20 of the most famous Spanish artists and painters in history

By Famworld
20 of the most famous Spanish artists and painters in history

Brief history of art in Spain

Historically, Hispanic artists have carved out a place for themselves as pioneers. Taking risks, they often use techniques and symbols that recall their original cultures.

Most renowned Hispanic painters also use their art to highlight social and political unrest to promote change and national pride.

We will now delve into the lives and works of some of the most influential historical artists, the geniuses who defined the standards of Spanish art over time. Read on to find out more!

20 most famous Spanish artists

Here is a comprehensive review of the 18 most famous Spanish painters and artists in history:

1. Pablo Picasso

  • Year of birth/death: 1881-1973
  • City of birth: Malaga
  • Important works: Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, Guernica and The Weeping Woman
  • Movement: Neoclassical, Cubism

Pablo Picasso is one of the creators of Cubism and his works can be seen all over the world. He made his first oil painting at the age of eight. After his studies, Pablo Picasso stayed in Paris, where he met influential painters from the Montparnasse and Montmartre districts.

Throughout his long career, Pablo Picasso contributed to the development of art in all its creative phases (cubism, rose period, blue period, etc.). His style changed throughout his career, as he tried several techniques, theories and concepts, including haunting themes.

2. Salvador Dali

  • Year of birth/death: 1904-1989
  • City of birth: Catalonia
  • Important works: The Persistence of Memory, The Great Masturbator
  • Movement: Surrealism, cubism, modern art

Salvador Dali is probably the most famous Spanish painter. He comes from a middle-class family located on the Catalan border with France.

Throughout his academic training, Dali was inspired by the Renaissance and Impressionism before turning to more advanced movements such as Surrealism and Cubism. Dal's favorite subjects are the subconscious, sexuality and dreams, which he often represents symbolically.

Salvador Dali gradually replaced certain concepts with shocking, even bizarre images. For example, eggs often represent love and optimism. The rhino symbolizes purity and virginity.

In the late 1920s he created the paranoid-critical technique, which had a considerable impact on other painters of the time.

3. Francisco Goya

  • Year of birth/death: 1746-1828
  • Town of birth: Fuendetodos
  • Important works: Saturn eating his children, The Clothed Maja, The Naked Maja
  • Movement: Romanticism, Rococo

Francisco Goya is a Spanish artist commonly considered the last of the Old Masters and the first of the contemporaries. He was very secretive, and little information about his private ideas has survived to this day.

However, a careful observer can deduce a lot from Goya's works. His paintings become increasingly gloomy and depressing as his life and society collapse around him. Goya suffered from a terrible illness that left him virtually deaf, while a ruthless French assault attacked his homeland.

Goya's set of 14 black paintings, created during his final days, illustrate the harsh, mournful tones that characterize his later works. All paintings convey extreme human emotions, such as dread, panic and anxiety, with frightening or disturbing connotations.

4. Joan Miro

  • Year of birth/death: 1893-1983
  • City of birth: Barcelona
  • Important works: The Farm, The Hunter, The Cultivated Field
  • Movement: Surrealism

Joan Miró, a Spanish artist who often expressed his distaste for the modern style of painting, even advocated for the "eradication of painting." He established his distinctive artistic style amidst Surrealism, Fauvism and Dadaism.

His choice of childlike shapes and primary colors results from an obsession with the unconscious and has symbolic connotations that require a careful observer to interpret.

Joan Miró struggled with mental illness, with periods of depression having a significant impact on her work. One of the most common symbols in Miró's art is the ladder, which is believed to represent his desire to overcome his mental hindrances.

5. Joaquin Sorolla

  • Year of birth/death: 1863-1923
  • City of birth: Valencia
  • Important works: Boys on the Beach, Walk on the Beach and Sewing the Candle
  • Movement: Luminism, Impressionism

Joaquín Sorolla already loved art when he was a child. After completing his studies, he presented his works in several provincial competitions, but they remained little-known.

Soon after falling in love with Renaissance and classical art during a visit to Rome, he encountered Impressionism in Paris. His work has been praised in Spain and throughout Europe and the United States.

Sorolla loved painting outdoors and his works are notable for their exquisite application of light in their art. Most of the works depict landscapes and scenes from everyday life where the Mediterranean is the central point.

Throughout his career he was often classified as a Luminist or Impressionist.

6. Francisco de Zurbarán

  • Year of birth/death: 1598-1664
  • Birthplace: Fuente de Cantos
  • Significant works: Christ on the Cross, Saint Serapion, Agnus Dei
  • Movement: Baroque, Caravaggisti

Francisco de Zurbarán is one of the most influential Spanish artists of the Golden Age. He became famous after receiving his first order from the local Dominican monastery. Shortly after, he was appointed royal painter by King Philip IV, a position he held for several years.

The skillful use of chiaroscuro characterizes Francisco's style. This technique exploits the sharp contrasts between dark and light to add dimension to a painting.

No one knows if Francisco de Zurbarán had the opportunity to see Caravaggio's works, but the similarities are striking. Both painted directly from life on the canvas, renouncing the usual sketches of the time.

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