Art in Spain

The Prado in Madrid has one of the great collections in Europe, but don't miss the remarkable MNAC — it's filled with Catalonian art, most remarkably the 1000-year-old Romanesque frescoes removed from churches in remote regions for protection.

Alejo Fernández, <em>The Virgin of the Navigators</em>
Alejo Fernández, The Virgin of the Navigators

If we read Alejo Fernández's The Virgin of the Navigators closely, we can learn an enormous amount about Spain’s role in exploration, trade and commerce, conquest and colonization, and slavery.

Alonso Berruguete, <em>Abraham and Isaac</em>
Alonso Berruguete, Abraham and Isaac

Alonso Berruguete is the most famous sculptor that you have never heard of.

Camel from San Baudelio de Berlanga
Camel from San Baudelio de Berlanga

What a camel in New York reveals about medieval Spain.

Gil de Siloé, The Tomb of Juan II of Castile and Isabel of Portugal
Gil de Siloé, The Tomb of Juan II of Castile and Isabel of Portugal

If you suddenly found yourself the heir to a royal throne, what steps would you take to advertise that you are indeed the rightful inheritor?

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.

Spotlight — Hieronymus Bosch, <em>The Garden of Earthly Delights</em>
Spotlight — Hieronymus Bosch, The Garden of Earthly Delights

An imagined garden teeming with curious creatures and bizarre structures. What are we to think?

Juan Martínez Montañés and Francisco Pacheco, <em>Christ of Clemency</em>
Juan Martínez Montañés and Francisco Pacheco, Christ of Clemency

The sculptor Martínez Montañés was the “God of Wood,” but it’s the painter Pacheco who brought this work to life.

El Escorial, Spain
El Escorial, Spain

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

“Throne of Wisdom” sculptures
“Throne of Wisdom” sculptures

These statues of the Virgin and Child often held relics. Designed to be mobile, they starred in parades and plays.

Hans Haacke, <em>Seurat’s “Les Poseuses” (small version), 1884-1975</em>
Hans Haacke, Seurat’s “Les Poseuses” (small version), 1884-1975

Haacke documents the provenance of a Seurat sketch held in a bank vault to lay bare the commodification of art.

<em>Virgin from Ger</em>
Virgin from Ger

Delicate and brightly colored, this statue from Spain combines elegance with solidity, the human with the divine.

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.