Throughout the history of art, Spanish-speaking artists have carved out an important position as pioneers. Unafraid to take risks, they often incorporate symbols and techniques that are reminiscent of their native cultures. Beyond this, many of the most famous Hispanic artists also use their creativity as a platform to discuss political and social upheaval in an effort to affect change and inspire national pride.
No.1 Diego Velazquez - 1599 – 1660
Diego Velázquez was a 17th century Spanish painter who produced " Las Meninas ", possibly his most famous painting and many renowned portraits as a member of the royal court of King Philip IV.
Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez was born in Seville, Spain, around June 6, 1599. At the age of 11, he began a six-year apprenticeship with local painter Francisco Pacheco. Velázquez's early works were of the traditional religious themes favored by his teacher, but he was also influenced by the naturalism of the Italian painter Caravaggio. Velázquez established his own studio after completing his apprenticeship in 1617. He became famous for his intricate and realistic portraits as a member of the court of King Philip IV, a position he held for almost 40 years. Diego Velázquez had a successful career that made him the leading artist of what is known as the Spanish Golden Age.
In his later years, the Spanish master produced a renowned portrait of Pope Innocent X and the famous "Las Meninas". He died on August 6, 1660 in Madrid.
Velázquez is remembered as one of the great masters of Western art. Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dalí are among the artists who considered him a major influence, while the French Impressionist Édouard Manet described the great Spaniard as "the painter's painter".
No.2 Francisco de Goya - 1746 – 1828
Francisco Goya, in full Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes, (born March 30, 1746, Fuendetodos, Spain; died April 16, 1828, Bordeaux, France).
Francisco Goya, one of the most influential painters of the 18th century, was enormously successful during his lifetime. His work is often associated with the Romantic movement and he is considered one of the last great Old Masters. One of Goya's most famous paintings, El Tres De Mayo De 1808 En Madrid , is a politically charged masterpiece that honors the Spanish resistance during Napoleon's occupation of the country. This groundbreaking work set a new precedent for how the horrors of war were depicted in art.
His study of Velázquez's works in the royal collection resulted in a more flexible and spontaneous painting technique. At the same time, Goya achieved his first popular success. He was elected to the Royal Academy of San Fernando in 1780, appointed painter to the king in 1786, and made court painter in 1789. A serious illness in 1792 left Goya permanently deaf. He developed a new bold and free style close to caricature. In his religious frescoes he employed a broad, free style and an earthly realism unprecedented in religious art. Goya served as director of painting at the Royal Academy from 1795 to 1797 and was appointed the first Spanish court painter in 1799.
During the Napoleonic invasion and the Spanish War of Independence from 1808 to 1814, Goya was court painter to France. Following the restoration of the Spanish monarchy, Goya was pardoned for serving the French, but his work was not favored by the new king. In 1816 he published his engravings on bullfighting, called Tauromaquia. From 1819 to 1824 Goya lived in seclusion in a house on the outskirts of Madrid. Free from judicial restraints, he adopted an increasingly personal style. In the Black Paintings, executed on the walls of his house, Goya expressed his darkest visions. A similar nightmarish quality haunts the Satirical Nonsense, a series of prints also called Proverbs. In 1824, after an attempt to restore liberal government failed, Goya went into voluntary exile in France. He settled in Bordeaux and continued to work until his death on April 16, 1828.
Today, many of his best paintings are in the Prado art museum in Madrid.
No.3 Frida Kahlo - 1907 – 1954
Magdalena Carmen Frida Kahlo Calderón (Coyoacán, July 6, 1907- Coyoacán, July 13, 1954)
Mexican artist Frida Kahlo is remembered for her self-portraits, pain and passion, and bold, vivid colors. She is celebrated in Mexico for her attention to Mexican and indigenous culture and by feminists for her portrayal of the female form and experience.
With her deeply personal and symbolic work, she has become one of the most famous artists of the 20th century. For much of her career, she was often overlooked simply as Diego Rivera's wife, but appreciation of her paintings has only grown from the 1970s onwards. Fiercely proud of her Mexican identity, she often incorporated pre-Columbian symbols into her paintings and is known for her colorful Mexican dress. Kahlo, who suffered from health problems throughout her life due to a bus accident in her youth, suffered multiple fractures to her spine, collarbone and ribs, a shattered pelvis, a broken foot and a dislocated shoulder. She began to focus heavily on painting while recovering in a body cast. In his life, he had 30 operations. The experience of life is a common theme in Kahlo's approximately 200 paintings, sketches, and drawings. Her physical and emotional pain are clearly shown on the canvases, as is her turbulent relationship with her husband, fellow artist Diego Rivera, whom she married twice. Of his 143 paintings, 55 are self-portraits. The devastation of his body from the bus accident is shown in great detail in The Broken Column. Kahlo is depicted nearly nude, split down the middle, with her spine presented as a broken decorative column. His skin is studded with nails. She is also equipped with a surgical apparatus.
Widely known for her Marxist leanings, Frida, along with revolutionary Marxist Che Guevara and a small band of contemporary figures, has become a countercultural symbol of the 20th century and created a legacy in painting that continues to inspire the imagination and the mind.
He saw his burgeoning career cut short due to his untimely death at age 47. Her legacy lives on and she remains an icon of many feminist and political movements.
No.4 Diego Rivera - 1886 – 1957
Diego María de la Concepción Juan Nepomuceno Estanislao de la Rivera y Barrientos Acosta y Rodríguez, known as Diego Rivera (Guanajuato, 1886 - Mexico City, 1957), was a prominent Mexican painter. His large frescoes helped establish the mural movement in Mexican and international art.
Mexican by birth, Rivera spent much of his adult life in Europe and the United States, as well as at home in Mexico City. Early in his career, he dabbled in Cubism and later embraced Post-Impressionism, but his unique style and perspective are immediately recognizable as his own. He was involved in the world of politics as a dedicated Marxist and joined the Mexican Communist Party in 1922. He hosted Russian exile Leon Trotsky and his wife at his home in Mexico City in the 1930s. He lived in unsettled times and led a turbulent life, Diego Rivera, widely known for his Marxist leanings, along with revolutionary Marxist Che Guevara and a small band of contemporary figures, has become a countercultural symbol of the 20th century and created a legacy in art that continues to inspire. imagination and mind.
It helped forge a national identity based on Mexicanness. This pride in Mexican identity is visible in Rivera's art through his bold color palette and use of simplified forms influenced by Mayan and Aztec art. While some of his best known works are in Mexico City, Rivera also painted extensively in the United States. His Man at the Crossroads mural was removed from Rockefeller Center in New York due to an image of Lenin at work.
No.5 Pablo Picasso - 1881 – 1973
Pablo Picasso, in full Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno Crispín Crispiniano María Remedios de la Santísima Trinidad Ruiz Picasso, also called (before 1901) Pablo Ruiz or Pablo Ruiz Picasso, (born October 25, 1881, Málaga, Spain) died April 8, 1973, Mougins, France), Spanish expatriate painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist, and set designer, one of the greatest and most influential artists of the 20th century and the creator (with Georges Braque) of Cubism.
He was a child prodigy who first mastered the classical techniques before setting out on his own to destroy the traditional way of creating art. His work is impressive, since he produced approximately 50,000 works of art during his life between paintings, sculptures, ceramics, drawings and engravings.
As one of the progenitors of Cubism in the early 1900s, he eschewed reality in art and aimed to represent the purely abstract, something that had not been done that way before. Picasso's main body of work falls into quite distinct periods, beginning with the Blue Period, then the Pink Period, the African Influence Period, the Cubism Period, and the Surrealism and Classicism Period.
Because Picasso's art from the time of the Demoiselles was radical in nature, virtually no 20th-century artist could escape his influence. Picasso continued to be an innovator in the last decade of his life. That led to misunderstanding and criticism both in his lifetime and ever since, and it was only in the 1980s that his later paintings began to be appreciated both for their own sake and for their profound influence on the rising generation of young painters. Since Picasso was able to sell works at very high prices beginning in the 1920s, he was able to keep most of his work in his own collection.
No.6 Salvador Dalí - 1904 – 1989
Salvador Felipe Jacinto Dalí i Domènech, Marquis of Dalí of Púbol (Figueras, May 11, 1904- Figueras, January 23, 1989).
He is considered one of the greatest representatives of surrealism.
With a career that spanned more than six decades, Salvador Dalí is one of the most influential artists in modern art. Famous for his surrealist paintings such as The Persistence of Memory, Dalí was also a prolific sculptor, filmmaker, photographer, and illustrator. He even created a cookbook based on the legendary dinner parties he and his wife Gala would host.
From an early age, Salvador Dalí was encouraged to practice his art, eventually studying at an academy in Madrid. In the 1920s, he went to Paris and began to interact with artists such as Pablo Picasso, René Magritte and Miró, which led to Dalí's first surrealist phase.
Fur a highly imaginative artist, prone to narcissism and megalomania, he liked to attract public attention. This behavior irritated those who appreciated his art and justified his critics, who rejected his eccentric behavior. Dalí attributed his love for all that is golden and excessive, his passion for luxury, and his love of oriental fashion to a self-proclaimed Arabian lineage, which traced its roots back to the days of Arab domination of the Iberian Peninsula.
As war approached in Europe, specifically in Spain, Dalí clashed with members of the surrealist movement. In a "trial" held in 1934, he was expelled from the group.
In 1980, Dalí was forced to withdraw from painting due to a motor disorder that caused him to have a permanent tremor and weakness in his hands. She could no longer hold a paintbrush, she had lost the ability to express herself in the way she knew best. More tragedy occurred in 1982, when Dalí's beloved wife and friend, Gala, died. The two events sent him into a deep depression. He moved to Pubol, in a castle he had bought and remodeled for Gala, possibly to hide from the public or, as some speculate, to die. In 1984, Dalí was severely burned in a fire. Due to his injuries, he was confined to a wheelchair. Friends, patrons and fellow artists rescued him from the castle and returned him to Figueres, making him comfortable in the Theatre-Museum. In November 1988, Dalí entered a hospital in Figueres with a failing heart. After a brief convalescence, he returned to the Theatre-Museum. On January 23, 1989, in the city of his birth, Dalí died of heart failure at the age of 84. His funeral was held at the Theatre-Museum, where he was buried in a crypt.
With an eclectic and eccentric personality that matched his artistic output, he continues to capture the public imagination 30 years after his death.
No.7 Fernando Botero - 1932 –
Fernando Botero (Colombian, born 1932) is famous for his painted and sculpted scenes with animals and figures with inflated proportions, reflecting the artist's predilection for satire, caricature, and political commentary. Born in Medellín, Colombia, the second of three children, his father, a street vendor, died when Botero was just four years old. His mother had to work as a seamstress to support the family. After a stint in a school for matadors, Botero decided that art was his true calling and in 1948, at the age of 16, he had his first exhibition. Three years later, after moving to the Colombian capital, Bogotá, he hosted his first solo exhibition.
In the 1950s, he traveled to a number of different European countries, including Spain, Italy, and France, to study the work of Renaissance and Baroque masters. He also traveled to Mexico to familiarize himself with the current Mexican avant-garde. Botero became famous for the varied source material he used, from Colombian folk images to canonical works by Diego Velázquez, Pablo Picasso, and Francisco de Goya.
In his depictions of contemporary Latin American life, he portrays the poverty and violence prevalent in Colombia in somber images, as well as in his iconic inflated figures, satirical images of Latin American presidents, first ladies, and government officials. A meeting with Dorothy Miller of the Museum of Modern Art in the early 1960s proved to be a turning point in his career; she acquired her work at a time when abstraction was the famous language, and later exhibited her work in a major museum exhibition, cementing her international reputation.
In the 1970s, Botero moved to Paris, where he created large figure sculptures in his signature inflated forms. He remains committed to images of his Latin American hometown and to overtly political images; His recent works include large paintings of prisoners at Abu Ghraib in direct commentary on the war in Iraq. Botero has exhibited his work at the Museum of Modern Art in Copenhagen, the Maillol Museum in Paris, the Palazzo Benezia in Rome, the Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, and the National Museum in Bogotá. He currently lives and works in Paris, Monte Carlo and New York.
Botero is now 80 years old and as prolific as ever. An avid creator, he has produced thousands of paintings and hundreds of sculptures and will continue to captivate with his personal brand of people and objects. As Botero himself says, "an artist is never complete".