shade ruled almost everywhere, and it was not until the time of Velasquez—the period just before the eighteenth-century decline—that distinctly Spanish methods, founded on nature, really came forcibly to the front.