Famous Spanish Artists And Their Iconic Paintings

Famous Spanish Artists And Their Iconic Paintings

Spain has a long and illustrious artistic past, and it has played a significant part in the development of western painting. 

During the Spanish Golden Age which spanned from the early 16th century to the late 17th century, the country flourished in the arts and literature, and became a significant contributor to the European art world.

El Greco, Diego Velazquez, Zurbaran, and Murillo are among the most well-known artists of this period.

Spanish painters have had a huge influence on modern art, with some of the most popular artists of the modern era hailing from the country, including Joan Miro, Pablo Picasso, and Salvador Dali.

Famous Spanish Paintings

  1. Les Demoiselles d'Avignon by Pablo Picasso
    The Persistence of Memory by Salvador Dali
    Las Meninas by Diego Vel√°zquez
    The Third of May 1808 by Francisco Goya
    The Farm by Joan Miró
    The View of Toledo by El Greco
    Pablo Picasso's portrait by Juan Gris
    The Young Beggar by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo
    Women Walking on the Beach by Joaquín Sorolla
    The Crucifixion by Francisco de Zurbar√°n

Les Demoiselles d'Avignon by Pablo Picasso

Les Demoiselles d'Avignon by Pablo Picasso

The Young Ladies of Avignon (originally named The Brothel of Avignon) is a huge oil painting by the Spanish artist Pablo Picasso, completed in 1907. 

The painting, which is part of the Museum of Modern Art's permanent collection, depicts five naked female prostitutes in a brothel on Carrer d'Avinyó in Barcelona, Spain. 

None of the figures are conventionally feminine, and each is depicted in an unsettling aggressive manner.

The women are depicted with angular and disconnected body outlines, giving them a slightly threatening appearance. The figure on the left appears to have Egyptian or southern Asian traits. 

The two characters on the left are depicted in Picasso's native Spain's Iberian style, while the two on the right are depicted with African mask-like features. 

According to Picasso, the ethnic primitivism conveyed by these masks inspired him to create "a totally original creative style of barbaric intensity. Picasso departs from traditional European painting style in favor of a primitive style.

This proto-cubist piece is widely regarded as important in the evolution of both cubism and modern art in the early twentieth century. 

Even among the painter's closest collaborators and friends, Les Demoiselles was revolutionary and contentious, causing significant rage and dispute. 

Although Matisse believed the picture to be a poor joke, he responded to it indirectly in his 1908 painting Bathers with a Turtle. 

Although Georges Braque detested the artwork at first, he examined it in considerable detail, possibly more than anybody else. The cubist revolution was sparked by his friendship and partnership with Picasso. 

Later commentators remarked on its resemblance to Cézanne's The Bathers, Paul Gauguin's statue Oviri, and El Greco's Opening of the Fifth Seal.

The work was deemed immoral at the time of its first showing in 1916. The painting, which was created in Picasso's Bateau-Lavoir studio in Montmartre, Paris, was first displayed publicly in July 1916 at the Salon d'Antin, in an exhibition organized by poet André Salmon.

 It was at this exhibition that Salmon (who had previously labeled the painting Le bordel philosophique in 1912) renamed the work Les Demoiselles d'Avignon. 

Rather than the original title chosen by Picasso, Le Bordel d'Avignon. Picasso, who referred to it as mon bordel ("my brothel") or Le Bordel d'Avignon, despised Salmon's moniker and favored the bowdlerization Las chicas de Avignon instead ("The Girls of Avignon").

Pablo Ruiz Picasso

Pablo Ruiz Picasso was a Spanish artist, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist, and stage designer who lived in France for most of his adult life. 

He is acknowledged as one of the most prominent artists of the twentieth century. Having co-founded the Cubist movement, invented cubic sculpture, co-invented cubic collage, and contributed to the development and exploration of a wide range of styles.


The Persistence of Memory by Salvador Dali

The Persistence of Memory by Salvador Dali

The Persistence of Memory is a 1931 painting by Salvador Dali that is one of Surrealism's most well-known works.

Since 1934, the painting has been in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City, which got it from an anonymous donor. It was first presented at the Julien Levy Gallery in 1932.

It's well-known and regularly mentioned in popular culture, and it's also known by other names, such as "Melting Clocks," "The Soft Watches," or "The Melting Watches."

It exemplifies Dali's philosophy of "softness" and "hardness," which was at the time essential to his thought. "The soft watches are an unconscious emblem of space and temporal relativity, a Surrealist reflection on the collapse of our illusions of a fixed cosmic order," Dawn Adès remarked.

This interpretation argues that Dali was adopting Albert Einstein's theory of special relativity into his perspective of the world.

When Ilya Prigogine asked if this was the case, Dali answered that the soft watches were inspired by a surrealist vision of a Camembert melting in the sun, not by Einstein's theory of relativity.

Salvador Dali

Salvador Dali was a surrealist artist from Spain who was known for his technical expertise, meticulous draftsmanship, and startling and unusual imagery. 

Dali was born in Figueres, Catalonia, Spain, and acquired his official fine arts education in Madrid. 

From a young age, he was influenced by Impressionism and the Renaissance masters, and he became increasingly interested in Cubism and avant-garde movements. 

In the late 1920s, he became more interested in Surrealism and entered the Surrealist organization in 1929, quickly becoming one of its most prominent proponents. 

Dali spent his time in France during the Spanish Civil War (1936‚Äď1939) before moving to the United States in 1940, where he found economic¬†success.¬†

In 1948, he returned to Spain, where he announced his conversion to Catholicism and established his "nuclear mysticism" style, which was influenced by his interests in classicism, mysticism, and modern scientific advancements.


Las Meninas by Diego Vel√°zquez

Las Meninas by Diego Vel√°zquez

Las Meninas is one of the most frequently studied works in Western painting as a result of its intricacies.

As per F. J. Sánchez Cantón, the painting depicts the main chamber in the Royal Alcazar of Madrid during the reign of King Philip IV of Spain and features several figures.

Most of whom are identified as members of the Spanish court, captured in a particular moment as if in a snapshot, according to some art scholars. Some glance out the canvas at the viewer, while others converse with one another.

In the center is Margaret Theresa, who is five years old. She is flanked by her maids of honor, chaperone, bodyguard, two dwarfs, and a dog.

Vel√°zquez represents himself painting on a gigantic canvas behind them. Vel√°zquez looks beyond the pictorial area, to where the painting's observer would stand.

The king and queen's upper bodies are reflected in a mirror in the background. Although some academics have argued that their image is a reflection from the painting Vel√°zquez is shown working on, they appear to be situated beyond the picture area in a position similar to that of the observer.

Las Meninas has long been regarded as one of the most significant works of Western art. It depicts the "theology of painting," according to Luca Giordano, a Baroque painter, and the head of the Royal Academy of Arts in 1827.

In a letter to his successor David Wilkie, Sir Thomas Lawrence called the work "the genuine philosophy of the art."

It has been referred to as "Vel√°zquez's pinnacle achievement, a very self-conscious, deliberate display of what painting may achieve, and arguably the most penetrating statement ever made on the possibilities of the easel painting" in recent years.

Diego Vel√°zquez

Diego Rodrguez de Silva y Vel√°zquez was a Spanish painter of the Spanish Golden Age and a prominent artist in the court of King Philip IV of Spain and Portugal.

He was a contemporary Baroque artist who was known for his unique style. He began by painting in a rigorous tenebrist technique, later evolving into a freer style with vivid brushwork.

He produced scores of portraits of the Spanish royal family and the common folk, ending in his masterwork Las Meninas.

In addition to innumerable renderings of historical and culturally significant scenes. Vel√°zquez's work served as a model for realist and impressionist painters in the nineteenth century.

Artists such as Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, and Francis Bacon paid homage to Vel√°zquez in the twentieth century by reinterpreting some of his most recognizable works.

The Third of May 1808 by Francisco Goya

The Third of May 1808 by Francisco Goya

The Third of May 1808, also known as Los Fusilamientos del Tres de Mayo, is a painting by the Spanish painter Francisco Goya that was completed in 1814 and is presently housed in the Museo del Prado in Madrid.

Goya aimed to remember Spanish resistance to Napoleon's forces during the Peninsular War's occupation in 1808. It was commissioned by the provisional government of Spain at Goya's recommendation, along with a companion piece of the same size, The Second of May 1808 (or The Charge of the Mamelukes).

The painting's substance, presentation, and emotional impact establish it as a seminal, classic representation of war's atrocities.

The Third of May 1808 is a clear break from tradition, yet drawing on many sources from both high and popular art. It has no antecedent and is regarded as one of the earliest paintings of the modern age, departing from Christian art traditions and traditional depictions of combat.

The Third of May 1808 is "the first big picture that can be termed revolutionary in every sense of the word, in style, subject, and goal," according to art historian Kenneth Clark.

The Third of May 1808 influenced a number of significant works, including √Čdouard Manet's series and Pablo Picasso's Massacre in Korea and Guernica.

Francisco Goya

Francisco José de Goya was a romantic painter and printer who lived in Spain. Goya was born in Fuendetodos, Aragon, in 1746 to a middle-class family. From the age of 14, he studied painting with José Luzán y Martinez before moving to Madrid to study with Anton Raphael Mengs.

In 1773, he married Josefa Bayeu. Their lives were marked by a series of losses and pregnancies, with only one child, a boy, living to adulthood.

In 1786, Goya was appointed as a court painter to the Spanish Crown, and his early work included portraits of the Spanish aristocracy and royalty, as well as Rococo-style tapestry cartoons for the royal palace.

He is often regarded as the most important Spanish painter of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century.

Goya's paintings, sketches, and engravings influenced  significant 19th- and 20th-century painters and represented contemporary historical upheavals. Goya is known as the last of the Old Masters and the first of the moderns.



The Farm by Joan Miró

The Farm by Joan Miró

Joan Miró painted The Farm between the summer of 1921 in Mont-roig del Camp and the winter of 1922 in Paris.

It's a sort of inventory of his family's masia (traditional Catalan farmhouse) in Mont-roig del Camp, which they've had since 1911.

This work was important to Miró, who described it as "a summary of my entire life in the countryside" as well as "the summary of one phase of my work, but also the point of departure for what was to come."

It was given to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, by Mary Hemingway in 1987. It came from the private collection of American writer Ernest Hemingway, who described it as having "all that you feel about Spain when you are there and all that you feel when you are away and can't go there."

No one else has been able to depict these two opposed concepts. The artwork encapsulates everything of the familiarity associated with Miró.

It was created in a location where visitors may observe the daily activities of a farmhouse as well as the features of the building objects and animals.

The obvious definition of the work allows everyone to recognize them without being confused. The gaps and cracks in the plastered wall are part of the house's construction. A big eucalyptus is born of a black circle in the painting's center, which contrasts with the white circle depicting the Sun from the sky.

Joan Miró

Born in Barcelona, Joan Miró I Ferrà was a Spanish painter, sculptor, and ceramicist. 

His work has received international praise and has been described as Surrealism with a personal flair, occasionally deviating towards Fauvism and Expressionism.

He was known for his fascination with the unconscious or subconscious mind, which he expressed through his re-creation of the Childish. His difficult-to-categorize paintings also reflected a sense of Catalan patriotism. 

Miró expressed disdain for traditional painting methods which was a mean of sustaining bourgeois society in several interviews from the 1930s. He declared an "assassination on painting" in favor of disrupting the visual traditional features of the established painting methods.


The View of Toledo by El Greco

The View of Toledo by El Greco

The View of Toledo (original title Vista de Toledo) is one of El Greco's two surviving landscapes. View and Plan of Toledo, is on exhibit at the El Greco Museum in Toledo. 

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City has a view of Toledo as well. A landscape portrait of Toledo can be seen in View of Toledo. Blues, black, white, and brilliant greens dominate the painting. It's entirely made up of earth tones.

The stark color contrast between the black skies above and the vibrant green of the hills below is very striking. 

The picture of darkness or moodiness that is present in Toledo is depicted in this vista of Toledo. Observers may notice how the sky darkens dramatically as they get closer to the city. 

El Greco uses a palette rich in vibrant hues. People can perceive the difference between light and dark when studying View of Toledo.

The city itself, on the other hand, is a mild contrast to the dark tone of the sky. El Greco makes good use of pure colors. On the left, the site of the Castle of San Servando is appropriately shown. 

Many other landmarks that refer to Toledo, on the other hand, are not in the precise position for the city. This, according to Walter Liedtke, is because El Greco painted the View of Toledo as a vision of the future. 

El Greco may have drawn the city of Toledo in a different style to meet his imagination or ideal version of Toledo, according to art historians Jonathon Brown and Richard Kagan.

El Greco

El Greco was born in the Kingdom of Candia (modern-day Crete), which was part of the Republic of Venice, Italy, at the time, and was the heart of Post-Byzantine painting. 

Before moving to Venice at the age of 26, he learned and became a master in that tradition, as had other Greek artists. He traveled to Rome in 1570, where he founded a workshop and completed several works.

El Greco expanded his style with elements of Mannerism and learned from several renowned artists of the time, most notably Tintoretto, during his sojourn in Italy. 

He relocated to Toledo, Spain, in 1577, and remained there until his death. El Greco earned numerous large contracts at Toledo, where he created some of his most famous works, including View of Toledo and Opening of the Fifth Seal.

El Greco's dramatic and expressionistic approach perplexed his contemporaries but gained popularity in the twentieth century. 

El Greco is recognized as a forerunner of both Expressionism and Cubism, and poets and writers such as Rainer Maria Rilke and Nikos Kazantzakis found inspiration in his personality and works. 

Modern experts have described El Greco as an artist who is so unique that he does not belong to any particular school. He is most recognized for his tortuously elongated figures and frequently strange or phantasmagorical coloring, which combines Byzantine and Western painting traditions.


Pablo Picasso's portrait by Juan Gris

Pablo Picasso's portrait by Juan Gris

Juan Gris visited Paris in 1906, where he met Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque and took part in the Cubist movement's growth.

Six years later, Gris was labeled a Cubist and dubbed a "Picasso's follower". Gris' style is influenced by Analytic Cubism, with its deconstruction and simultaneous viewing of things. 

Nevertheless, it is distinguished by a more systematic geometry and crystalline structure. Picasso's head, neck, and torso were fragmented into multiple planes and in simple geometric shapes, but they were all structured inside a regulated, compositional structure of diagonals.

The artist further organized the structure of this portrait by limiting his palette to cool blue, brown, and gray tones, when combined, appear bright and form a soft undulating rhythm across the painting's surface.

Picasso was represented by Gris as a painter, with a palette in his hand. The inscription "Hommage à Pablo Picasso" in the lower right of the painting demonstrates Gris' admiration for Picasso as a leader of Paris' creative circles and a pioneer of Cubism.

At the same time, when Gris displayed the portrait at the Salon des Indépendants in the spring of 1912, the inscription helped him cement his standing in the Paris art scene.

Juan Gris

José Victoriano (Carmelo Carlos) González-Pérez better known as Juan Gris, was a Spanish painter who was born in Madrid and spent the majority of his career in France.

His works are among the most unique of the new creative genres of Cubism, which he is closely associated with.

From late 1916 to 1917, Gris's work showed a greater simplicity of geometric structure. As well as a separation between objects, subject matters, and backgrounds.

Top 10 Most Famous Paintings by Pierre Auguste Renoir

The Young Beggar by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo

The Young Beggar by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo

Murillo's work, The Young Beggar, also known as The Lice-Ridden Boy is the first recorded image of the street urchin.

The poverty of Spanish children in the 17th century motivated it, and it was painted in the style of Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio.

Murillo's artwork depicts an orphaned youngster and employs a complementing light and shade approach. The work demonstrates Murillo's beautiful style, in which he gives his subject an intimate detail. Sir Joshua Reynolds, John Constable, and √Čdouard Manet were all influenced by his style.

The Young Beggar was originally maintained in Louis XVI's royal collection and is considered one of his most popular works from the Spanish Baroque period. It is currently housed at Paris's Louvre Museum. The widespread sorrow in Seville's streets during the Golden Age probably inspired this work of art.

Spain faced a problem in the 17th century with abandoned children who were left to fend for themselves. One of these children is seen in The Young Beggar, who is in the process of getting rid of lice.

Murillo was inspired to produce a series of genre paintings showing orphaned youngsters surviving on the streets of Seville. There was was also tension among people due to religious differences. Murillo's paintings were inspired by these unique circumstances.

Murillo's childhood may have also motivated him to make such works, and he took inspiration from his own experience.

He was orphaned as a child and fostered by family. This series of street kids could have been influenced by his childhood.

The popularity of Spanish picaresque literature at the time impacted Murillo's paintings of impoverished class residents and low-life teenagers.

Murillo was greatly influenced by the works of novelist Miguel de Cervantès, who was noted for telling stories of rogue heroes and foolish knights.

Murillo's earlier works were also inspired by his teacher Jorge Castillo and artists such as Francisco de Zurbar√°n and Alonzo Cano.

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo was a Baroque painter from Spain. Murillo painted a large number of paintings of modern works including women and children.

While his best known works were religious paintings. He also painted vibrant and realistic works of flowers, girls, and street urchins.

Murillo had a large number of students and admirers. His paintings were widely imitated, ensuring his reputation in Spain and fame throughout Europe. His works where more widely known than that of any other Spanish artist before the 19th century.

Gainsborough and Greuze were among the artists affected by his style. On November 29, 2018, Google released a doodle to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Murillo's birth.


Women Walking on the Beach by Joaquín Sorolla

Women Walking on the Beach by Joaquín Sorolla

This work almost square in its dimensions, shows Sorolla's wife Clotilde and his eldest daughter Maria.

Sorolla painted this seascape of both the women bending forward slightly, as though they are moving closer to the viewer.

The daughter Maria has slightly tilted her head. While his wife stands straight and is aligned to the edge of the work. Both mother and the daughter are dressed in long white dresses.

Maria, 19, wears a modest floor-length outfit that draws attention to her slim figure. The dress is finished with a stand-up collar at the neck.

The tight-fitting sleeves contrast with the rest of the gown and is made more transparent with the white cloth, allowing the skin to shine through. She is wearing brown leather shoes.

Maria had a yellow straw hat in her hand with her brown hair pulled back in a knot, revealing her beautiful face.

Clotilde Sorolla, who is behind her daughter, wears a white garment with a white belt around her hips. Clothilde wears a cropped dress with cropped sleeves and is holding a white cloth jacket on her left forearm in front of her.

She has an open white parasol in her left hand, which is tilted to the ground on the left side. Clotilde also wears a purple-colored straw hat which is embellished with purple flowers.

A greenish-transparent veil is also wrapped over the entire hat, which is falling forward over her face and being blown almost horizontally backward by the wind.

Clotilde's right arm is bent upward, and her hand is resting on the veil due to the wind that's blowing.

Clotilde's head is only partially visible. The majority of the face is hidden with only her chin visible due to the sunlight. In addition, the wide-sweeping hat almost totally hides her hair. A strand of dark hair can be seen just behind her pearl earring. 


Joaquín Sorolla

Spanish painter Joaqun Sorolla y Bastida was a master of portraitures, landscapes, and colossal works of art depicting social and historical subjects.

His most well-known works are distinguished by a deft depiction of people and landscapes with strong sunlight in foregrounds of the works. 


The Crucifixion by Francisco de Zurbar√°n

The Crucifixion by Francisco de Zurbar√°n

In 1626, Zurbar√°n agreed with the Dominicans of Seville's San Pablo de Real Monastery to paint 21 paintings in eight months.

One of these was Christ on the Cross, which was so well received by the artist's contemporaries that the city council of Seville advised he stay permanently in the city.

The almost-sculptural figure of Christ on the Cross, which shines out against the black background, was devoutly contemplated by the painter.

Christ is nailed to the Cross with four nails, a¬†style first proposed by D√ľrer and popularized by Seville painters such as Pacheco, Velasquez, and Alonso Cano during the seventeenth century.¬†

This painting has also been suggested that this is a self-portrait of Zurbarán. It was purchased by the Prado Museum in 1936.

Francisco de Zurbar√°n

Francisco de Zurbar√°n was a painter who lived in Spain. His religious paintings of monks, nuns, and martyrs, as well as his still-lifes, are his most well-known works.

Because of his mastery of chiaroscuro, Zurbarán earned the moniker "Spanish Caravaggio." 

Zurbar√°n is reported to have stuck to these strict practices throughout his long career, which was lucrative and entirely confined to Spain.

His subjects were generally stern and ascetic religious vigils and the compositions were frequently reduced to a single figure.

The tone of color that he used is typically fairly bluish, and his works are more reserved than other painters on that time period. His meticulously foregrounds in his works, are frequently flat and black. 


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