Room 30

Spain

Spanish painting flourished during the 17th century principally in the service of God and King. The evolution of a Catholic Counter-Reformation religiosity is revealed in a variety of powerful, individual styles. Not long after El Greco had portrayed the divine with ethereal idealisations of figures, space and light, Diego Velázquez and Francisco de Zurbarán turned to realism to represent the mystical.

To make religion more personally relevant, they used naturalistic light to convey divine presence and they depicted the saints as ordinary people, with a vivid physicality and facial expressions. Taste changed after 1650, and Bartolomé Esteban Murillo appealed to popular piety with an ideal style of soft forms and colours, and a sweet and gentle mood.

At the court of Philip IV, Velázquez transformed his style of earthy realism in order to express the dignity and splendour of the monarchy. He developed an elegant technique of artful brushwork that calls attention to itself and yet conveys compelling actuality when viewed from a distance.

Paintings in this room

Juan Bautista Martinez del Mazo: 'Queen Mariana of Spain in Mourning'
Queen Mariana of Spain in Mourning
Juan Bautista Martínez del Mazo
Attributed to Juan Bautista Martinez del Mazo: 'Don Adrián Pulido Pareja'
Don Adrián Pulido Pareja
Possibly by Juan Bautista Martínez del Mazo
Bartolomé Esteban Murillo: 'A Peasant Boy leaning on a Sill'
A Peasant Boy leaning on a Sill
Bartolomé Esteban Murillo
Bartolomé Esteban Murillo: 'Portrait of Don Justino de Neve'
Portrait of Don Justino de Neve
Bartolomé Esteban Murillo
Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, Self Portrait, probably 1668-70
Self Portrait
Bartolomé Esteban Murillo
Bartolomé Esteban Murillo: 'The Heavenly and Earthly Trinities'
The Heavenly and Earthly Trinities
Bartolomé Esteban Murillo
Jusepe de Ribera: 'An Apostle'
An Apostle
Jusepe de Ribera
Diego Velázquez: 'Philip IV of Spain'
Philip IV of Spain
Diego Velázquez
Francisco de Zurbarán: 'A Cup of Water and a Rose'
A Cup of Water and a Rose
Francisco de Zurbarán
Francisco de Zurbarán: 'Saint Francis in Meditation'
Saint Francis in Meditation
Francisco de Zurbarán
Francisco de Zurbarán: 'Saint Francis in Meditation'
Saint Francis in Meditation
Francisco de Zurbarán
Francisco de Zurbarán: 'Saint Margaret of Antioch'
Saint Margaret of Antioch
Francisco de Zurbarán