King Philip IV in Hunting Garb,Diego Velázquez. Oil on canvas, 189 x 124 cm, c. 1633, Madrid, Museo Nacional del Prado

Outstanding portraits, mythological scenes, devotional paintings and still lifes by artists including El Greco, Diego Velázquez and Francisco de Zurbarán exemplify the splendor of Spain’s Golden Age, when the empire was at the zenith of its global power, and offer a glimpse of courtly life under the expansionist Habsburg (1516–1700) and later the Bourbon (1700–1808) monarchs, who ushered in the Enlightenment to Spain. The use of portraiture and mythological themes as expressions of royal power; the role of religious imagery in painting; and the symbolism employed in still-life imagery to espouse the virtues of a civil society all factor in the development of Spanish painting during this time.

 
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