The Siege of Rheinfelden, Vicente Carducho, Pen and brown ink, blue and brown wash over black chalk, 318 x 415 mm, 1634 © The Trustees of the British Museum 1850,0713.9

The main developments in prints and drawings in and around Madrid during the late 1500s and early 1600s are related to changes in techniques and practices in an environment receptive to innovation.

The masters who best reflect this transformation are the Italians who came to Spain as children, such as Vicente Carducho, or who belonged to the first generation born in Spain, like Eugenio Cajés. They inherited the belief that drawing was the key to the creative process and acted as an important link between their predecessors and a new generation of artists who would spearhead the golden age of Spanish drawing. From around 1650 we may speak of the existence of a style of painting distinctive to Madrid. Artists of this period, such as Francisco Rizi, Juan Carreño de Miranda, Francisco Camilo and Francisco de Herrera the Younger, used highly varied drawing techniques, with mixed media and larger sheets of better-quality paper. Drawings were put to many uses, such as planning theatre design, triumphal entries and architectural projects.

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