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El Greco (Domenikos Theotokopoulos)
Candia, Crete (Greece), 1541 - Toledo (Spain), 1614
El Greco (Domenikos Theotokopoulos)
Candia, Crete (Greece), 1541 - Toledo (Spain), 1614

This Spanish painter of Greek origin was born in the capital city of the Isle of Crete, which then belonged to the Republic of Venice. His family was Greek, but probably Catholic rather than Orthodox, and its members collaborated with the colonial powers. He was trained as an Icon painter in the late-Byzantine tradition, but contact with Italian engravings allowed him to absorb and partially emplo

Theotocópuli, Jorge Manuel
Toledo, 1578 - Toledo (Spain), 1631
Theotocópuli, Jorge Manuel
Toledo, 1578 - Toledo (Spain), 1631

Jorge Manuel's artistic personality depended directly on that of his brilliant father, El Greco. He was trained and worked in his father's workshop until the latter's death, although he also worked on his independently as a painter and altarpiece maker. While the works known to be by him are totally steeped in his father's practice, they are a poor reflection. Indeed, Jorge Manuel's most interesti

Morán, Santiago
Madrid (Spain), Ca. 1571 - Valladolid (Spain), 1626
Morán, Santiago
Madrid (Spain), Ca. 1571 - Valladolid (Spain), 1626

Very little is known about this painter who worked mainly as a portraitist. His first known mention dates from 1597 and links him to Madrid and to Juan Pantoja de la Cruz, with whom he had special contact. In 1609, after a period in Valladolid while the Court was there (1601-1606) he succeeded Pantoja, who had died the previous year, as Philip III's chamber painter in Madrid. Documents show that,

Tristán, Luis
Toledo?, 1580/85 - Toledo (Spain), 1624
Tristán, Luis
Toledo?, 1580/85 - Toledo (Spain), 1624

One of the most outstanding representatives of painting from Toledo during the early 17th-century, an especially fertile period for that city. The earliest mention of Tristán links him to Toledo's most important painter, calling him an apprentice to El Greco in 1603. He was still there in 1606, but that was the year that he made his first trip to Italy. According to Jusepe Martínez, he was accompa

Titian (Tiziano Vecellio)
Pieve di Cadore, Belluno, Veneto (Italy), Ca. 1490 - Venice (Italy), 1576
Titian (Tiziano Vecellio)
Pieve di Cadore, Belluno, Veneto (Italy), Ca. 1490 - Venice (Italy), 1576

Born to an important family from Cadore, Titan arrived in Venice around 1500-1502. There, after first working in Giovanni Bellini’s workshop, he entered that of his older brother Gentile Bellini. Around 1507, he began working with Giorgone on the decoration of the façades of the Fondaco dei Tedeschi, the German merchants’ warehouse in Venice. Today, only a small part of the original frescoes remai

Sánchez Cotán, Juan
Orgaz, Toledo, 1560 - Granada, 1627
Sánchez Cotán, Juan
Orgaz, Toledo, 1560 - Granada, 1627

The earliest Spanish painter with extant still lifes, most of which were painted before 1603. Baptized in his hometown’s parish church on June 25, 1560, he lived and worked in Toledo. He may have been a disciple of Blas de Prado, who was the first documented Spanish still-life painter, although none of his works in that genre have been identified. Part of Sánchez Cotán’s family lived in Orgaz (Tol

Sánchez Coello, Alonso
Benifairó del Valls, Valencia (Spain), 1531/32 - Madrid (Spain), 1588
Sánchez Coello, Alonso
Benifairó del Valls, Valencia (Spain), 1531/32 - Madrid (Spain), 1588

At the age of ten, Alonso Sánchez Coello moved with his family to Portugal, where he began his first art studies. John III, king of Portugal, was aware of his talent and in 1550 he paid the young artist’s trip to Flanders to complete his training. There, Sánchez Coello worked for Cardinal Granvela and was a disciple of Anthonis Mor van Dashorst. After returning to Lisbon around 1552, he probably b

Ribera, Jusepe de, lo Spagnoletto
Játiva, Valencia (Spain), 1591 - Naples (Italy), 1652
Ribera, Jusepe de, lo Spagnoletto
Játiva, Valencia (Spain), 1591 - Naples (Italy), 1652

Chronologically, José de Ribera is the first of the great Spanish masters to emerge in the middle decades of the 17th century. His earliest training as an artist is still the object of conjecture, but there is documentation of his presence in Parma in 1611, when he was twenty years old. Four years later, he was in Rome as part of a colony of foreign painters. His life may have been quite bohemian

Poussin, Nicolas
Les Andelys, Normandy, 1594 - Rome, 1665
Poussin, Nicolas
Les Andelys, Normandy, 1594 - Rome, 1665

Poussin is the most important 17th-century French painter and the absolute master of classicism. He trained in the region where he was born with an artist of the final stage of Mannerism and later in Paris. His friendship with the poet Marino enabled him to travel to the Italian Peninsula and he frequented the most advanced intellectual circles in Rome, also becoming acquainted with the patrons an

Pantoja de la Cruz, Juan
Valladolid (Spain), Ca. 1553 - Madrid (Spain), 1608
Pantoja de la Cruz, Juan
Valladolid (Spain), Ca. 1553 - Madrid (Spain), 1608

A painter of religious works, still lifes and some frescoes, Juan Pantoja de la Cruz began his career as a portraitist during the reign of Philip II after collaborating with Alonso Sánchez Coello in the final years of the latter's career. He had previously learned his trade in other European courts, where the influence of Antonis Mor was considerable. His finest works are unmistakeable for their s

Pacheco, Francisco
Sanlúcar de Barrameda (Spain), 1564 - Sevilla (Spain), 1644
Pacheco, Francisco
Sanlúcar de Barrameda (Spain), 1564 - Sevilla (Spain), 1644

While this Spanish painter and theorist's painting was never outstanding, his theories reveal the richness of that medium and the singularity of the personnages he had the opportunity to meet, reflecting the interests of his entire period's reflections on art. Pacheco studied with the otherwise unknown teacher Luis Fernández between 1580 and 1585, following mannerist trends from Italy and Flanders

Orrente, Pedro de
Murcia (Spain), 1580 - Valencia (Spain), 1645
Orrente, Pedro de
Murcia (Spain), 1580 - Valencia (Spain), 1645

Known as "the Spanish Bassano," Orrente was highly successful in his time and was admired as a follower of the formulas established by that famous family of Venetian artists, especially in his series of paintings on Old-Testament subjects set in lush landscapes. He lived in various Spanish cities, moving from his native Murcia to Toledo at a young age (he was already there by 1600). The Bassano fa

Murillo, Bartolomé Esteban
Sevilla, 1617 - Sevilla, 1682
Murillo, Bartolomé Esteban
Sevilla, 1617 - Sevilla, 1682

Murillo was apparently a calm and sweet natured man, a fact which might explain some aspects of his personal artistic expression. Born into a family of many siblings, he was orphaned as a child and taken in by one of his sisters. He must have trained with Juan del Castillo, to judge by the characteristics of his early style. In 1645 he married Beatriz Cabrera, who bore him several children. Throug

Giordano, Luca
Naples (Italy), 1634 - Naples (Italy), 1705
Giordano, Luca
Naples (Italy), 1634 - Naples (Italy), 1705

During his life, Luca Giordano enjoyed a popularity in both Italy and Spain that plummeted after his death, due to two prejudices that have lasted until quite recently. The first was an association of his surprising speed as a painter with the idea that his work was somehow superficial, an accusation constantly leveled at him by advocates of the Greco-Roman aesthetic. The second stemmed from his s

Dyck, Anthony van
Antwerp (Belgium), 1599 - London, 1641
Dyck, Anthony van
Antwerp (Belgium), 1599 - London, 1641

The most important early-17th-century Flemish painter after Rubens, Van Dyck was considered Rubens’ equal by the 18th century. Born in Antwerp, the Spanish Netherlands’ main mercantile and cultural center, he was a disciple of Hendrik van Balen. By 1615-1616, he was already an independent artist and by 1618 he was a master painter at the Guild of Saint Luke. During those early years of his career,

Carvajal, Luis de
Toledo (Spain), 1556 - Madrid (Spain), 1607
Carvajal, Luis de
Toledo (Spain), 1556 - Madrid (Spain), 1607

Born in Toledo in 1556, he was the half-brother of sculptor Juan Bautista Monegro and a disciple of painter Juan Villoldo, who had trained with Alonso Berruguete. He completed his training in Italy, where his presence at the Academy of San Lucas in Rome was documented in 1577. He returned to Toledo that same year and began receiving important commissions. In 1578 he painted a likeness of Archbisho

Carreño de Miranda, Juan
Avilés, Asturias (Spain), 1614 - Madrid (Spain), 1685
Carreño de Miranda, Juan
Avilés, Asturias (Spain), 1614 - Madrid (Spain), 1685

Born into a noble family of the Principality of Asturias, Carreño de Miranda received his early training in Madrid at the workshop of Pedro de las Cuevas, where he may have coincided with Antonio de Pereda, Francisco Camilo and Antonio Arias. He went on to study with Bartolomé Román and, after his formative period, began to paint religious themes as an independent master around the 1650s. He was s

Carducho, Bartolomé
Florence (Italy), Ca. 1560 - Madrid (Spain), 1608
Carducho, Bartolomé
Florence (Italy), Ca. 1560 - Madrid (Spain), 1608

Of this Italian painter, sculptor and architect, Ceán Bermúdez observed: "Few painters from Italy have been as useful for the fine arts in Spain as Carducho." And indeed, he is a key figure for understanding the development of painting at the Spanish court at the beginning of the 17th century. This is due not so much to his work as to the school of artists that trained under him, beginning with h

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