Every nation, throughout history, has produced outstanding work of one kind or another. This appears often to come about in periods. In the Germano-Austrian Empire, many of our greatest and most enduring musicians came into focus in a very narrow time period.
In the field of painting, The Netherlands produced a bright constellation of painters, again during a closely-related period, and so it goes. Spain however, has been turning out remarkable painters from earliest times until today as the tradition continues.
Here we present our view of the most outstanding painters, some from the misty past and others from much more recent times. All, however, have made a lasting impact onto the field of art and our understanding of just what art is.
List of Top 10 Greatest Spanish Painters Ever until 2017
10. Juan Gris (1887-1927)
An advocate of the Cubist movement, Gris had a contract with a German art dealer for the exclusive rights to all his work. His still life, “Fantómas”, painted in 1918, is one of his more famous and perhaps most interesting paintings. This is to be found today at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. “Cubism is not a manner but a state of mind”, he averred.
9. Valeriano Domínguez Bécquer (1833-1870)
Not only a painter but a graphic artist, Bécquer came from a family of painters. His father started the children off with art lessons early on. Later el Señor Domínguez painted scenery for theaters along with other theatrically connected occupations causing him to travel extensively. Many believe that a series of pornographic drawings were his, but most researchers believe they are actually the work of a radical opponent of the royalists. A photographically realistic portrait of his brother is beautifully rendered and remains one of his most famous works.
8. Lucas de Valdés (1661-1724)
A precocious child, at the age of eleven el Señor Valdés engraved four plates that still exist today. He was not only a painter but a mathematician as well. As with most painters of his day, the majority of his works concerns religious subjects. “Sansón y el león” was painted in the mid sixteen hundreds. Many other outstanding works such as the “Baptism of Christ” reflect the religious sentiment of artists and everyday citizens alike.
7. Remedios Varo Uranga (1908-1963)
La Señora Varo Uranga studied at the Real Academia de Bellas Artes in Madrid. Because of the Spanish Civil War, she fled to Paris where the surrealist movement greatly impressed her. Despite this influence, or perhaps because of it, her paintings offer a unique and very interesting look into another world. Just as her career was reaching new heights, a heart attack in Mexico City took her away. The work, “Useless Science or the alchemist” is of particular interest and should be viewed by everyone.
6. José Ruiz y Blasco (1938-1913)
Aside from being a Spanish painter whose most memorable work is perhaps his interesting painting of “Doves”, Ruiz was also an art teacher but is today remembered primarily for another reason. He was the father of the late Pablo Picasso. Respected and well-known in his time, el Señor Ruiz is often overlooked today when the subject of Spanish painters comes up.
5. Joan Miró (1893-1983)
A versatile artist, Miró excelled not only in painting but in sculpture, murals, and ceramics. An advocate of Surrealism, Dada and Personal experimentation, his works have been described as something evoking childlike recreations arising out of the subconscious. Openly contemptuous of conventional painting, El Señor Miró declared war and pursued what he called an “assassination of painting” in the hope of changing the views of sculpture, murals, and ceramics with regard to conventional work. .He was an advocate of Surrealism, Dada and others.
4. Salvador Dalí (1904-1989)
A vain handsome man with his famous waxed mustachios, Salvador Dalí’s sure hand found itself easily at home with this draftsman. Best known of course for his unforgettable surrealist paintings, he kept himself equally occupied by many other interests such as film, sculpture, and photography. He claimed to have an enduring love for everything that gilded and excessive. “The persistence of Memory” with its limp clocks hanging about is well-known to almost everyone, while one of his most memorable from among many is his Gouache painting, “Mae West’s Face which May be Used as a Surrealist apartment”. Famous as this work is, Ms West scarcely needed this painting to cement her place in history.
3. Francisco Goya (1746-1828)
Although a prolific painter, Goya today remains most famous for his dual paintings of “The Naked Venus” and “The Clothed Venus”. Although there has been much speculation about this reclining beauty, no one even today is certain exactly who the subject was. No matter. This makes a pair of unforgettable and paintings the object not only of admiration but of speculation too.
2. El Greco (1541-1614)
Because of his Greek origin, Doménikos Theotokópoulos, this outstanding painter was publicly called El Greco. Still a fairly young man, El Greco moved to Spain where he created some of his most notable work. Often regarded as a precursor of Expressionism and Cubism, el Greco’s works have been so unique that many believe he stands alone and cannot be classified as belonging to any school. Although much of El Greco’s work focused on biblical incidents, as did that of many others of the era, his “View of Toledo” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, one of two similar landscapes, is today perhaps his most famous work.
1. Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)
Pablo Picasso is arguably the most important painter of the twentieth century. Love his work or hate it, it is certainly unique and unforgettable. It is widely believed that Picasso was strongly influenced by the works of his predecessor, El Greco, and El Greco’s influence on Picasso inspired him to paint his own unique impression of some of the works of El Greco, but in his distinct Picasso manner. Together with Georges Braque, Picasso is responsible for co-founding the Cubist movement. This avant-garde art movement was destined to change the face of European art and sculpture.
These above are the Top 10 Greatest Spanish Painters Ever until 2017. Over the centuries, Spain has produced an enormous gift of outstanding and colorful painters for the world to admire and even today, more continue to pursue the Spanish love of fine art.