A Brief History of Spanish Painting

It’s no secret that Spain has been home to many famous painters of the world. Including the likes of Goya and Picasso, many Spanish painters are known around the world for their signature styles and their contributions to the world of art. Many styles of art including Cubism, Surrealism, and Romanticism were developed with help from Spanish artists.

Let’s take a look at some of the most important Spanish painting eras that have been instrumental in the development of art over time.

The Prehistoric Era

Before there were colorful oil and water paints for artists to create with, there were natural sources of pigment like stones and plants that people would use to make paintings on the walls of caves. These cave paintings have been largely found in places like France and Spain, and often depicted animals like bulls, horses, goats, and bears.

Since there were limited colors to work with at the time, most paintings have been found done in only black and ochre. However, even with limited materials, the early artists of our world did the best they could to capture the world around them.

The Romanesque Era

Another era where the Spanish artists really made their mark was the Romanesque. This was a time when manuscript painting, where handwritten editions of the Bible had detailed and intricate paintings, was at an all-time high. Another reason for Spanish art to thrive during this era was that a lot of churches were being built at the time, providing painters with huge walls, vaults, and ceilings to unleash their creativity on.

The Gothic Era

After the Romanesque times, Spanish painters made a lot of contributions in the Gothic Era as well. The Gothic painting was much like the Romanesque one, but much more detailed and intricate. Large churches and cathedrals saw murals being painted on their walls by notable Spanish artists, murals that had more life and movement than any that had been seen before.
Other than these, illuminated manuscripts, frescoes, stained glass art, and panel paintings were also made in large quantities during this era in Spain. Towards the end of this era, Spain started seeing the use of oil paints on canvases, which in some cases became the stepping stone for how paintings would be made as time moved on.

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