Spain: 15th – 16th century

Expeditions to the Americas, and the often destructive colonization and evangelization that followed, helped the Spanish monarchs to amass a great fortune based on indigenous labor and natural resources.

1400 - 1600

videos + essays

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Bartolomé Bermejo, <em>Piedad with Canon Lluís Desplà</em>
Bartolomé Bermejo, Piedad with Canon Lluís Desplà

Two years before the Spanish expel the Jews and begin their invasion of the Americas, an artist paints an image of redemption.

Fifteenth-century Spanish painting, an introduction
Fifteenth-century Spanish painting, an introduction

The Northern Renaissance style comes to Spain and is gloriously transformed.

Expanding the Renaissance: a new Smarthistory initiative
Expanding the Renaissance: a new Smarthistory initiative

Must all renaissance art history trumpet the achievements of famed artists such as Masaccio, Leonardo and Van Eyck? Can we center other narratives?

The Renaissance in Spain
The Renaissance in Spain

Stretching from Europe to the Philippines, the Spanish Empire amassed great wealth—and spent lavishly on art.

El Escorial, Spain
El Escorial, Spain

The severe exterior of this palace complex belies its highly decorative interior, once filled with art.

El Greco, <em>Adoration of the Shepherds</em>
El Greco, Adoration of the Shepherds

Wild! Everything seems transient in this otherworldly scene, but El Greco’s bold colors stay with us.

El Greco, <em>View of Toledo</em>
El Greco, View of Toledo

Is that a Van Gogh? Centuries ahead of its time, this radical cityscape captures external and internal conflict.

El Greco, <em>Burial of the Count Orgaz</em>
El Greco, Burial of the Count Orgaz

One of art history’s most famous paintings, this scene remains mysterious. Are we outside at night, or in a chapel?

Selected Contributors